ArtsAutosBooksBusinessEducationEntertainmentFamilyFashionFoodGamesGenderHealthHolidaysHomeHubPagesPersonal FinancePetsPoliticsReligionSportsTechnologyTravel

El Chalten vs Torres del Paine

Updated on October 20, 2016

Both Torres del Paine National Park in Patagonia Chile and El Chalten in Patagonia Argentina flank the Southern Patagonian Ice Cap, which is the source of a vast system of glaciers. Hikers love these extraordinary and unique landscapes, but often have strong feelings about which region is best.

Los Glaciares National Park

El Chaltén is a tourist village in Los Glaciares National Park, Santa Cruz, Argentina.

Torres del Paine National Park

Just across the ice cap from Los Glaciares is Torres del Paine National Park in Chilean Patagonia.

Best Treks

While El Chalten has many spectacular short treks rivalling the Torres del Paine W Trek, none of them beats the Torres del Paine Circuit, with its the jaw-dropping views of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field from the John Gardner Pass. This vast system of glaciers can't be seen like this from any other trek in Patagonia, so there really is nothing else quite like it.

In fact trekkers who say that El Chalten's scenery is better than Torres del Paine probably haven't trekked the Torres del Paine Circuit. The Torres del Paine W is far more popular - mainly because it's quicker and easier.

Notable day hikes from El Chalten include the trek to Laguna de Los Tres, an emerald laguna beneath the iconic Mount Fitzroy (5 hours), and Laguna Torre Trek (3.5 hours), which takes you to Cerro Torre base camp and beyond.

Los Glaciares National Park

Best Accommodation

El Chalten - a fast-growing tourist village - has the best choice of accommodation, including a host of town-center hostels as well as plenty of Estancias. Estancia La Quinta is a highly regarded out-of-town ranch with an interesting history and an excellent restaurant, while Los Cerros, is a luxury hotel up on the hill behind El Chalten with great views of the Fitzroy Massif.

Views are no match for hotels in Torres del Paine though. Hotel Explora (Hotel Salto Chico), has perhaps the best view on earth. On one side the jagged Paine Massif rises from Pehoe Lake's blue shores and on the other the Salto Chico Waterfall roars away.

Other spectacular views are on offer at Hosteria Pehoe and Hosteria Grey, while out-of-park Estancias, such as Tercera Barranca and El Pionero offer old-fashioned comfort.

Challenges

Treks in Torres del Paine tend to be more challenging than those in El Chalten and the Fitzroy Sector. Although the weather can be challenging in both regions, which as the crow flies, are only about 100 miles apart. Even the Paine W has some steep climbs, notably to The Towers and to the French Valley.

The Paine Circuit is hard rather than difficult. The trails aren't particularly steep, but you'll almost certainly be trekking them carrying a tent as there are no refugios or hotels up on the John Gardner Pass. Up there, the weather is windier, colder and snowier than not only the rest of Torres del Paine but also the Fitzroy Sector and El Chalten. In addition, the trek can take up to 10 days.

Most accessible

El Chalten and the surrounding Fitzroy Massif is more accessible than Torres del Paine, making it the best choice for short trips, and treks leave from El Chalten village itself.

Torres del Paine is two hours at least from the nearest town, Puerto Natales, which is itself another three hours from Punta Arenas, and five hours from El Calafate in Argentina. In 2010 the situation has improved with Sky Airlines operating flights to Puerto Natales from cities in Chile and from Buenos Aires in Argentina.

Comments

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    • profile image

      beachesandpacks 

      3 years ago

      Great breakdown of two of the best trekking meccas in South America. I agree that Torres del Paine has better views overall, particularly the high pass while on the full circuit, but El Chalten has some unbelievable day hikes, specifically Lomo del Pliegue Tumblado. For those trying to decide between the two options, this breakdown may help as well: http://beachesandbackpacks.com/2015/01/06/the-best...

    working

    This website uses cookies

    As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, hubpages.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

    For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://hubpages.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

    Show Details
    Necessary
    HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
    LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
    Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
    AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
    HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
    Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
    CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
    Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
    Features
    Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
    Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
    Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
    PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
    MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
    Marketing
    Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
    Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
    Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
    Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
    Statistics
    Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
    ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
    Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)