Patagonia Argentina is for many a dream come true. Or at least that’s how it was for me, even so, I only had a 5 days itinerary, but it was five amazing days of my life. In this limited time, you need to do some travel planning before going, if not you will waste time on site. Trust me on this one!
First things first, what is your major priorities when going? What do you have to see to get that perfect feeling of being in Patagonia, Argentina?
Hike to Mt. Fitz Roy Including:
Glaciar Piedras Blancas
Laguna Los Tres
Mirador Fitz Roy
Hike on the Cerro Torre trail to Laguna Torre
See the enormous Perito Moreno Glacier
Arriving at the airport of El Calafate, head down and find your transport that will transport you to the true core of Patagonia Argentina, which is the small village of El Chalten surrounded by rocky mountains and jaw-dropping landscape. El Chalten is a paradise for any mountains lovers, hikers, and climbers. The small town is little, but the richness of the excellent wines, craft beers, and Argentinean Parillas is outstanding. If you want fancy groceries forget it.
The trip from the airport to El Chalten takes around three hours depending on the roads and the weather conditions. I would recommend doing it in daylight because the scenery is wicked and need to be fully appreciated. Be sure to make a stop at the lovely café halfway on the road trip.
Pro Tips. Pre-book your bus before going, no point wasting time on finding a bus that has a seat for you or even worst do not have a seat. The same goes for the hostel. Remember to bring cash, because El Chalten only has one ATM, often runs out of money in peak season (October-April).
I stayed at Patagonia Hostel – Nothing fancy, but cozy and easygoing vibe with young people and mountains lovers. Another important fact is that they have HOT showers!
Arriving into El Chalten by the afternoon, talk to your favorite person – the front desk, about the weather for the next day, if it is good then prepare yourself for hiking to the beginning of Monte Fitz Roy.
If you are hiking, don’t get drunk just tiny tipsy. A glass of Malbec never hurts! Go early to bed and get a good night of sleep. You are waking up early tomorrow, around 06:30!
Remember to book a transfer to Hosteria Pilar. That’s the best way to start your hike to Fitz Roy. Then you will not walk back, but always see something new. Beginning the hike with views of Piedras Blancas glacier, before a steep ascent to the lake, returning to El Chalten past the beautiful Laguna Capri.
Today the mountain dream is coming true, and you are finally going to see the stunning Fitz Roy Mountain by your own eyes, and most likely euphoria will hit you several times during the hike because the beauty is pure, deep and extremely satisfying.
Waking up early and have some breakfast! If you are late in the season like the end of April, it will be to gold sitting the first hours. After breakfast get on your transport to Hosteria Pilar. Start the hike with a group of eight people, less crowded and complete silence. Following the river and through some spectacular old forest and then after an hour you are rewarded with a scenic view of the of Piedras Blancas glacier.
After around three hours of hiking in the forest, you will be arriving at the camping area and crossing the river (fill up your water bottle at the river) and then comes more fun. That means attacking the final and steepest part of the hike a 400 meters ascent straight. Then when you are up, you will understand. Arriving at the Laguna de Los Tres, take a well-deserved break and enjoy this magnificent view with peaks everywhere and the tallest of them all Fitz Roy. The return to El Chalten is past the beautiful Laguna Capri, and the last kilometers will be painful, run Forest, run!
Arriving back to the town, grab that tasty cold beer, you deserve it after 8-10 hours hiking in the mountains! Before you lay-down and die completely get some empanadas at Che Empanadas. Then have a shower and a power nap.
Parilla time! You deserve meat after this long day of hiking. Eat that half-cow and drink that bottle of Malbec, because tomorrow your legs will hate you.
Good Morning, how are your legs feeling? Well let’s take it slow today, let’s start with going to the local bakery down the road and get some medialunas and coffee. Then find your Argentinean friend, and demand that you walk around in the town and go on a small dirt road, where you have no idea about what is.
My Argentinean friend Sebastian and I were in El Chalten on May 1, which meant that a great part of the shops was already closed for the season. Why don’t we go tree hunting? A concept that Sebastian would not understand, but is taking pictures of any trees with beautiful, intense colors like red, orange and yellow. Patagonia is gorgeous at fall! We were both in pain, after yesterdays trekking to Fitz Roy. We decided to take it slow, and we did with just eating and drinking good Argentinean food and of course talking a great part about life.
If your legs are excellent and all good to go, definitely take advantage of the good weather and go hiking! You had to see according to the weather reports coming in and decided if it will be good to go.
Are you ready? The legs are feeling better, and you are ready for a six-hour hike to Laguna Torre. Following Río Fitz Roy and arriving later at the foot of Cerro Torre, where you will see a spectacular blue colors glacial lake that will make perfect photos for Instagram. The Laguna Torre is an easy going hike with beautiful scenery and will not cost much doing.
In the afternoon, catch a bus to El Calafate and enjoy a couple of hours relaxing on the bus. Watch the sunset go down over the pampas. I stayed at America Del Sur Calafate Hostel, and when I arrived at 21:00 they had just started their Parilla, it was an excellent dinner deal including a glass of wine and a big steak.
When checking in America Del Sur Calafate Hostel, see the possibilities to book a tour, it’s easy and not that hazel with the price, it’s more or less the same. If not you walk in the morning to the bus station (12 minutes walk) and get a ride from there to the national park. Remember Cash is king in Argentina!
Waking up early and get ready for exploring the coolest glacier you have seen, Perito Moreno! First, you will be driving around for an hour or so before arriving at the location. Remember to bring cash for park fee entrance. Arriving at the site, start walking and exploring. Get lost and get around, take pictures from all different angles and views. Get on the boat if you want. I first wanted to go on the boat, but then I changed my opinion and went on another hike, which was cool. How close do you want to get to the glacier is up to you! For me, it was just fine walking around and talking with the cute guys taking pictures of all the tourists, including me at some point.
Returning to El Calafate in the afternoon, go for lunch and then walk around and find the best ice cream shop in El Calafate. Then go back to the hostel for mini siesta, then go to bar grab to or maybe three beers from the local bran Patagonia, discuss the beer with a German girl, agree on going out for the night and eat some good food, bring in the crew from all over the world and hit the restaurant. Laugh, eat and talk and enjoy your last night in Patagonia, before catching a way to early-flight back to Buenos Aires, the most relaxed capital in the world, where the entire energy is vibing awesomeness.
Hiking in Patagonia Argentina is easily done when you get there. All the tracks are more or less well marked as they have proper signs that are easy to understand and walk after. Furthermore, the trails are for Norwegian girl heaven on earth. The trails are smooth, not rocky and they were not moody either.
The trails to Fitz Roy was comfortable, the only rough part was the last 400 meters, that was quite covered in ice, which did make it a bit more difficult, with other words do not rush that, take your time, and it will be fine. I think anyone with a standard physics can make the trip. Yes, it is long, and the last kilometers can be painful, but with a fantastic view if that helps.
The trails to Laguna Torre with the view of Cerro Torre was easy; I think even my grandma could do that hike reasonably easy. Furthermore to be said we did walk past this 75 years old guy hiking both Fitz Roy and Laguna Torre without problems. He had walking sticks and was perfectly happy walking in his speed, and that’s the best about the mountains, they are there for everyone. Be honest about your physics maybe you walk 5 kilometers and turn around, the scenery will still be stunning.
For anyone considering traveling to Patagonia Argentina, I would say go! Patagonia Argentina was one of my best travel decisions, even do it was at the very end of the season. The best part of traveling at the end of the season, is, of course, fewer people, stronger colors on the threes. The downside of going at the end of the season is that things are more closed down and it can be cold, it can be windy, and the weather can be severe. If you are lucky like me, you will have a fantastic experience in El Chalten and El Calafate, the most important cornerstones of Patagonia Argentina.
25 Inspiring Photos of Patagonia in Argentina
The one thing that is expansive for going on a trip to Patagonia Argentina is to get there! Especially if you are on short time because then you will have to fly and that is not cheap and need to be taken care of before going. Start checking for flights when you know you are going to Patagonia. The other option is to go by bus some cheaper, but then again time-consuming; this depends on time and budget preferences.
From the Airport of El Calafate to El Chalten the transport was around 1600 ARS – 40 US dollars. It is a long ride. Three nights at Patagonia Hostel was 40 US dollars. The transportation to Hosteria Pilar was 5 US dollars. The hiking and the beautiful scenery were for FREE! Dinner around 12 US dollars and that includes of course wine.
From El Calafate to El Chalten the ticket was around 20 US dollars. The car ride with a tour company to Perito Moreno Glacier was around 15 US dollars. The stay at America Del Sur hostel was 21 US dollars for two nights. Overall this is like a midrange budget for a backpacker. If you have 40 US dollars a day more or less will be fine, of course, some more on travel days.
Time needed: 5 days, 5 hours and 5 minutes.
5 Days in Patagonia Argentina Itinerary
- Arriving: El Chalten
Discover som local craft beer and have tasty steak for dinner with a glass of Malbec. Remember tomorrow hiking for 8 hours!
- Hike to Mt. Fitz Roy Including Famous View Point:
Glaciar Piedras Blancas
Laguna Los Tres
Mirador Fitz Roy
- REST DAY FOR LEGS
Walk around explore the charming El Calafate
- Hike on the Cerro Torre trail to Laguna Torre
Catch the afternoon bus to El Calafate
- See the enormous Perito Moreno Glacier
Walk around the different trails to see the glaicer in many levels