A few days after Torres del Paine we went to the small village of El Chaltén in Argentina, located in the northern sector of Los Glaciares National Park. We only had half a day there (our bus left in the evening) but nevertheless decided on doing a short hike.
Planning a hike
At the park administration office we were told that there was a nice short hike we could easily do in a few hours. OK, let’s do this – but first, I need to use the bathroom. I go and come back and… the plan has been changed. Hossam has decided that we’d walk to Laguna Torre. The views would be much better there and it was only 10 kilometers (one way…!), easy, we have enough time to go, take some pictures, and come back in time to catch the bus. Protesting didn’t help at all. Alright then, let’s go!
At Laguna Torre, similar to the Torres del Paine lookout, you have a turquoise lake and a mountain called Torre (seriously). To Laguna Torre and back it’s a 5-6 hour walk, 20 kilometers, both ways. Despite the long way (we could hardly walk when we got back; probably we need to exercise a bit more. Or walk a bit slower) we liked it a lot more than Torres del Paine. The mountain is just as impressive, there are ice blocks floating in the lake, it’s much warmer (or we were just incredibly lucky, this is still Patagonia after all) and the landscape is very diverse and absolutely beautiful.
So if you don’t want to hike the W in Torres del Paine, consider going to El Chaltén, it’s much more relaxed. Plus, the entrance to the National Park is free. There are only a few trails for which you have to pay a small fee; the staff at the administration office is very helpful and can give you good information on all the trails.