Chaltén is a Tehuelche word meaning "Smoking Mountain." It is the name they gave Monte Fitz Roy, a cloud-covered peak in what is now the northern sector of Glaciers National Park. This section of the Andes—thick with granite spires, glaciers, rivers and lakes—embodies the spirit of solitary wildness for which Patagonia is renowned.
Here, even the border is untamed. Argentina and Chile have long disputed geographic ownership of the mountains and glaciers; the Argentine government founded the town of El Chalten in 1985 in hopes of settling the matter. As beautiful as this region is, the squabble is understandable.
Monte Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre are two of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field's most picturesque peaks. Fitz Roy pierces the clouds at 11,168 feet. The eastern slope cradles shimmering glaciers and ice-blue lakes. Cerro Torre is a white granite shaft jutting 10,280 feet above sea level, and standing in a row with three other peaks above 9,000 feet.
El Chalten is the trekking capital of Argentina; a variety of day hikes and multi-day excursions are available. Popular destinations include Torre Glacier, Piedras Blancas Glacier, Laguna Capri and Laguna de los Tres. Fly fishing and horseback trips can also be arranged.
El Chalten attracts hikers and nature lovers each November through March. A private transfer from El Calafate's airport, 133 miles to the southeast, takes approximately four hours.
Mosaico Travel Services arranges personalized travel in Argentina and throughout South America. We organize luxury accommodation, private transportation, and tours with expert guides. Speak with a Mosaico travel planner today at 801.582.2100. We’ll take care of the details.
"Perhaps the truth depends on a walk around the lake."