Huge glaciers streaming down from the Southern Patagonian Ice Field and snow-capped peaks rearing up out of the Andes Mountains: this is the landscape awaiting visitors in southern Argentina. Traveling from El Calafate to El Chaltén and spending a few nights in each town allows visitors to see the region’s highlights.
How to get from El Calafate to El Chaltén
Visitors normally arrive at El Calafate Airport, which is serviced by domestic flights only and connects the town with Ushuaia at the southernmost tip of Argentine Patagonia and Bariloche and Buenos Aires further north.
The journey from El Calafate to El Chaltén covers a distance of 134-miles (215 km) and takes around three hours. There are various ways to get between the two towns.
Bus travel between El Calafate and El Chaltén
Three companies currently serve this route:
- Caltur (+54 2062 493150)
- Chaltén Travel (+54 2962 493392)
- TAQSA (+54 2962 493130)
All leave from the main bus terminal in El Calafate, which is located on Julio Argentino Roca. Many of the services stop at El Calafate Airport, a 20-minute drive from the town, however this must be confirmed upon arrival at the airport. If this is not possible, instead, you need to take a bus from the airport into El Calafate at a cost of around $10 USD.
During the summer, visitors can expect to find buses traveling between El Calafate and El Chaltén leaving at the following times:
08:00am (Caltur and Chaltén Travel)
13:00pm (Caltur and Chaltén Travel)
18:00pm (Chaltén Travel and Caltur)
Buses between the two towns run throughout the year, with at least two services daily during low season (March through October). Expect to pay at least $30 USD for a single ticket to El Chaltén.
It is recommended to take snacks and water for the journey and toilet facilities should normally be available onboard.
Car rental from El Calafate to El Chaltén
Car rental is another option for getting between El Calafate and El Chaltén and allows for a greater degree of flexibility when it comes to timing and the capacity to explore other notable attractions in the region.
The following companies offer car hire from El Calafate Airport:
You can expect to pay in the region of $425 USD for a seven-day rental of a five-seater car from El Calafate Airport during high season. It is recommended that you book at least a month in advance to ensure availability, particularly during the months of December, January and February.
Private transfers between El Calafate and El Chaltén
Another option is to book a private transfer directly from El Calafate Airport. These are more expensive than the bus ($40 USD per person one way) but avoids having to go into El Calafate to take one of the local buses. Several companies offer these online and it is recommended to pre-book your transport before arriving at the airport.