El Chaltén – The Trekking Capital of Argentina

By Jenny G

Nestled on the banks of a river in Santa Cruz province of Argentina, there is a small mountain village called El Chaltén.  The quaint town lies at the riverside of Rio de las Vueltas, within the Los Glaciares National Park at the base of Cerro Torre and Cerro Fitz Roy mountains, which is popular for climbing. Thanks to its beautiful mountain scenery and numerous hiking trails, El Chaltén is referred to as the trekking capital of Argentina.

The colorful village is slowly evolving into a popular tourist hotspot. Thousands of hikers flock to the town every summer to explore off-the-beaten paths and remote scenic trails where one will surely encounter rare species of vividly-colored birds and picturesque flora. Hike up to the steep Cerro Torre which is easy to cover in a single day. Along the way, you will come across floating icebergs, streams, and forests. Another popular hiking destination is Glacier Huemul dotted with waterfalls, streams and moss-covered jungles that ends in a pristine lagoon.

To look at Viedma Glacier up close, take a boat trip on Viedma Lake. Indulge in refreshments on Catamaran and gaze at the icebergs and water.  Salto El Chorrillo, a waterfall, is also a must-visit. It is located an hour-long hike from the village within the woodlands. After trekking through the trails, take a quiet stroll through the village streets, and enjoy the vast stretches of greenery and try out some craft beer with empanadas, Locro or pizza.