El Chalten is a different kind of place, an outpost in Patagonia, in the middle of nowhere. It was established in 1985 as a trekking base for mountaineers who wished to summit the nearby, towering and difficult Cerro Torro and Mount Fitzroy. It began slowly with only tents and today, twenty-five years later has a handful of small restaurants, hotels and shops. The local population is about 2,000-3,000 residents depending upon the time of year. Some people stay only during the main tourist season from October to late April, when the mountains and trails are accessible and tourists flock in. Others remain for the whole year, living through the intense Patagonian winter and are nearly cut off from the rest of civilization until the Spring arrives in October. It is a wild place, like no place on earth, and is a fitting location to explore the spectacular, divine Los Glaciares National park.
Here are some photos of El Chalten to stir up your imagination:
The town of El Chalten:
Our little humble hotel in Chalten. El Puma. It was actually quite lovely with a wood burning fireplace in the reception area and nice rooms:
The llama outside the hotel…watch out! They spit!
Entrance to the town:
El Chalten from the mountains, in the valley below:
The one and only main drag in town:
The only grocery store:
The lone convenience store:
The road leading up to our hotel. I couldn’t get enough of this old, crazy car:
For such a small town, I found lots of interesting photo opps:
Symbol of living in a small, remote town: A classic! My impatient Dad, waiting at the ONLY Atm in town, with the bank car there, yet you couldn’t get any money. The wire connection was down. No cash for the entire town until tomorrow.