There is a tiny town in Argentina’s Patagonia region called El Chalten and it is my new favorite place on earth.
The village of El Chalten
The village of El Chalten was founded in 1985 (!) and has a population of 500. It’s located at the base of both Cerro Torre and Cerro Fitz Roy mountains. From town and where many hotels are located, one can walk five minutes uphill and directly into Los Glaciares National Park.
A five minute walk from the center of town
The hiking in El Chalten is world class. On one sunny morning we walked out the front door of our rental and four hours later we arrived here, at Laguna Torre.
Beautiful Laguna Torre
It’s not the worst place I’ve eaten lunch.
The Rio de Las Vueltas (river of curves) runs through El Chalten.
The Rio de Las Vueltas
We booked a kayaking tour with Fitz Roy Expediciones.
Our guides picked us up and drove us away from town down a dusty gravel road. We stopped at the company’s Eco Camp for lunch. There were llamas and log cabins and jaw-dropping views of the mountains.
It was around this time that Brian and I decided that we would like to never, ever leave this place. We began plotting ways to stay forever (open Mexican restaurant, buy land and rent yurts, get jobs as trekking guides…).
Fitz Roy Expediciones Eco Camp
We dressed in waterproof moon suits and set off down the river. The water was freezing but we were cozy in our silly outfits. We were the only people around. Here and there we’d catch sight of wild horses roaming in the hills. Mt.Fitz Roy peeked its head out of the clouds from time to time.
The food and wine in El Chalten is fantastic. Sure, there are only a few hundred people in town, but those people know how to cook! There’s a micro-brew, a bottle shop, and plenty of places where a vegetarian like me can eat like a queen. In other words, El Chalten is my heaven on earth.