The 2 hour bus ride from El Calafate to El Chalten was gorgeous! We passed enormous vistas of lakes, mountain ranges, rivers and Pampas lands where Guanacos roamed and large birds called Rheas flew.
I was coming to El Chalten for only one day because it was high season and almost all the hostels were already booked up with hikers who love this neck of the Andes. Now I’ve learned…it is too beautiful a place to stay only one day! If you’re going there, plan to stay at least 4 days, if not longer! Be sure to book ahead!
Our bus pulled in to the highly impressive Los Glaciares National Park Headquarters just before the town of El Chalten. I scouted my day’s route on their relief map. With only 4 hours before I needed to catch my return bus, a long hike was out of the question.
I chose the 4 kilometer hike to Laguna Capri. From there, depending on the weather, I would hopefully see Monte Fitz Roy, a majestic peak on the border of Argentina and Chile with an elevation of 11,020′.
Trail entrance with a worker on hand to answer questions.
With a little elevation gain I looked back on El Chalten and its beautiful valley!
The views were getting spectacular! A nice gentleman from South Korea shot this photo of me with the gorgeous valley behind.
A higher elevation shot.
Gaining some REAL elevation here!
And finally – Laguna Capri! Sorry for the tip in this picture. I’d fix it but I’m on a roll… 🙂 Straight ahead on the left and hidden beneath those foggy clouds is the majestic Monte Fitz Roy! And to the right is a small glacier that feeds Laguna Capri.
Approaching Laguna Capri, there was a ton of human noise coming from the right side of the lake’s beaches. So I turned to the left and saw this lovely, mostly empty beach area.
After walking toward it I turned and looked back at the noisy area. A large crowd of peeps were over there. But – no wonder! It was beautiful!
Monte Fitz Roy was determined to be shy today, but it was such a glorious place to be I didn’t mind. Spent about an hour snacking on some foods I’d brought and just lazing around on the grass while observing the spectacular Nature.
Zooming in on the glacier, it appeared to be hanging. I had been told that they have been melting back, so most likely not too many years ago it actually extended right down into Laguna Capri.
Such a glorious day!
The walk back down to El Chalten was peaceful and green.
Once again, the valley came into view.
A climbing class was being conducted along the trail side.
And then El Chalten came into view again!
Passed by the trail entrance again …
… and headed towards town.
In the parking area near the trailhead were several different rental vans from Chile! Spoke with a few of their groups and discovered that Chile rents these vans out by the month for pretty cheap.
Walking back into town I passed several large tour buses …
… a cool looking market …
… artistic restaurants …
… a drive in camping area …
… all before spying a place that called out to me : B&B – Burgers and Beers!
While sitting out on their deck sipping on my lovely lager beer, who should meander in but – ED! He had also left El Calafate this morning on a different bus than I had, but he had been fortunate enough to find a bunk in a hostel here in El Chalten! I was slightly envious! We enjoyed a delightful catch-up over our beers!
And then it was back to the bus station for my return trip to El Calafate. But I was looking forward to tomorrow – El Bolson was next, and it was going to be divine!