El Chaltén it is a small town founded in 1985 that has become the mecca of trekking in Argentina for being very close to Los Glaciares National Park, from the Viezma glacier and at the foot of the spectacular Fitz Roy mountain. Although the route of travel through Argentina It was very intense, we did not want to miss the opportunity to do the path the pillar leading up to the Laguna de los Tres and so look closely at the majestic Fitz Roy peak.
Due to the tight itinerary we had planned, we could only dedicate one night and a full day to our visit to El Chaltén. So, as soon as we landed at El Calafate airport we rent a car for our stay in the Patagonia. We rented the car at the airport with @avis_spain and it cost us 9450 pesos for the four days in the region. From El Calafate airport, buses leave for El Chaltén (at 5, 7, 9, 11, 13 and 19h) but the car was more practical for us and, after all, adding all the transfers we would do in Patagonia Those days were even cheaper.
We leave the airport and before heading to El Chaltén we stop at the tourist office of El Calafate, which is at the entrance of the town, to ask for maps and information. Then we stopped at the supermarket on Avenida Del Libertador Gral. San Martín to buy water for the road, because in the three hours of the route that awaited us there were almost no gas stations to stop. If during the stay in El Chaltén you want to cook to save money, you better buy groceries in El Calafate because there is more supply and it will be cheaper.
We set off driving almost alone on some roads that were long and straight. During the trip we met several cyclists who were doing the tour with mountain bikes, an arduous task since during the days we were in Patagonia the wind blew a lot, reaching 90 km / hour.
Halfway we stop at the The Lioness Hostel, an old hacienda with more than 100 years of history that is historical and cultural heritage of Santa Cruz. The mythical Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid (immortalized in two men and one destiny) after raiding banks in Río Gallegos. Stories apart, La Leona is a good place, almost the only one, where to stop to rest and eat something between El Calafate and El Chaltén. We took the opportunity to eat some hamburgers and then we continued on the road.
About nine o'clock we arrived at El Chaltén. At that time, the tourist office was already closed, although it was still day. We arrive at the hostel Condor of the Andes where we had reserved a double room with bathroom. The hostel has a common kitchen for guests and at that time the dining room was full. We shared a table and chat with an Argentine couple and a Catalan girl who had been there for days walking the trails. They explained to us that, unlike other parks such as Tierra del Fuego or Torres del Paine in Chile, there were no fees to pay for the trails and the beauty was exceptional.
We went to sleep soon to rest, since the next day we were going to get up early to face our only day of hiking in the area. We feared that the rain that was falling throughout the afternoon was going to water the day of hiking.
Fortunately, the next day a bright sun came out, not a cloud in the sky and the wind was barely blowing. To do the trail of the Laguna de los Tres You can start from the town of El Chaltén and it takes about ten hours to come and go. However, you can save about two hours of walking starting on the trail from the Hostería El Pilar located about 17 kilometers from the town by a gravel road. Since we had the car, that was what we did. If a car is not available, there is a shuttle service in the village that can be hired at the same hostel the day before.
It took almost an hour to reach El Pilar, we left the car parked there and started the path. It must be said that at the beginning it was a bit difficult for us to know where to go, since there is a section that crosses a small river and is not very well signposted, but once we found the path, there was no loss.