We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

El Calafate to.....???

Portland, OR
Level Contributor
4,772 posts
52 reviews
Save Topic
El Calafate to.....???

We will have a total of 6 nights during our trip to Argentina in November. We plan on renting a car so we will drive once we leave El Calafate.

I have read up on Torres Del Paine and also El Chalten and I am leaing towards El Chalten due to the fact that it is less busy but still stunning. We want to do some good day hikes and see incredible scenery.

It seems I read somewhere that you don't need to pay the visa fee to get into Torres del Paine but maybe I imagined that? Do Americans and Canadians pay a visa fee?

Which would you choose and why?

Stockholm, Sweden
Level Contributor
137 posts
Save Reply
1. Re: El Calafate to.....???

El Chalten feels smaller than Torres del Paine in terms of the national park area but it does offer beautiful walks and it's a really cool town with a great microbrewery and chocolate shop.

I would choose Torres Del Paine though because the area was absolutely outstanding - the mountains felt really imposing and the lakes are the most beautiful shades of blue (all different blues by the way). I'm not sure if my view is 'clouded' by the fact that when we were in El Chalten the big tops that we went to see were covered in clouds the whole time whereas in Torres del Paine we actually got to see the towers but even so I think TdP was much more of an Oh wow experience. If money is of concern though I can tell you that Chile is much more expensive than Argentina (but everything is still cheaper than the US).

Glacier alley in TdP is also supercool so don't miss that if you go!

In terms of visas I have no idea - I didn't need one. You can easily google this though.

Bariloche
Level Contributor
604 posts
20 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: El Calafate to.....???

TDP entrance fee is u$d 18.-....you should try TDP and El Chalten, both are stunning.

At TDP, distances to each trekking trail are longer, but worth it, you should start very early in the morning...the trail to Las Torres, takes 7 hours walking, and is one of the best trekkings.

Chalten is much smaller, and from town..you can walk to different trails...except to Huemul Glacier, which the trail starts at Lago del Desierto...1 hour drive from Chalten

Portland, OR
Level Contributor
4,772 posts
52 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: El Calafate to.....???

Brom, microbrews and chocolate! Two of my favorite things! Kinda hard to resist that little hook!

I guess what I may have read about Chile is that there is an arrival or departure fee if flying in, not a visa requirement.

Alec, I would love to see both but I have limited time in that area. I am wondering if it might be best if I shave a couple of days of my Buenos Aires time and add it to Patagonia?

Anyone else have a vote?

Bariloche
Level Contributor
604 posts
20 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: El Calafate to.....???

yes, there´s a u$d 100.- fee for entering Chile, and it lasts till your passport gets expired...

My suggestion...cut a couple of days in BA...and visit TDP and Chalten

Portland, OR
Level Contributor
4,772 posts
52 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: El Calafate to.....???

Alec, isn't that only if you are flying into Chile?

Bariloche
Level Contributor
604 posts
20 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: El Calafate to.....???

yes, if you are entering Chile by plane, you have to pay this fee...if you are crossing borders, you do not pay

Rome, Italy
Level Contributor
1,124 posts
62 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: El Calafate to.....???

PDX, we were in Patagonia last fall, and I would definitely recommend el Chalten, and if you have more time TDP. TDP is stunning, majestic, but it's also more touristy and upscale, in terms of accomodations, of el Chalten. El Chalten is a basic little village where a lot real mountaineers go (of course they'll tell you that it's becoming touristy now). In TDP you'll find a lot of groups from the US etc, while el Chalten is more secluded, and receives less groups,more of the do it yourself crowd.

What we did is rent a car in Calafate, drive north to El Chalten, we spent 3-4 nights there (in a lovely cabana, I reviewed it) and then drove all the way to TDP (which is extremely expensive, especially coming from Argentina, we spent $180/night to sleep in a lousy hostel with shared bathroom). Don't get me wrong, TDP is beautiful, but El Chalten makes you feel a little more special and less tourist. People are also much warmer and welcoming there, you feel you're part of a little community of mountain lovers, at least that's how I felt. And we got to see the Fitzroy (or better, "el Chalten" ) and the other peaks and they were unforgettable. We did a nice long hike, involving hiking on a glacier, I believe it was el glaciar grande, which was also very beautiful.

So I guess it all depends on how many days you have, after you leave el Calafate. With 6 (3+3) you can definitely see both places.

Send me a message using the new TA feature for more info.

Ciao

Stockholm, Sweden
Level Contributor
137 posts
Save Reply
8. Re: El Calafate to.....???

How many days are you spending in BsAs? We spent around 4 days there and felt we had time to see most of the things we wanted to see - although we did a lot of walking that last day! If mountains and hiking is more your thing then cut a few days off BsAs and do both. But if you love your city tours and shopping then stick to just doing one of them.

If you go to El Chalten there's a really good guide there called Diego who runs the only book shop in the town - he's very experienced and speaks good English - i'm not sure he's for private hire though, he might only do groups.

Buenos Aires...
Level Contributor
157 posts
6 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: El Calafate to.....???

I'd definitely recommend going to El Chalten. Reasons have been already said, so this is just to tip the scales in favor of El Chalten, haha.

Jacksonville, FL
Level Contributor
95 posts
9 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: El Calafate to.....???

No visa fee if you drive into Chile- as others have said.

Having just returned from both places (El Chalten and TDP) I preferred TDP- we found the trails in and around Chalten to be much more crowded than any in the TDP. The Torres were more spectacular and so much more to see... thats my vote. (you can get chocolate and microbrewed beer almost anywhere!)

Get answers to your questions about El Calafate