I’m not exaggerating, nor do I get carried away by the emotions or the excitatory effect of the Argentinian mate. I’m serious; this is one of the best hiking routes in all South America!
The landscapes down there are amazing in the Patagonian style, with trees that change color, large glaciers, turquoise lagoons and disproportionate rock walls.
Many people compare this place with the famous and equally impressive Torres del Paine in Chile, and they are right; both hikes are amazing and have similar landscapes. However, the hikes around the Fitz Roy Trek and Cerro Torre, located in “Los Glaciares National Park”, offer a variety of opportunities for all levels.
Once you reach the small and friendly town of El Chalten, in the South of Argentina, a wide range of options opens up before your eyes, from short walks to long trails or even rock climbing.
Map. Where is the Cerro Torre and Fitz Roy Trek?
Most popular routes and itineraries
The Fitz Roy Trek. One day.
The hike to the Fitz Roy is by far the most popular choice among visitors. The distance is about 25 kms and can be completed in 6-7 hours. El Chalten is the point of departure and return.
After an hour’s walk through beautiful forests and hills, you get to the Fitz Roy viewpoint to enjoy excellent views of the entire environment.
You keep walking until you leave behind the “Poincenot campsite”, then, you walk the last part of the route, which is also the hardest. In any case, the effort will be worthwhile.
In the end, you get to the famous “Laguna de los Tres”, which has spectacular views of the Fitz Roy.
The Cerro Torre Trek. One day.
The second most popular trail takes us to the beautiful Cerro Torre and the mountains around it. The difficulty is low. The distance is about 22 kms and can be completed in 5-6 hours. El Chalten is the point of departure and return.
The trek goes gently uphill and downhill through a beautiful forest before reaches the “Laguna Torre”. There is a path around the right side of the lake that gets you pretty close to the “Cerro Torre”, with amazing views of the glaciers beneath the rock wall.
Fitz Roy & Cerro Torre Circuit. Two days.
This is the route we decided to hike. Basically, it is a combination of the above two routes. You overnight camp in one of the designated areas. The total distance is about 36 kms and the hike is completed in two days. The main advantage is that you can explore nearby areas without rushing and will enjoy the most beautiful sunsets and sunrises.
On the first day, I recommend that you reach the “Poincenot campsite” and pitch your tent. Then, leave most of your heavy stuff there and visit “La Laguna de los Tres”. If you have extra time, you can explore nearby ares. We walked down to the lake “Piedras Blancas ” and it was really beautiful.
On the second day, it’s really worth getting up early to watch the sun rise over the Fitz Roy, turning the rock wall orange. It is spectacular!
Then, you can pack up your tent and head towards the “Laguna Torre”, enjoy the beautiful views and start your walk back to El Chalten. Now that you are done, you can have a “matecito” or a glass of red Argentinian wine (or both) and have a good rest.
Budget for Hiking the Cerro Torre and Fitz Roy Trek from El Chalten
We spent less than $10 a day, including accommodation in El Chalten and food (and wine). However, the Argentinian economy, inflation and the dollar-peso exchange have changed considerably since my last visit, so everything must be more expensive now.
Park entrance fee
The entrance to the park, unlike with the Torres del Paine, is free.
Accommodation in El Chalten
The town of El Chalten is basically designed for tourism, so you’ll find lots of hostels, hotels and even a couple of campsites.
We paid 60 pesos per person to camp in “El Relincho” campsite (but, as I said, this price must have changed since then). The camping is really nice. You’ll have a super-equipped kitchen, clean bathrooms and a large camping ground.
If you are looking for a real bed, I recommend that you have a look at Hostel Los Viajeros. It’s a cool place at a good price.
Accommodation during the hike
The authorized camping areas are Poincenot camping, Rio Blanco camping , Capri camping and camping De Agostini. All are free.
Food and drink
There are several stores and minimarkets in El Chalten. Prices are higher than in the rest of the country, but you can find almost anything.
I highly recommend that you get a good travel insurance, no matter the length of the trip. Trusted by thousand of adventurers, World Nomads is one of the best and more reliable options.
Transport. How to get to El Chaltén
The easiest way to get to El Chalten is by taking a bus from El Calafate, where you should not miss a visit to the “Perito Moreno Glacier”. The journey from El Calafate to El Chalten takes only about three hours.
Weather. When to complete the Cerro Torre & Fitz Roy Trek
The best time to visit this paradise is from October to late April. We went there in April and I have to say that the scenery was amazing. All the forests were showing off the yellows, oranges and greens of autumn.
Tips for hiking the Cerro Torre & Fitz Roy Trek
Do not trust blue skies
One of the main pecularities of Patagonia is how easily the weather can change in a few minutes. It is possible to experience all four seasons in the same day. Bring warm clothes and a raincoat even if it looks like a pretty day.
To get an idea of the weather, I recommend that you visit this forecast website, which is one of the best I’ve found.
If you have the time, make it a two or three-day hike
One of the nicest things about these landscapes is watching the sun rise over the stone giants. If you can, spend at least one night camping and enjoy the spectacle.
It is very important that you collect all your garbage and try to leave the place as you found it.
Mountain Gear for Hiking the Cerro Torre & Fitz Roy Trek
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