Our next stop was El Chaltén, located 220km north of the Perito Moreno glacier.
El Chaltén was only founded in 1985, making it Argentina’s youngest town. The Argentine government were in the middle of border dispute with Chile at the time, and decided the best way to strengthen their claim over the region was to inhabit the sparsely populated valley in question. They hastily housed a couple of hundred people there and started calling it El Chaltén. Job done; nine years later, the dispute with Chile was solved in favor of Argentina by an international jury.
Whilst there, we hiked to Mt. Fitzroy and to Laguna Torres, both of which had breathtakingly beautiful views of mountain peaks, glaciers, waterfalls and lakes. We saw numerous birds of prey, including Andean Condors. Whilst these feathery fiends would not feature in a top 10 of most beautiful birds they do have a wing span of 3.2m. You certainly wouldn’t be disappointed with your portion if you got an Andean Condor hot wing on your next visit to KFC. Although we were lucky to see condors, they were trumped by a sighting of a Torrent Duck on the way to Laguna Torres – A very rare sighting, we were reliably informed by our trek buddy Dustin, who knew an unhealthy amount about birds.
And of course after all this hiking, we had to reward ourselves in the most Argentinian way possible – Chocolate and dulce de leche and some more chocolate.