1 week guide in El Calafate and El Chaltén


July 20, 2022

Some of the most fascinating landscapes in Argentina are found in El Chalten and El Calafate. For us it is a destination that everyone should visit at least once in our lives. That's why we put together this guide, to make it easier for you to organize and enjoy what Patagonia has to offer.

How to get there?

The best way to get to Calafate is by plane. There are regular flights from Ushuaia and Buenos Aires. In high season also from Bariloche, Trelew and Cordoba.

From the airport, there are also buses to Chaltén. We booked with TAQSA Patagonia Turismo. The Whatsapp to book the place and find out the schedules is +5402902495843.

Best time to visit El Calafate and El Chaltén

Calafate: you can go all year round. Its main attraction, the Perito Moreno Glacier, is open all year round. However, the weather is more pleasant from September to March.
El Chaltén: the best time to visit El Chaltén is from October to March. In fact it is during these dates that the shops, restaurants and agencies are open.

7-day route through El Calafate and El Chaltén

In this article we tell you how we did our one week route between Calafate and El Chaltén. It may not be the ideal route for everyone but with the amount of days we had it worked for us. If you have more days in your itinerary we recommend you to use them to hike more trails in El Chaltén.

It is worth mentioning that almost all the trails in El Chaltén are self-guided, that is to say, it is not necessary to go on a hike since they are all well indicated.

Day 1.

We flew early in the morning from Buenos Aires to Calafate. We arrived at the airport just in time to take the last bus to Chalten. 

Once in El Chalten we went to check in at our hotel, left our things and went to lunch. 

We took advantage of the afternoon to do a short trekking: Chorrillo del Salto.

It is a trekking of 7 km in total and easy since it has no slope. It takes a total of 3 hours, where you walk through a really beautiful low hillside forest. There is also the possibility of doing it by car or bicycle. 

At the end of the trail you reach the Chorrillo del Salto, a spectacular waterfall with a 20-meter waterfall.

Chorrillo del Salto
Chorrillo del Salto

Day 2.

Having seen the forecast the day before we decided that this was going to be our day to go to sleep at Poicenot camp and then enjoy the sunrise at Laguna de los Tres (having a west orientation, the view is much more beautiful when the sun rises), as it was going to be a clear day with not so low temperatures.

As we told you in our guide about El Chaltén there are two trails to reach the Poicenot camp: Hostería del Pilar and the trail through Laguna Capri. After reading a lot and asking for recommendations we decided to go by the Hostería del Pilar and return by the Laguna Capri. This way we did both trails without missing any sights.

The night before we booked through our hotel a van to take us to the lodge since it is 17 km away from Chaltén. So at 9:00 a.m. the van picked us up to start the trip to our starting point. 

From the Hostería del Pilar to the Poincenot campground it is about 6 km. This trail leads to the Piedra Blanca Glacier viewpoint, an incredible view!

Piedras Blancas Glacier Viewpoint
Piedras Blancas Glacier Viewpoint
Piedras Blancas Glacier
Piedras Blancas Glacier

At about 3 pm we arrived at the campsite where there were already several people. We took the opportunity to make the tent, eat what we had brought, admire the view of the Fitz Roy and rest in the sun. As it was getting dark we began to prepare dinner with what we had brought with us. We went to bed early as we were going to get up a few hours before sunrise to be able to see it in the Laguna de los Tres. 

In this guide to Chalten we tell you everything you need to sleep in the camp and tips.

Mount Fitz Roy
The view of Mount Fitz Roy a few meters from the Poicenot camp.
Mount Fitz Roy
Mount Fitz Roy

Day 3.

We woke up 2 hours before sunrise, prepared hot coffee in our thermos and went into a cold but full of stars night. We swear we never saw as many as in the middle of the mountain that night!

The last 2 kms to the summit are the most difficult of the trail because they are uphill and the road is quite deteriorated, pure stone. But every effort has its reward, and as we got closer to the Fitz Roy, the smile was getting wider. We arrived just in time to see how the incredible giant was getting a pinkish orange color. 

Once at the top we stayed several hours, taking pictures, enjoying the view, resting. Around noon, when most of the tourists were arriving at the lagoon, we started our way back along the Laguna de Capri trail, we still had 11km to go to El Chaltén.

Sunrise at Laguna de los Tres
Sunrise at Laguna de los Tres
Sunrise over Laguna Sucia
Sunrise over Laguna Sucia

We arrived in town pretty tired, straight to the shower and to bed. 

Day 4.

After two intense days we decided to do a quieter trail, so we decided to go to the Huemul Glacier. The night before we booked the transfer as it is located near Lago del Desierto, 37 km from Chaltén.

We booked with the company Zona Austral. The excursion has two schedules. One is full day, leaving at 9:30 am and returning at 5:30 pm and the other leaves at 12:30 pm and returns at 6:30 pm. The only difference between the two options is the number of hours you are allowed to be on the Huemul Glacier. As we wanted to rest we opted for the midday option. 

The trail to the Huemul Glacier is 4km round trip and takes 2 hours. It is of low to medium difficulty as it has a steep climb on one part of the trail. The trail is on private property and for this reason they make you pay an entrance fee of $500 (March 2021).

Huemul Glacier
Huemul Glacier

Day 5.

We woke up to a very cloudy day but it was our last day in El Chalten so we had to do the last trekking that we could not miss: Cerro Torre. It is a trekking of 19 km in total and it takes between 7 and 8 hours. The trail is not very steep so it is of low difficulty.

Unfortunately we couldn't see Cerro Torre as it was too cloudy but the trail was super nice! We saw the lagoon full of icebergs from the hanging glacier. From here you can also take a 2km trail to the Mirador Maestri. We didn't do it because it was very windy and we felt like we were flying. 

Cerro Torre is also best appreciated at sunrise as it faces west. Here there is also a wild camping site called D'Agostini where you can camp.

Tower Lagoon
With the cloudy day, we did not get to see Cerro Torre.
Laguna Torre Trail
Trail to Laguna Torre

Day 6.

We took the first bus back to Calafate. We arrived at the station at noon and took a cab to the hotel where we left all our things. After lunch we hired again the cab that had taken us from the station to the hotel to go to the walkways of the Perito Moreno Glacier.

The footbridges of the Perito Moreno glacier are located approximately 1 hour from the city of Calafate. There are 3 options to go:

  1. Own car
  2. Tourist agency (in March 2021 it was $3000 pesos per person).
  3. Hire a cab or remis (in March 2021 $4500 round trip for up to 4 people).

The entrance fee to Glacier National Park is ARS$1200 for Argentine residents and ARS$4000 (approx USD$15) for foreigners.

After touring the walkways and appreciating the imposing glacier for a couple of hours, we returned to our hotel in Calafate.

Perito Moreno Glacier Walkways
Perito Moreno Glacier Walkways
Perito Moreno Glacier Walkways
Perito Moreno Glacier Walkways

Day 7.

Last day of our trip and one of the most incredible.

Today we have the mini-trekking on the Perito Moreno glacier. It is a high priced excursion (approximately USD$100 per person) but if you have the possibility we recommend it 100%. Walking on top of the glacier is something really incredible! We booked the excursion with Hielo y Aventura, the only company authorized to do this trekking.

The excursion starts at the Puerto Bajo las Sombras (before reaching the footbridges area) with a short 20 minute navigation across the Rico Lake to the glacier. Once on the other side, there is a shelter where you can leave your gear and the guides assemble small groups to walk on the glacier. After you get your helmet and put on your crampons you start this incredible 1 hour and a half walk on the glacier. 

You can add the transfer to the port to the excursion, but we decided to hire the cab again as it seemed cheaper and more comfortable.  

Once the excursion was over, we went back to walk along the glacier's walkways, since we were there, we could not miss the chance to walk for a while and enjoy the view. Then we headed back to the lodge where we picked up our luggage and went to the airport to return. 

Ice Trekking Perito Moreno Glacier
Ice Trekking on Perito Moreno Glacier
Ice Trekking Perito Moreno Glacier

In Calafate, there are many more excursions to do. We did not have the time to do them but anyway we tell you a little more about them and the glacier in the post about Calafate.


If you have more days we recommend you to dedicate them to Chaltén, a day of rest between so much trekking your body will thank you. Also in our itinerary we had a couple of trekking without doing. We tell you everything you can do here. 

Well, that's it! We hope you liked it and hopefully it will help you plan your next trip.