To visit El Chalten is an adventure and you should be prepared to live it to the full. Whatever the duration of your stay in the area of El Chalten we suggest you to read very carefully each of the following recommendations so you can fully enjoy your trip.
The following items are a few basic recommendations you should take into consideration:
Patagonia is famous for its unpredictable and changeable weather as well as its strong winds during the southern summer. Particularly in El Chalten area, it is frequent to get cloudy or rainy days during summer time and the contrasting temperatures between day and night are accentuated because of the proximity to the Southern Ice Cap. If you are going to spend the night in any base camp bear in mind that it is not uncommon to get small amount of snow, especially in October, November, March and April months. Good footwear (trekking boots preferably) and good wrapping up using the layer concept (this involves wearing a base layer that allows a quick sweat evaporation and drying, then another top to keep you warm and finally a windproof coat) are most recommended.
The most demanding time for accommodation is during January and February months and Easter, so it is very important to book at least 30 days in advance.
This is an ideal destination for walking lovers, whether you walk for a few minutes, many hours or even for many days. Most of the trails are along soft slopes that do not represent any difficulty for people with “normal” fitness. Except for expeditions or guided ascents, it is not necessary to have great strength or aerobic capacity nor previous training. Our body is designed for walking, but the “modern” living style of today does not include daily walks in our routines. If you are a person with sedentary habits we suggest you to do at least a few previous walks to be better prepared.
When you decide to travel
Book your accommodation and tours well ahead so you will not get any surprises. Make use of at least three or four days to visit this gorgeous place.
Book your accommodation well in advance
High season goes from January to March. During this period is when most of tourists arrive so it is highly recommended to book your accommodation well in advance. Basic tourist services – like lodgings and transport – operate regularly from October till April. Other services such as guided tours vary depending on tour operators’ availability.
If you come by car
If you come driving your own car keep the low lights on and the security belt well fastened. Check that the auxiliary tyre is in good condition and it is not exaggerated to carry extra fuel just in case anything happen during the journey..
If you come in winter
Although it can be visited all year round, remember that the roads can be cut off during winter because of snow storms; therefore it is necessary to count with some extra time in case you have to wait to get in and out of the village. Enquire which accommodation will be open during this time of the year. If you happen to drive a car, ask for road reports and always use chains or nailed tyres to drive on ice or snow.
What you should bring with you
Comfortable and waterproof clothing is more than necessary to bring with you to avoid any surprises with the unpredictable Patagonian weather. Remember you can hire clothing and equipment in El Chaltén.
Basic checklist of things you should not forget to bring
• Specific trekking shoes (waterproof if possible).
• Polartec top (deep, zip neck if possible).
• Windproof top.
• 100 % UV Sunglasses.
• UV Suncream (factor 30 or higher).
• Extra batteries (low temperatures reduce their duration).
• Memory cards or Camera films.
If you go camping
• Stove and extra Gas (it is prohibit to make fire in free campsites).
• Plastic and black bin bags.
• Headtorch (suggested) and extra batteries.
• First Aid kit (different sized bandages, antiseptic wound cleanser, sterile dressing, pain relief tablets etc).
When you arrive
Most of the activities you will do are inside Los Glaciares National Park; therefore you must know possibilities and restrictions on them.
Find out about this place
Visit the National Park Information Office to collect info about your stay in the National Park, ask for trails and campsites reports, fishing permits or register your expedition if you are going to climb. You also should visit the Town Hall Tourist Information Office to gather details of the village services and products
Secure the continuity of your trip
If you don’t have your return ticket, ask for available transport on the desire date. The bus service run from and to El Calafate all year round. You can check the Bus timetable in Bus service in El Chaltén.
During your stay
Help us to preserve the beauty and purity of this place so that future generations will be able to find the same magic you are about to discover.
When you hike
• Try to go walking with other people and get to know the difficulty of the itinerary.
• Bear in mind the total duration of the itinerary so you can complete it in daylight.
• Hike only on permitted trails and never leave them. Do not try to make shortcuts.
• Pay attention to the trail signs on your way inside the National Park.
• Even when the sun is shining, take a top to keep you warm and a waterproof jacket.
• Try to use UV sunglasses when watching glaciers from a short distance.
• Use UV suncream even when it is cloudy.
• Keep clean trails and places you visit.
• Try to minimize disturbance to wildlife.
• Never light a fire no matter what or where you are.
• Bring your rubbish back to the village.
• Do not take any keepsakes from nature.
• If you find any litter in your way, it is a good idea to pick it up and carry it back to the village.
When you camp in free Campsites
• Keep them clean and look after the site.
• Camp only in permitted areas and place your tent at least 50m away from water courses.
• Never light fire in any campsite.
• Keep food out of reach of animals that live in the Park.
• Do not throw any litter, soap or detergent to the water. Do not use streams and rivers as toilets. Do not wash your clothes or dishes in the water (Use a container). Keep soap and detergent far from rivers and lakes.
• Respect your neighbour’s night time.
This area is the puma’s natural habitat. Although it is unusual to see it, remember:
• Do not walk alone and if you walk with children do not leave them unattended.
• Do not take pets with you.
• In case of meeting a puma, do not panic or run. Try to show you are bigger and taller, rise your arms up, and do not bend over. Go away slowly without turning your back to the animal.
When to travel to El Chaltén?
What is the climate like in Patagonia?
How long should I stay?
What clothes should I wear?
Can I travel with small children?
Do the buses arrive every day?
Can I travel in winter?
Is it necessary to be physically fit?
Can I use credit cards?
Do you need a visa to enter Argentina?
Are there ATMs available?
Do you have any doubt? We are here to help you