It only exists for tourism. It’s cold, expensive and far far away from the nearest town. You’ll pay extra for your hostel, and splurge if you decide to eat out. But like the lamb ravioli I savored there, El Chaltén is worth the cost. Its isolation is precisely what makes it so special. The pristine Patagonian countryside provides stunning views of spiky and sheer Cerro Fitzroy, strangled looking half-dead trees and the valley of the town itself. Despite the priciness of everything in town, there are countless hours of free trekking opportunities. The spooky layering of clouds over the mountains at dusk, that hypnotized us from the bus window as we drove away, was also free.
El Chaltén can be reached by bus from El Calafate from the south or Bariloche from the north.