It could have been better
This trip was really hard but it seems it's the only way to get to El Chalten.
We got the round trip bus ticket from El Calafate in a package together with an excursion to Perito Moreno Glacier, it would be about 60 pesos for this bus I guess.
The bus goes there twice a day, leaving both Calafate and El Chalten at the same time: 8 am and 6.30 pm. The buses operate regularly only in the season (October to March), then the winter comes and there are not many cars that can get to El Chalten.
It's 220 km of pebbled road in bad condition and the trip takes 5 hrs. I would say it takes forever. The road is very hard to drive and it was pouring rain when we were going there, there are not much views in this case as the windows are fully covered with mud. The bus seemed specialized for the trip though, the big wheels ;) made it possible to drive through. What also makes the survival a little less troublesome is a bucket at the bus entrance serving for throwing out a used yerba mate.
There is no town on the way, only the inn La Leona, so the few cars with broken wheels we saw on the way may be in a little trouble. We stopped at La Leona on both ways for excellent homemade cakes and hot chocolate. Well, anything hot would make me happy as I was freezing all 5 hrs. Really, it was so cold that I was going crazy. I learned the lesson and took the sleeping bag on the way back... it didn't help though, I was still freezing.
Nevertheless, El Chalten is an absolute must when you are in the area so I would definitelly go there again, I would just take 3 warm sleeping bags and a thermos with hot tea on that damn bus next time :)
- Hiking and Walking
- Mountain Climbing
The bus from El Calafate to El Chalten
El Chalten is appoximately 220 km away from El Calafate on the north side of Parque National Los Glaciares. It can be reached by bus from El Calafate. Depending on the time of year, service can vary. Buses only left El Calafate on Tuesdays and Thursdays and returned from El Chalten Wednesday and Friday. You must book the bus at the Calafate Hostel in town.
The cost of the trip was 50 pesos round trip. It takes 4.5 hours one way and stops over for 30 minutes for coffee or hot chocolate. On the way you can see the Viedma Glacier and as you approach, a stunning view of the Fitz Roy. Make sure you have the driver stop and take a shot.
Along the way we also so rhea and guanaco.
- National/State Park