Villa O’Higgins to El Chalten

Villa O’Higgins El Chalten, the border crossing from Chile to Argentina off the crushed observe. For all journey seekers and nature lovers crossing from Chile to Argentina (or the opposite means) at O’Higgins is a must-do exercise. The surroundings is unreal, the panorama is gorgeous with turquoise blue and emerald inexperienced colours. The stroll is brief and difficult however on the similar time, it’s rewarding, the O’Higgins – El Chalten route was one in all our favourite treks in Patagonia.

O'Higgins lake, Candelario Mancilla
Candelario Mancilla, the primary cease on the best way from Villa O’Higgins to El Chalten

Villa O’Higgins is the top of the Carretera Austral, the final level you may get by highway on the Chilean facet that makes every thing (principally meals) right here costlier however nonetheless inexpensive. The stroll was fairly tough as a result of heavy baggage we have been carrying nevertheless it was completely well worth the effort. The stroll to El Chalten was good preparation for trekking the O Circuit in Torres del Paine. The primary recommendation right here is to take your time, don’t rush, and benefit from the panorama.

The price of the O’Higgins to El Chalten crossing 

  • Transport. Bus Villa O’Higgins to Bahamondez pier –  CLP 2500/US$3;  boat Bahamondez  – Candelario Mancilla – CLP 60 000/US$65; ferry Punta Norte de Laguna del Desierto to Punta Sur (non-obligatory, you possibly can stroll as a substitute) – ARS 17 500/US$50; bus Punta Sur de Laguna del Desierto to El Chalten – ARS 8500/US$25. 
  • Meals. CLP 14 000/US$15 pp.
  • Tenting. Candelario Mancilla – CLP 4500/US$5 pp., on the Argentinian immigration workplace – free.

Whole: between US$115 and US$165.

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Villa O'Higgins the starting point of the walk
Villa O’Higgins the top of the Carretera Austral and the start of the stroll to El Chalten

get to Villa O’Higgins?

There are common buses from Cochrane to Villa O’Higgins however they don’t go every single day, 2 or 3 instances per week. Value about CLP 27 000/US$30 from Cochrane to Villa O’Higgins. Attending to Cochrane is less complicated there are every day buses from Coyhaique and Puerto Montt that go on the Carretera Austral and cease at a number of locations. You may catch it from any city alongside the best way.

As an possibility, you possibly can lease a automotive however you gained’t be capable of go together with it on the ferry and cross to Argentina. Word! Between Cochrane and Villa O’Higgins, there’s a ferry cross from Caleta Yungay to Rio Bravo – visitors relies on the ferry schedule. In summer time there are 3 ferries per day; 10 am, 13 pm, and 6 pm. The ferry cross is free for everyone. 

The most affordable means of attending to Villa O’Higgins is to hitchhike. Hitchhiking works completely in all places in Chile; you meet cool native folks, get to know higher the nation, and are extra versatile no want to fret about lacking a bus or not getting a ticket.

When you like climbing you would possibly take pleasure in visiting different locations in Patagonia that provide nice trails corresponding to Cerro Castillo, Queulat Nationwide Park, or Pumalin Park.

El Mosco campsite and hostel in Villa O'Higgins
El Mosco campsite in Villa O’Higgins, Chile

Villa O’Higgins

Lodging in Villa O’Higgins

Tenting/hostel/guesthouse El Mosco, in our opinion the very best campsite in Patagonia! It has scorching water showers, electrical energy, many shops in widespread areas, wi-fi, cozy and heat inside space. Our favourite was a kitchen with nice amenities for cooking: range, oven, pots, pans, plates, cups, and so forth. Value CLP 9 000/US$10 per particular person – tenting, they’ve dorm beds as effectively CLP 14 000/US$15 pp. Non-public rooms from CLP 45 000/US$50 for a double room.

There are a number of different locations to remain in Villa O’Higgins in case you need extra privateness and tranquility.

ATMs and bank cards in Villa O’Higgins

In Villa O’Higgins, there are not any ATMs, the final ATM on the best way is in Cochran, you could have sufficient money to pay for lodging and the boat, and all outlets settle for playing cards – Visas (undecided about Grasp playing cards). Quite attempt to trade Chilean pesos for Argentinians at your resort in O’Higgins or with different vacationers that do the stroll the opposite means round and are available from Argentina. Purchase gasoline in your range in Chile, in El Chalten it prices rather more. 

Villa O’Higgins to El Chalten how you can get?

The route description

  1. Bus Villa O’Higgins – Bahamondez port, 7km/4,3 mi;
  2. Ferry Villa O’Higgins – Candelario Mancilla (Chilean immigration), 2h30min.;
  3. Stroll Candelario Mancilla – Punta Norte de Laguna del Desierto (Chile to Argentina), 22 km/13,6 mi;
  4. Stroll/ferry Punta Norte – Punta Sur de Laguna del Desierto, 12 km/7,4 mi;
  5. Bus/hitchhike Punta Sur de Laguna del Desierto – El Chalten, 40 km/24,8 mi.
Map of the route from Villa O'Higgins to El Chalten
Map of the route from Villa O’Higgins to El Chalten. 1 – Villa O’Higgins – Bahamondez port, 7km, bus/biking; 2 – Bahamondez port – Candelario Mancilla, boat; 3 – Candelario Mancilla – Laguna del Desierto (Punta Norte), 22km, strolling/biking; 4 – Laguna del Desierto (Punta Norte) – Laguna del Desierto (Punta Sur), 12km, strolling/boat; 5 – Laguna del Desierto (Punta Sur) – El Chalten, 40km, biking/bus/hitchhiking.

Step 1. Bus Villa O’Hggins to Bahamondez (ferry pier), 15 min.

The pier is 7 km from the city with a purpose to catch a ferry it’s higher to take a bus in any other case you’ll have to start out strolling very early to get there on time. Most cyclists go on their very own and go away the city at about 1h30min. earlier than the ferry departure. Bus value – CLP 2500/US$3 pp.

Step 2. Ferry Villa O’Higgins to Candelario Mancilla, 2h30min.

  1. Ruedas de la Patagonia CLP 60 000/US$65 (they do switch from O’Higgins to the pier for CLP 2500/US$3), leaves Monday and Thursday at 8.30 am.

*Word! There isn’t any additional cost for bicycles on the ferries. Bikes will not be allowed.

Boats run from the first of November to the thirtieth of April. All the time verify departure instances and costs with the corporate as they may change.

Remember that as a result of climate circumstances, you possibly can await a ship for 2-4 days if you happen to’re quick on time assume twice earlier than selecting this selection. If in case you have time El Mosco shouldn’t be a foul place for ready; there are a few mountains whereas ready you are able to do day hikes.

Alya on the boat from Villa O'Higgins to Candelario Mancilla
Alya on the ferry from Villa O’Higgins to Candelario Mancilla

Candelario Mancilla

Chilean Carabineros (immigration) is 1 km away from the pier, the workplace is open from early morning until 9 pm. Right here you get your Chile exit stamp, The officers are very pleasant when you’ve got any questions in regards to the stroll ask them they know the world very effectively. If in case you have time and wish to do an off-the-beaten-track hike you possibly can go to one of many glaciers on the Chilean facet – O’Higgins or El Chico. If in case you have additional baggage you possibly can go away it on the Carabineros workplace for no additional cost. 

Tenting at Candelario Mancilla about 1 km uphill from the pier (you’ll see it on the highest). Value CLP 4500/US$5 pp. In addition to the campsite, there’s a small restaurant the place you should purchase a cooked meal in addition to house bread CLP 300/US$0,5 and jam CLP 1000/US$1,5. When you arrive early morning we’d recommend beginning to stroll in the direction of El Chalten. When you arrive within the afternoon or night it’s higher to remain at Candelario and proceed the following morning. 

O'Higgins Lake, O'Higgins - El Chalten walk
View of the O’Higgins Lake from Candelario Mancilla, Chile

Step 3. Stroll Candelario Mancilla – Punta Norte de Laguna del Desierto, 22 km/13,6 mi

From Candelario Mancilla to Argentinian immigration (Punta Norte de Laguna del Desierto) is 22 km

  • 17 km to the border, grime highway on the Chilean facet, principally flat, some ups, to start with, may be cycled.  
  • 5 km from the border to the lake and the Argentinian immigration workplace. This path is a small path within the forest, with some ups and downs, not possible to cycle – you push your bicycle by the forest.

In whole, it takes between 5-6 hours to stroll 22 km, relying on how a lot baggage you could have, climate circumstances, and naturally your health degree.  On the immigration workplace, you get an Argentinian entrance stamp. There’s a free tenting space subsequent to the workplace the place you possibly can cease for the night time.

Word! When you don’t wish to stroll with all of your baggage or simply realized you’re too drained to stroll in any respect you possibly can organize transportation to the border with carabineros. Value between CLP 10 000-15 000/US$10-15. They’ll drop you on the border however from there you’ll must stroll the final 5 km by yourself.

A welcoming board on the Chile and Argentina border
An indication on the border between Argentina and Chile on the O’Higgins to El Chalten crossing

Step 4. Stroll/ferry Punta Norte – Punta Sur de Laguna del Desierto, 12 km/7,5 mi

From Argentinian immigration, you possibly can stroll alongside the lake for 12 km or take a ferry to Punta Sur de Lago del Desierto (South Level). The ferry takes about 1 hour, value is ARS 17 500/US$50 pp. All of the cyclists take the ferry as a result of the stroll alongside the lake is similar to the final 5 km to the Argentinian border management, and it’s not possible to cycle. 

We determined to stroll, in any case, it was a stupendous path with some superb viewpoints overlooking the glacier, lake, and mountains. The trail is obvious and straightforward to observe nevertheless it takes time – about 5-6 hours attributable to fixed up and downhill, typically fairly steep.  

The whole stroll may be simply performed in 2 days. On the primary day – ferry O’Higgins to Candelario, then stroll from Candelario Mancilla to Punta Norte de Laguna del Desierto and camp at Argentinian immigration. On the second day – stroll Punta Norte to Punta Sur de Laguna from there take a bus to El Chalten.

Laguna del Desierto, Argentina, the final part of the walk
Laguna del Desierto, the final a part of the stroll from O’Higgins to El Chalten

Step 5. Bus/hitchhike Punta Sur de Laguna del Desierto – El Chalten, 40 km/24 mi

As soon as you might be at Punta Sur de Laguna del Desierto (South Level) you could have two choices to get to El Chalten which is 40 km away; take a bus to El Chalten for ARS 8500/US$25 or hitchhike. The bus journey takes about 1 hour.  You may proceed your Patagonia journey by trekking in El Chalten, Laguna de los Tres is a not-to-miss hike. After El Chalten, you possibly can go to Perito Moreno Glacier in El Calafate. You may get from El Chalten to Torres del Paine and do one of many climbing routes there.

El Chalten

El Chalten is a much bigger city with higher infrastructure in comparison with Villa O’Higgins. There are extra lodging choices right here you’ll find. There are some good campsites in El Chalten which are nice for assembly folks.

  • Resorts
  • Hostels
  • Campsites
  • Eating places
  • Bars
  • Retailers
  • Pharmacies
  • Gear rental locations
  • ATMs
  • Tour businesses

Lodging in El Chalten

There are various lodging choices in El Chalten from funds tenting and dormitories to luxurious lodges.

Funds choicesHostel Rancho Grande – one of many top-rated hostels within the city – a giant home positioned simply outdoors El Chalten. There are dorm beds and personal and household rooms.

Helpful objects to pack for climbing in Patagonia

For extra particulars on gear and clothes for Patagonia for women and men test our Patagonia packing listing publish.

Beneficial books and guidebooks

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