We drove to the town of El Chalten, supposedly the hiking capital of Patagonia, from El Calafate, a 3 hour drive. The drive started off going along the La Leona river, and was pretty flat for about 2 hours.
We went alongside the brilliant blue lake of Lago Argentino.
After driving about 50 miles, we made a pit stop at the historic La Leona hotel. This was a cute little hotel with a cafe, and seemed to be quite popular with road trippers. We had a coffee and some cake, and they also sold sandwiches and veggie pies. The hotel also has an Estancia nearby that offers a bunch of day activities including rafting and such, but we continued on to El Chalten.
The hotel was on the banks of the La Leona river, and was a fun place to skip stones.
Continuing on, the peaks close to El Chalten started appearing on the horizon.
We stopped at a lookout marking the entrance to the National Park that El Chalten in part of.
Unfortunately, it was a cloudy day, and we could not see the iconic peaks of the Fitz Roy range. It was scenic, nonetheless.
Finally, we entered El Chalten. We stopped at the visitor center and asked about some hikes. They guided us to some short walks in the area.
We first stopped for lunch at the interesting Prana Bar. The restaurant had an all vegetarian menu, and several Indian-inspired dishes, including chai. After gorging ourselves, we walked on a 15 minute trail to a picturesque waterfall, Chorillo del Salto. It was a easy, flat walk, and we spent around 30 minutes taking photos and jumping around the rocks.
By this time, it was late afternoon, and the skies were still cloudy and threatening rain. We did catch a glimpse of one of the peaks!
While there were other hikes in the area, we did not want to venture out on them given the rain forecast. This was also our last full day in this area, so we wanted to relax and unwind. So, we headed to the small downtown area of El Chalten, and settled into a cute beer garden, La Cerveceria. El Chalten is definitely a place to spend a couple days in, because there are several hikes that start in this area. None of them are very easy, so if you have a baby like us, you’re probably happy to just visit it for a day.
On our drive back, we spotted some iconic Patagonian animals, including this Alpaca.
We made it back to our house, and settled in for dinner. We had to get packing since it was our last day in El Calafate, and tomorrow we head back to Buenos Aires.
Below is the apartment we stayed at in El Calafate. It was one of the few places I could find with a kitchen, so if you’re looking to cook while you’re there, I would recommend it. The only thing I was dissatisfied with was that the floor was dusty, and could have been swept a bit more. Otherwise, the kitchen was well stocked, and had two comfortable bedrooms, and one bathroom. You can book it by clicking here.
Check here to see if Altos Del Lagos is available for your dates!
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