As the distances from El Calafate shrinks, thanks to highway pavement, El Chaltén is taking a swing upscale. Formerly a destination for backpackers and hostelgoers, it now affords interesting new lodging options. A new Explora hotel, from the legendary Chilean innovators, is set to open in 2010, just north of town, and a handful of other upscale lodges are also in the works.
Deep in the Heart of Patagonia: Hostería Helsingfors
Remote, warm, and widely admired, Hostería Helsingfors, open from October to March, is located on the shore of Lago Viedma about 150km (93 miles) from El Calafate. On a clear day, it has amazing views of FitzRoy. With a lovely main lodge and endless miles of untouched wilderness at its doorstep, Helsingfors offers lodging, horseback riding, over-flights, bird-watching, boat trips, and fine dining. For more information, contact their offices in Buenos Aires at Av. Córdoba 827, 11th floor (tel./fax 011/4315-1222; www.helsingfors.com.ar).
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.