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El Chaltén is in the region called Patagonia, in the province of Santa Cruz and it is the northern limit of the Los Glaciares National Park. This park protects, as from 1937, the largest ice field in the world, after the Antarctica; the most remarkable glaciers being the Perito Moreno, the Upsala and the Viedma. The region’s highest point is the imposing mount Fitz Roy, of almost 3400 mts high.

El Chaltén was founded in 1985. However, its youth does not prevent it from being full of history. It takes its name from the Tehuelches –native inhabitants of the region. “Chaltén” means “smoking mountain”, as they believed that the mount Fitz Roy was a volcano, since its peak was most of the time covered by clouds. It was Francisco Moreno who in 1877 named this mount “Fitz Roy” to honour the member of the Charles Darwin’s expedition, who navigated the region during 1834.

Fitz Roy’s peak was reached for the first time in 1952, by the French climbers Guido Magnone and Lionel Terray. Unfortunately, such success was shadowed by the tragic death of their companion Jacques Poincenot. In his memory, one of the most important sections of this mount was called “Poincenot Needle”. It is also in honour of that brave and young French adventurer that we named our house Poincenot Hotel.

Little by little, tourism became the main activity in El Chaltén, with its inhabitants having made hospitality an everyday job. The beautiful natural environment is breath taking and it invites to tour all over it. That is the reason why El Chaltén has been declared “The Argentine Capital of Trekking”. This activity can be carried out at different levels: from self-guided paths to walks involving higher risk and duration, which we recommend to do with a tour guide.
There is also the fascinating alternative of climbing the majestic peaks, for experienced climbers but also for trained beginners daring to take their first steps before venturing for something more challenging.

Activity offers include rafting, fishing, guided tours, horseback riding, photography, and bird and fauna sight-seeing, at these unequalled Patagonian forests.  For instance, many bird watching fans come to El Chaltén due to its huge variety of precious species; among them the Woodpeckers (Magellan, Giant or Black varieties) with their males featuring their red patches at heads and bellies; the choique –similar to the American Rhea- of a height of more than one meter with wings that do not let them fly but help them to escape; the Andean condor, which extended wings reach up to 3 meters; and the cachaña, the most southern American parrot. Beyond birds, there are many remarkable animals like pumas, south Andean deer (=huemul), skunks, guanacos and wild cats.

We should also mention at least some of the many tree species of the forests that collaborate with their colors and shapes to create this unique landscape: from the small trees called “Ñire” to higher species like the “Lenga”. There are also countless plants and bushes with beautiful flowers, like the Calafate, with picturesque yellow flowers or the light purple Arvejilla.

Hotel Poincenot
Av. San Martin 668
El Chaltén
Tel: 02962.493252
Boton Boom!