El Chaltén and Laguna Torre

New day, new trip

After lazy day and short trip to waterfalls we planned another big hike. Our destination was Laguna Torre. As before, we expected beautiful views but this time, there should be a glacier present at the lake as well.

We had another noisy night thanks to our lovely cohabitant but what can you do. If they need to smash all the doors after midnight so that everyone knows they are leaving for the mountains so be it.

Anyway, we woke up in the morning and went through usual routine (brush teeth, prepare clothes) and then fun part started. Yes, stop at panaderia to get breakfast and food for the trip. Again, we got quite a lot of facturas and salty empanadas.

Stomach satisfied, it was time to hit the road again.

Lets go

We walked through the village to the trailhead. On the way we saw some fancy accomodations done in beautiful pink and white colors. It didn’t take long and we were looking at the big sign with Laguna Torre written on it. There were some basic information, like length (9km one way), difficulty (medium) and what points of interest we can expect on the way. For “professional” hikers, like two of us, it was easy.

Lovely houses
Lovely houses

Around 10 o’clock it was finally getting warmer and we were able shed upper layers and get to t-shirts. Looked like another beautiful day.

Laguna Torre trailhead

First part was quite easy, no steep hills, we basically followed Rio Fitz Roy. River had interesting color, brown with something special that’s added by its glacial source. We walked through large meadow, looking at the mountains in front of us. Fitz Roy was hidden but there were other interesting jagged peaks with glaciers, so we were happy.

From meadows we slowly moved to forests. Some parts were little scary, full of dead trees. But we safely made it through, unharmed.

Laguna Torre

Few turns, get over a small hill and we were there, at the shore of Laguna Torre. It took us only 2 hours from trailhead to get here. Unlike other glacial lakes we saw before, this one was not blue at all, but brown. I guess thawing at that time and faster current was responsible for more dirt in the water. The views were breath taking. At the other end of the lake was a blue ice glacier. Not far behind was a mountain range with a sharp peak, which gave name to this area – Cerro Torre.

Cerro Torre

This part of the lake was quite busy, ton of tourists, who were enjoying the views and taking pictures. Exactly as we did. It was time to run away from them. Not to return back but to get to more secluded part with better glacier views. We headed to Mirador Maestri.

Laguna Torre

It adds another 2 kilometres to the hike, which is not much, but terrain gets more interesting in this last part. More steep and more tricky, full of stones. Also trail is not so obvious at some parts.

But we made it quite far, it felt like we were right above the glacier end. We found a quiet place, ate our snacks and just sit there and enjoyed the views. To make it even better, soft white clouds formed above the mountains to give that extra bit of beauty.

Return or not?

We packed our stuff, picked up all the trash, and got ready for our journey back. Views were little less impressive because mountains were behind us. Still it was a nice walk.

We were half way back when we got to a junction, which lead to Lagunas Madre e Hija. It was still quite early, only around 4PM, still warm and sunny and we have decided to make a little detour around these two lakes. Roughly 5km to get there, mostly on level terrain so why not.

It was a nice walk, through forest again, this time with much taller trees. We’ve encountered interesting life form along the way. Caterpillars in huge quantities. They were black, hairy, not too big and they were everywhere. At open terrain it was fine, but there were parts where path was narrow and we had to push through bushes. At these moments these little buggers managed to leave juicy branches, they were feasting on, and hop on to our clothes. I was not big fan of that, because it was not easy to shake them off and neither me nor Tana wanted to touch them. At least they were eating leaves and not flash.


Madre e Hija

We made it through woods to the shores of the lakes. Laguna Hija was first one with nice pebbles beach. There was a couple taking romantic pictures in the water, their shoes off. We wanted to take shoes off too and freshen our tired feet but it felt wrong to mess up their good time.

Laguna Hija

Instead we took few quick pictures and only washed our hands. Surprisingly, some strange animals woken up in the water and started swimming to us, leaving safety of the stones they were hiding under. I still don’t know what it was but it looked like small version of leeches. We finished our washing and pushed on. It was getting late and we had to push some more caterpillar infested bushes.

It was around 6PM when we finally arrived to the end of Laguna Madre, from there we joined trail that led us to Laguna de los Tres few days ago. We got back to town quite late. And another adventure started that evening.

Moving to cheaper hostel, what could go wrong?

So, we decided to move to cheaper hostel, moving from Arco Iris to hostel Ahonikenk. I am not 100% sure anymore but I think it was less than half price of what we were paying. There was a small expectation that by doing that, we’ll move to a place with less noisy cohabitants.

We met with the owner / manager, agreed on price and got one bunk bed assigned. Put our backpacks on side, took shower and got ready to sleep. So far so good. There was one guy already sleeping soundly, even though it was quite early. That person was actually crucial to what was to follow.

We fell asleep and would have slept through the night if it wasn’t for our early sleeper colleague who woke up and made some noise. It woke us up too and we discovered quite a high number of suspicious insect crawling on the wall. I smashed one of them and made new, very red, decoration on the wall. Our new insect friends were hungry bed bugs.

We encountered these hungry bastards before and knew that it would be almost impossible to get rid of them if they enter our luggage. On top of that, their bites are getting bigger and more serious more they bite you. We jumped out of bed, cursed, and packed our stuff. Our sleeping dress secured in plastic bags to eliminate the possibility of those bastards getting out into our backpacks.

Out in the wild

It was late in the evening and we were out in the street, not knowing if our backpacks were already crawling with some tiny life. We went through the village without a plan what to do. As luck wanted it, we met the Ahonikenk owner on the way. Told him that we won’t be sleeping in his place as there were bed bugs and want a refund (we already paid for two nights). He didn’t care at all and told us to come tomorrow for the money.

It was already difficult to find accomodation, season was busy and almost everything was full. Now try to do that in the evening. Instead of that we decided to find a secluded place hidden by the trees near Las Vueltas River. Thank God that Tana bought a tent during our time at Coyhaique in Chile.

We were tired and little shaken after that experience. We also expected that wild camping in the city limits might not be permitted and were hoping that noone will find us till morning. In the end all worked out and we managed to get a decent sleep.


StartEl Chaltén
DestinationLaguna Torre + Lagunas Hija e Madre
Length29 (return)
Altitude gain350m