Trekking capital




March 2014 • Canon 60D camera

Called “the trekking capital of the world”, this small town is situated at the riverside of Rio de las Vueltas. Built in 1985 to secure a land claim from Chile, it is a fairly new settlement with only around 200 residents. The name El Chaltén comes from the mountain Fitz Roy’s Tehuelche name, meaning ‘smoking mountain’. In fact you are greeted by the mountain Fitz Roy from a distance as you approach the town by road.

The mountain towers above the town creating a very dramatic background. In a way it kind of spoils the surprise of seeing the mountain for the first time when you go for a trek. But I guess it is dependent on the weather. When we arrived at El Chaltén we had nice clear blue skies. Many of the trekking routes start from the edge of the town, providing an easy way to do day treks from the town.


El Chaltén has a number of restaurants, grocery stores and bakeries in town which, by the way, have really good empanadas. Plus there is a very excellent ice cream cafe! You can buy the food you need for your day hikes and in some bakeries you can order the day before and collect the next morning. Everything is in walking distance as the village is small.

Be aware that there is only one ATM machine when I was there (March 2015) and is known to run out of money or semi functional at times. It did work for me but I was warned it might not work. Bring some extra cash with you to be safe. There is also no money exchange at the time I was visiting (March 2015)

Where to stay

Hosteria Los Nires

120, Lago del Desierto
+54 02962 493 009

Friendly staff. Small bedroom but nice and warm.
Nice communal lounge area with T.V.
Wi-fi is slow (it's slow everywhere in El Chaltén).

Places to eat & drink

La Tapera

Cosy log cabin Restaurant

74, Antonio Rojo Ave
+54 2962 493195

La Cervecería

Pub & pizza

564, San Martín Ave
+54 2962 493109

Heladería Domo Blanco

Best ice creams in town!

164, San Martín Ave
+54 02962 493368

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