Going from El Calafate to El Chalten

El Chalten and Fitz Roy, Icon of Patagonia

We have two options, basically you can arrive to El Chalten from El Calafate by bus or by car. The easiest way to get there is by bus, as several transport companies offer regular services from El Calafate to El Chaltén. The trips usually last around 3 hours and there are several departures per day. Tickets can be purchased online or at the bus station in El Calafate.

It is also possible to rent a car and drive along National Route 40 and then take Provincial Route 23 to El Chaltén. The total distance is around 220 km and the estimated travel time is about 3 and a half hours. There are several car rental companies in El Calafate. You also can book regular excursions or also private tours from El Calafate, some of them includes trekking activities during your visit. Check with us about the options available

It is important to note that National Route 40 is a gravel road in some sections, so it is recommended to drive with caution and check the road conditions before starting the trip. In addition, it is important to consider that weather conditions can be variable in this area, so it is advisable to be prepared for sudden changes in climate.

From El Calafate to El Chalten: route map

The Route from El Calafate to El Chaltén. What to see? Where to stop?

The route from El Calafate to El Chalten is one of the most scenic drives in Patagonia, offering stunning views of the Andes Mountains, glaciers, and pristine lakes. The drive takes about 3 hours, and there are plenty of interesting stops along the way.

The Parador La Leona

A nice stop in the route is the famous Parador La Leona. It´s an historic roadside stop located about halfway between El Calafate and El Chalten. The parador is situated near the La Leona River, which flows through a rugged landscape of red rock formations, cliffs, and canyons.

The building itself dates back to the early 20th century, when it was originally built as a post office and rest stop for travelers making the long journey across Patagonia. Today, it serves as a hotel, restaurant, and souvenir shop, and has become a popular destination for tourists exploring the area.

One of the most interesting aspects of Parador La Leona is its history. Over the years, the building has played host to a number of famous visitors, including Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, who are said to have stayed at the parador during their time as outlaws in South America.

In addition to its historical significance, Parador La Leona also offers stunning views of the surrounding landscape, with rugged cliffs, towering mountains, and the meandering La Leona River all visible from the parador’s outdoor terrace.

Visitors to Parador La Leona can enjoy a meal in the on-site restaurant, which serves traditional Patagonian cuisine and offers a selection of local wines. The souvenir shop also offers a range of locally made handicrafts and souvenirs, including leather goods, textiles, and jewelry.

La Leona. Route to El Chalten from El Calafate

Route to El Chaltén: first views of the Fitz Roy Massif

As you approach El Chalten, the landscape becomes even more dramatic, with snow-capped peaks, crystal clear rivers, and dense forests. One of the most iconic sights along the route is Mount Fitz Roy, a towering peak that is considered one of the most challenging climbs in the world.

Other notable stops along the way include the Viedma Glacier, which can be seen from a lookout point near the town of El Chalten, and the Lago del Desierto, a stunning glacial lake that offers hiking and boating opportunities.

Once you arrive in El Chalten, there are plenty of outdoor activities to enjoy, including hiking, mountaineering, and fly fishing. The town is known as the “trekking capital” of Argentina, and there are numerous trails that offer breathtaking views of the surrounding mountains and glaciers.

Overall, the drive from El Calafate to El Chalten is a must-do for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts, offering some of the most spectacular scenery in Patagonia.the route to El chalten from El calafate


Book an excursion to El Chalten from El Calafate

Picture of Ramiro Rodriguez

Ramiro Rodriguez

25 years working in travel market, as Sales & Marketing Manager in RipioTurismo, Marketing Manager in Nuevas Ideas Travel Consulting Group. Writer and travel lover.

Table of Contents