Alex and I took a 3-hour bus trip from El Calafate went up north to El Chaltén, a charming small mountain village, well known as Argentina’s trekking capital. And again, landscape during the way was very spectacular. Mount Fitz Roy at first sight was like a dream, it was beyond excited to see them with my own eyes, it’s so beautiful!
We arrived almost 11 am, the village provided the national park information: trekking trails, camping sites, other regulations. There are vary of trails which suitable for any level of fitness you have, that’s why, it’s well known as a capital of Argentina trekking!
We stayed at Kalenshen Hostel near the main starting point of trails, clean and breakfast included, Wi – Fi was quite weak, I heard that every hotel had a similar problem due to El Chaltén is in remote area and that’s fine, we got a heater, yay! but it was a bit weak too, so it was still cold.
It’s adventure, right? Forget about complaining!
A beautiful trail to Chorrillo del Salto Waterfall with spectacular views
After we finished checking in and had lunch, we couldn’t wait longer to start walking somewhere. It was already 2 pm so we picked Cascada Chorrillo del Salto (Chorrillo del Salto Waterfall) to be our first taste: 8 km round-trip, short and very easy one!
To get to the waterfall: the easiest way is drive up along the road to the parking lot and then just walk about 500 m to the waterfall. Or trekking in, the easier way than go ups and downs on the trail is just go along the main road but watch out for cars. To be more peaceful, sometimes we switched to the trail. Landscapes were very beautiful with colorful autumn leaves. For me, autumn is my favorite season, autumn colors make everything around look gorgeously picturesque.
The waterfall was not so tall but the place was peaceful. We were there in the mid autumn so it wasn’t crowded and very nice one.
A long trekking day with breathtaking landscapes
Woke up early with not so nice weather forecast which was usual in Patagonia, finished breakfast quickly, packed some food, snacks and hot tea. Our mission was to get to Laguna Capri, and then Laguna de los Tres: 26 km round-trip, easy to difficult. For that not so nice weather forecast part, it said, it would be rain in the late afternoon, which mean, we should have reached Laguna de los Tres before noon and returning quickly.
At the beginning of the trail was up and up and then reached a natural viewpoint with panoramic views of the valley of De las Vueltas river, that was just warmed up. Further down the trail was more numerous. We took around 2 hours to get to Laguna Capri, it was so beautifully colorful so we couldn’t walk so too fast without admiring the beauty around.
Hold on, 6 km to go and I thought storm is coming!! You can’t keep doing like this, do you know that?
Laguna Capri gives a breathtaking view of Mount Fitz Roy and its surrounding peaks, if you don’t have much time to go further more, this one will never disappointed. Camped out here in summer also would be nice.
After spent a while then we kept going further to Laguna de los Tres, the trail was well marked and nothing so difficult, only very very windy I almost flew away, not exaggerate! The weather was turning so fast, the more we got closer to the Fitz Roy, the stronger wind we encountered with and its peaks also was fading away and away and then gone in the could, but we kept going with hope?
At the last 1 kilometer were difficult: steep slope with rocks, and as we should have known it was coming, it started to snow and then rained a lot earlier than we expected, and turned to hailstorm. Everyone returned down quickly, after a few kilometers away, the mountain we were climbing was under crazy dark storm. We couldn’t imagine how it would be if we were still there. We kept walking, storm was chasing after us, until we have reached the first mountain at the village side and then blue sky, wait, blue sky?
Crazy day, right? That’s Patagonia!
24/7 Restaurant in town
In the time we were in El Chaltén, we found that mostly restaurants were close but there was a restaurant in town which open 24/7 named Hostel Rancho Grande located beside the main road and close to the main starting point of trails. We mostly relied on this restaurant, food was nice and big portion with an average price.
We left El Chaltén a bit earlier than we planned due to the bad weather. I didn’t do all the trails I wished yet, so we will return again one day!
Have you ever been hiking/trekking in El Chaltén? Which trail is your favorite? I would love to hear your opinion because I didn’t do all treks yet. Let’s share!