Posts Tagged ‘El Chalten’

After a very pleasant bus ride to El Calafate (fabulous drivers and great crowd on the bus) I hooked up with a Polish girl (Marzena) and a French guy (Greg), so since none of us had a hostel booked we decided to listen to Lonely Planet’s recommendation: I keu ken.

It was a cool hostel, not many people, helpful staff. We planned on a quiet afternoon, decided to cook Spaghetti alla Bolognese together and crack a bottle of Malbec with it…It felt like being in a the middle of nowhere, nice music, no crowd (imagine this scenery: )

Turned out quite quickly that 1 bottle of wine wasn’t enough for the 3 of us, so while i cleaned up the ruins of lunch, Marzi and Greg went to buy another one. After that we decided to do a bit of sightseeing (it was dark already). Calafate has a special’s very touristic but it’s a superb little town with wooden houses and North Faith and Colombia branded shops something like this:

After a 3rd bottle of wine and a couple of beers we knocked ourselves out around 1am. Next day 8am bus to Perito Moreno glacier. 2 hours bus ride, 100 Pesos entrance fee to National Park and 2 options to choose from: boat to glacier and 3 hours walking or no boat and 5 hours walking around glacier. We chose option 1.

View from boat:

Walking path:

Returned to Calafate at 4pm and me and Marzana had a bus to El Chalten in the evening.

It’s a 3 hours bus ride from Calafate with a 20 minutes stopover at Hotel el Leone.

Again we didn’t have a hostel booked and since it was late when we arrived we went into the first hostel (La comarca) and stayed there throughout the whole time we spent in chalten. It was a great choice as the guy who was running it was very friendly, helpful and hardworking.

So imagine El Chalten as a little young (built in ’85) mountain town. It’s not a party town, people come here to hike. There is no entrance fee to the National Park, you can spend here days just to enjoy the mountains and get sorted your life in your head. (you need a bit of a stamina to do 3-4 days hiking) El Chalten operates only 6 month of the year. We came here in the very end of the season as winter is coming and based on what we saw in the nature (twisted trees) Patagonia in winter is windy! So all these people who are running hostels, supermarkets or any other business pack up and move to Buenos Aires or somewhere else. This guy is running ON HIS OWN this hostel (which is always packed because it’s the closest to the bus station), cleans every day the rooms and common places and during the day works on the top level of the hostel to finish. All my respect is his. Oh yes and there are not many places in Patagonia or the North of Argentina where you can find a hostel for 40 pesos (around $8)/night.

So day 1 in el Chalten..Laguna de los tres (the main path that people are coming here for: to see the Fitz roy). This is a 5 hour walk up to 1500m (3 hours back so altogether 8). Difficulty level- medium to high. The last 1.5 hour is killer…imagine something like this:

But all the efforts you put in this climb pays off in the end…having this view:

After enjoying it for hours we made our way back to El Chalten..needless to say by the end your knees and legs are fairly sore so stretching is essential. We decided to ease the pain with a few beers in the Cervezeria in the evening along with Greg who arrived a day later from Calafate.

On the second day we went on a much easier route to Cerro Torres where similar view was waiting for us but still not quite the same.

Marzena left in the evening to go to the End of the World and we had dinner together with Greg and his friend who arrived in the evening.

On the last day I had my bus back to Calafate at 1pm, so I packed, checked out and did a very easy 2 hours walk to a waterfall. After Iguassu I won’t even insert this picture:)

Calafate was easy..quick sock shopping for the W trek in Puerto Natales (4 nights 5 days starting from Wednesday…cross your fingers for my survival please) and a quick visit to Laguna Nimez. to sleep…waking up in less than 5 hours. Update on Chile soon! Thanks for reading 🙂