We got up early to fly from Buenos Aires to El Calafate in Patagonia. The Lan Airlines flight left from the Aeroparque and not the international airport so the taxi ride was a quick one.
After arriving at the El Calafate airport, we arranged for a shuttle bus to take us to the downtown where we purchased our bus tickets to El Chalten (from Chalten Travel). While waiting at the bus station we talked to another couple about their travels. They were English and were traveling for 5 months.
The ride to El Chalten circles a lake. The roads are a mix of paved and gravel. Halfway through the trip, the bus stops at an estancia that offers bathrooms and snacks. It’s also the first opportunity to experience just how windy it is in Patagonia. Just before arriving at the final destination, the bus stopped at the entrance to the national park. Rangers talk to everyone who enters the park and make an appeal to keep the park as it is. The bus arrives at the Rancho Grande Hostel, a lot of peoples’ destination. Our destination is an additional 10 miles outside of El Chalten at Hostería El Pilar. The day was cloudy and rainy and the mountains that make this a popular place were not visible at all.