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El Chalten: the gateway to Mount Fitz Roy and the Los Glaciares National Park

Trekking around Mount FitzRoy

Find best trips

Trekking on the Patagonian Ice Cap

Find best expeditions

El Chalten

El Chalten sits at the base of Mount FitzRoy and on the edge of the South Patagonia Ice Cap. From your hotel in El Chalten you can walk straight out onto hiking trails around Mount FitzRoy, or use it as a base for 3-4 treks up to passes overlooking the Ice Cap, or 8+ day expeditions onto the Ice Cap itself.

Here we'll help you find out about the key hikes and landmarks in the area, how to get there, where to stay and more.

Trekking options from El Chalten

Trekking Fitz Roy, from El Chalten

El Chalten is the epicentre of Los Glaciares National Park, a winter wonderland of glaciers (some of which are still advancing), and home to the granite spires of Mount Fitz ...

Trekking the Patagonian Ice Cap

The IceCap is the world's 3rd largest mass of ice and trekking and living on it is a truly unique, and at times bleak, experience. Whilst you don't need technical ...

El Chalten guide and info

When to visit

The best time to visit is between October and March, Patagonian summer, when you'll enjoy more daylight and better conditions to get into the mountains and up to the Ice Cap.

Also see our guide to weather in Patagonia, with monthly temperature wind and rain charts for nearby El Calafate.

How to get there

El Chalten is served by the nearby airport at El Calafate (FTE), and most visitors to El Chalten visit the incredible Perito Moreno glacier en route.

The journey from El Calafate to El Chalten takes about 3 hours. You can use a public bus (several each day), or we usually travel with Las Lenguas who a stand at the airport.

To find our more about flights to Calafate see our guide to getting to Patagonia.

Things to do

El Chalten is a mecca for climbers wanting to scale Mount FitzRoy and its surrounding peaks. It also offers some wonderful trekking around those peaks in the Los Glaciares national park, and is the base for many expeditions onto the South Patagonia IceCap.

Find out more about trekking in El Chalten and Patagonia Ice Cap expeditions.

Where to stay in El Chalten

El Chalten offers huge range of accommodation options. We've got four recommendations for hotels in El Chalten, and you can check availability and prices across many others. 

But if you don't want to stay in town, then here are some other options you might consider:

  • camping at Piedra del Fraile
  • This colonial style lodge north of town can provide a great base for hikes up towards the Marconi Pass and the hike to Lagua de Los Tres. 
  • A charming wilderness lodge on the edge of Rio de Las Vueltas about 20km north of town offering mountain biking and kayaking and great views of FitzRoy.

Find hotels in El Chalten >>


Onward travel

Most people visiting Chalten choose to cross the border and head to nearby Torres del Paine in Chile. There are also trips that visit El Chalten and Torres del Paine.

Map of Landmarks around El Chalten

Google Map

Questions? Need help?

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Call us on: +44 (0) 117 369 0196 (we're open 9am to 6pm, 7 days a week)

Email us at: advice@swooptravel.co.uk

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Los Glaciares Guide

Read out guide to the Los Glaciares National Park and find tours that visit the Perito Moreno glacier.

Trekking in Los Glaciares:


See Hotels in El Chalten and Calafate and nearby Estancias

See our El Chalten Map

Hotels Los Glaciares NP

Find our recommended hotels in:


or see estancias around El Chalten

When are you
thinking of going?


See Patagonia at the height of the season, when you'll have 18 hours of daylight and feel Patagonia's infamous wind at its strongest. There are just so many options open to you in addition to hiking, why not try glacier trekking, mountain biking and white water rafting on the rapids of the Futaleufu River?

If you want to visit last minute, the key is moving quickly and booking your flights. Availability in Chalten shouldn't be too difficult but in Torres del Paine it's likely that refugios will be fully booked. Don't worry though, it's warm enough to camp under the stars. If you're still in the planning stages of your trip but hope to go this season, it's a good idea to get flights booked as early as possible and make the most of Patagonia's summer before autumn sets in April.


February is a great time to trek Patagonia's national parks, in particular Torres del Paine quietens down as Chilean visitors head back to their cities. In Feb you can expect temperatures of between 5 and 19 degrees in Torres del Paine, and this could be a good time to trek the W Circuit independently if you want to save some money to go kayaking for example.

If you want to go in February but you've left it last minute, you may be able to find a late deal on our Exclusive Deals page. Your best bet is finding a Patagonia Tours which tend to have lots of departure dates to join during February.

If you're considering visiting next season, (starting in October), why not getting your flights booked good and early? If you're lucky you may be able to get flights from London to Punta Arenas for £850.


March is the tail end of the season for adventure in Patagonia so the infamous Patagonian wind will be on its way out, there'll be fewer people in the national parks so generally quieter on the trails. This is great as you may find prices come down slightly as the locals and tourists leave, but it's more difficult to get a group together, so could be harder if you're travelling alone (although we'll strive to pair you up with someone). However, most longer, multi-location trips run by our global operator partners still run in March and they tend to have bigger groups, but prepare for rain if your trip visits the lake district!


In April the season is coming to an end, so try to get there in the first half of the month for more availability and better weather conditions. If you're hoping to stay in the Eco Camp in Torres del Paine or do an adventure cruise round Cape Horn, they finish for the season in early April, so get going! Luckily it's about this time that skiing in Bariloche becomes available in the Argentinian Lake District. Remember that many mountain lodges and estancias close around this time making it hard to do the W or Full Circuit for example. Plus certain services become unavailable such as the catamaran across Lago Pehoe in Torres del Paine and glacier hiking, so it may be a good idea to go earlier in the season if these are on your list of things to do.

Find out more about visiting Torres del Paine in winter >>


Winter is getting into full swing now so you may want to try out volcano skiing in the Patagonian Lake District or tailor made tours that take into account the potentially difficult weather conditions. As many operators and lodges wind down for the winter, fewer travellers visit the trails and parks so private departures on most trips are likely. The weather will be a bit like trekking in wales in Dec, are you up for that challenge?

Find out more about visiting Torres del Paine in winter >>


At this time of year, the snow is starting to settle in Torres del Paine National Park and the trees are brown and orange, a very beautiful time to see the highlights. June is also when operators launch their Winter W Circuit and Fitz Roy trips, which vary from the usual itineraries as many refugios are closed and van transfers are required because the catamaran across Lago Pehoe stops. Although days are short and weather temperamental, if you can see Patagonia in winter, it will be serene and picturesque.

Find out more about visiting Torres del Paine in winter >>


Mid winter, July is equivalent to our January in terms of weather. This is a great time to take advantage of the skiing Patagonia has to offer, particularly in the Chilean and Argentinian Lake Districts. Araucania offers off piste skiing, whereas Bariloche is home to the popular Cerro Catedral Resort but also caters for off piste skiing. For adrenaline junkies, you can ski down the slopes of several volcanoes on certain trips. If you're planning a trip for next season, start looking at flights as the sooner you book them, the cheaper they are.

If you hope to visit Torres del Paine this month, find out more about visiting Torres del Paine in winter >>


This is a great time for snow shoeing in Bariloche, or skiing in the Patagonian Lake District. There are also some winter trips in the Torres del Paine & Fitz Roy areas. Come prepared - cold temperatures, snow and short days means that your trip may not go 100% according to plan, Chalten is known for snow blocking the roads for a day or 2. Alternatively, August is a great time to plan and book trips for the early part of the season ahead, at this time operators will be starting to release availability and rates to help with that.

August is the last month to take advantage of specially designed winter trips in Torres del Paine. If you're keen to see the park covered in snow, find out more about hiking in Torres del Paine in winter >>


In September, it's still pretty chilly in Patagonia, with snow and temperatures of 5 degrees in El Calafate for example. If you're hoping to trek the main national parks, you may find that operators don't have any groups heading out, so you may have to go on a private trip with just your guide. The season really kicks off at the end of September/beginning of October with W Circuit and Full Circuit trips as well as estancias and lodges opening their doors to clients.

However, winter trips are still running in Torres del Paine. Find out more here >>


Get in before the crowds - you won't see many people on the W Circuit and you'll have the northern part of the park pretty much to yourself on the Full Circuit (you may even come face to face with the endangered Huemul deer). It's still a bit too early for horse riding and rafting trips, you're best off doing these from November onwards. So if you're thinking about visiting Patagonia this season, get your flights and trips booked, as availability really starts to tighten up over October/November.


November is a good time to visit: late spring/early summer. Not too busy but a full range of trips and itineraries to choose from. If you want to visit this month, you need to move fast. Refugios are getting booked up until January, but the operator will work hard to fit you in. Don't forget it takes at least a week to organise a tour, so don't leave it too late!


Mid summer, 18 hours of daylight and there will probably be days when you're hiking in shorts and t-shirt. Many Chileans and Argentinians will come down to Patagonia for their Christmas break so availability may be tight and you should expect the National Parks to be busier.

It's essential that you get your flights and tours booked asap, as flight prices are also increasing.

Guide to Patagonia

Patagonia spans over 1,000 miles north to south and landscapes ranging from forests, to glaciers, to volcanoes and deserts. Read our Patagonia Guide to find out: how to get there, when to go, what to see and how to find the best trip. Or find out about:


Read our Patagonia Guide >


How can we help you?

We are Patagonian specialists, and have helped all sorts of different people arrange their perfect adventure holiday in Patagonia. Whatever your budget, group size, length of stay, preferred activity or appetite for adventure we're here to help you.

  • Join a group trek or tour
  • Plan an independent day by day itinerary
  • Organise your group's trek, expedition or multi-sport adventure
  • Tailor-made luxury holidays


Find out how we can help you >>

About Swoop

We've spent 15 years exploring Patagonia, and arranged holidays for over a thousand customers. We have a network of trusted guides, lodges, and local operators across the region and delight in helping people plan and arrange a great holiday.

You can book directly with our local partners in Chile and Argentina, or with our ATOL certified company here in the UK.

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