El Chalten, Argentina in pictures: my new favorite place on earth

by Kim on December 11, 2012 · 32 comments

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.



{ 29 comments… read them below or add one }

Lindsey - Chasing the Wild December 11, 2012 at 7:15 pm

Oh. Wow. El Chalten is stunning! I love the landscape, the solitude it looks like you guys had – I have to get myself there and experience some of that!


Stephen S. December 11, 2012 at 7:20 pm

Wow Kim! What a picturesque place. I love the mountains ranges, and can easily see why it is your new favorite place!


Melissa Harris December 11, 2012 at 7:28 pm

Love these photos. We recently watched a movie called 180 degrees south about Patagonia and some Americans who started North Face way back in the 70s who are doing major eco work in that area to try and stop big corporations from coming in and damming up the rivers to produce electricity and other things. Maybe you could hook up with them and help their cause. Could keep you in that area for awhile and do a good deed in saving that beautiful land. ๐Ÿ™‚


OurLifeExperiments December 11, 2012 at 7:43 pm

What amazing photographs!! That looks like some epic hiking! Maybe you guys should stay there…and we’ll drive down with our travel trailer? :o)



Steph (@ 20 Years Hence) December 11, 2012 at 7:47 pm

I think you know that Tony & I are decidedly not hikers, but seeing these photos makes me wonder if South America couldn’t bring about even that change in me!

And is it fantastic when traveling and you find a place where you know without question “I could live here”? It’s moments like that where I feel that even if this nomadic existence of ours has to end one day that the future still holds plenty of amazing adventures ahead and is really ours to make whatever we wish of it!


Jolien December 11, 2012 at 11:43 pm

We were there almost one year from now. It was then only the start of a 6 month journey through South-America. This park is one that will stay with me forever! SO beautiful, so extraordinary! We pretty much did your route, but in reverse. What a nice planet we live on he?! ๐Ÿ™‚


tyrhone December 12, 2012 at 3:09 am

There are millions of places on earth worthy of the “special” moniker, but it’s funny how some of them just seem to resonate with us. Looks amazing over there.


Sarah Somewhere December 12, 2012 at 6:24 am

Looks and sounds amazing, Kim. The future is bright for you guys ๐Ÿ™‚


Carmel December 12, 2012 at 8:35 am

I can cook! Ooh, ooh, let’s open that restaurant! I’ll have to provide for us meat eaters ๐Ÿ™‚


Kim December 16, 2012 at 9:33 am

OMG, YES. You should open the mexican restaurant. You’ll make a killing. DO IT!!!!


Julika December 12, 2012 at 10:34 am

Wow this place looks amazing!I love the diversity of this beautiful landscape!


Bridgid Gallagher December 12, 2012 at 11:30 am

Wow – looks amazing! El Chalten has officially been added to the must-see list!

And I’m SUPER excited to hear that there is tasty veg food there. I spent a couple of months in Argentina a few years ago, mostly the north – Salta, Cรณrdoba, Buenos Aires – and felt very underwhelmed by the veg options. I think I lived off of pastries, gelato, and pizza – plus loads of coffee and wine … Delicious, but definitely not great fuel for active adventures. ๐Ÿ™‚

Great post!


Patrick December 12, 2012 at 11:44 am

Kim, Thank you very much for not posting pics of Jess and I in the wetsuits! The entire internet thanks you!


Kim December 16, 2012 at 9:33 am

Hahaha, you are funny. I promised Jess i wouldn’t ๐Ÿ™‚


Cheryl Dinan December 12, 2012 at 4:51 pm

Kim, It looks very relaxing there.


Harvey December 13, 2012 at 10:46 pm

Kim, I can’t possibly see why you feel the way you do about El Chalten.

Still what time can we meet you there and is there a permanent residence available?

And vegetarian food as well – that beats most places in Denmark!

It really beats perhaps anything we’ve seen.


Kim December 16, 2012 at 9:32 am

Harvey, you guys have got to go. I know you would LOVE IT.


Amanda December 14, 2012 at 10:24 pm

It looks amazing! (And that’s coming from someone who doesn’t really even like hiking!)


Leon Fisk December 15, 2012 at 12:18 pm

Hi Kim and Brian. Patagonia looks and feels amazing. It’s like my journey hasn’t stopped – please keep going.


Montecristo Travels (Sonja) December 18, 2012 at 7:39 am

I think you will have many favorite places … This is a great one to put on the list! I wonder how my little wee one would fair with wild horses!


Holly December 18, 2012 at 2:09 pm

We had that “I could live here” moment in Switzerland. Mark could brew beer and we could open a pub up for thirsty hikers. Beautiful photography. Glad you are finding beer around the world too!


Kim January 20, 2013 at 2:29 am

Yes, please do that Holly. Then Brian and I will crash at your place when we come to visit ๐Ÿ™‚


Scott April 23, 2013 at 3:04 pm

There is just something about that jagged mountainscape down there, isn’t there? Love the pics and the new site design!
Scott recently posted..Leaving On A Jet Plane


Kim April 28, 2013 at 6:23 pm

Heck yes there is!!! I love the mountains.


Lauren February 8, 2015 at 6:12 pm

Hi Kim! I came across your webpage when I searched for hiking in the Wallowas because I am heading there for 4 days in June. Your trip looked absolutely stunning and you inspired me to do the same trail when I go.
Then I got even more excited when I continued to look at your page and follow your travels, especially this trip to El Chatlen! I am heading here for my honeymoon in March!! I would love to hear what hikes you recommend. We will be there for 4 and a half days then spending a day tour on the glacier. Also, I was so relieved to hear that there are lots of vegetarian options ๐Ÿ™‚


Kim February 15, 2015 at 8:22 am

Chalten is one of my favorite places! You know, we did a hike where we caught a ride and then walked back to town (via the mountains of course). It’s a common hike and anyone can tell you how to do it. Otherwise, we’d just wander. You can’t go wrong.


Christie December 4, 2015 at 9:10 am

Hi Kim,
I love your blog and have been reading for quite awhile now! My husband and I are currently in Bariloche, Argentina. I’m curious how you got to El Chalten – did you have to go through El Calafete first? Also, where did you stay?


Kim December 4, 2015 at 9:44 am

Hello! Yes, we took the bus to El Calafate and then caught another bus to El Chalten. I cannot remember where we stayed- I’m sorry! We rented a big place because we had friends from the states with us who had come down to visit and I remember it being quite expensive… my friend booked the place (we rented a house if I remember correctly) so that’s why I can’t remember but it probably wouldn’t be a great fit for you anyway if it’s just the two of you.


German October 12, 2016 at 2:38 pm

I think El Chaltรฉn is the closest town to Parque Nacional Los Glaciares. It’s also near the Fitz Roy peak, and it claims to be Argentina’s youngest town. As of 2016, the population has grown to 2,500 inhabitants.


Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

{ 3 trackbacks }