Why Elope in Patagonia?
Eloping in Patagonia is definitely for the adventurer type! Ever since I watched the documentary, 180° South, in college, visiting Patagonia became number one on my top list of places to visit in the world. If you haven’t seen this documentary, do yourself a favor and go watch it! When Ryan and I traveled across South America for ten months back in 2017, we knew that exploring the Patagonia region was an absolute must. We explored this area for almost a month, and after visiting, we cannot recommend this enough for an incredible and isolated elopement location.
Patagonia is located at the southernmost part of both Argentina and Chile and is divided by the Andes Mountains. It is known for its vast and drastic landscapes that include lakes, fjords, glaciers, ice fields, mountain peaks, desert, and steppes! The area spans over 1,000,000 square kilometers squared covering almost half of each country (Argentina and Chile). While the area covers this much land, the population is less than 2,000,000 people! Think about all of that open land for incredible elopement photos! This is what drew me to Patagonia in the first place — the incredible landscapes that are relatively untouched by humans living there. Our favorite towns that we visited while we were down in Patagonia was El Chalten in Argentina. We think El Chalten some of the beautiful elopement locations, and we’re here to guide you in making your elopement happen!
El Chalten: The Ultimate Adventure Elopement Town
El Chalten is a village in Argentina located in the Southern Andes within Los Glaciares National Park. It could be our favorite town we visited during our entire time in South America. There’s something about being surrounded by the incredible mountains all around you including the peaks of Cerro Torre and the Fitz Roy that makes this little village feel like you’ve found the ultimate hidden gem. El Chalten is known as being the “National Capital of Trekking in Argentina,” and this is one of the means reasons why we think it’s the ideal place for an adventurous couple who wants to elope! What I love most about this little town is that you can do SO MANY day hikes while having the comfort of cozying up in your Airbnb or hotel at night. If you want to include a bit more adventure during your time there, you can hike your camping gear and do a multi-day trek to see the Fitz Roy. We did this during our time there in 2017 and highly recommend it to get the full experience of El Chalten!
How to Get to El Chalten for Your Elopement
When we were backpacking through South America, we definitely took the longest way possible to get to El Calafate. However, if you have it within your budget, we’d definitely recommend flying from one of the major hubs in Argentina (most likely Buenos Aires) to El Calafate. You can stop in El Calafate to check out the incredible Perito Morena Glacier there for a day or two if you’d like.
Stopping In El Calafate Before Your Elopement
When we visited, we stayed in this two-story apartment that we shared with another couple we were traveling with. It was perfect for our short visit and even included a kitchen! Ok, now let’s talk about the Perito Morena Glacier! The glacier is an ice formation that’s just under 100 square miles and is one of the main tourist attractions in all of Patagonia. Glaciers National Park is similar to a US National Park with wooden plank walking paths, railings, and tourists snapping selfies, but it didn’t at all take away from the absolute beauty surrounding us.
The glacier was incredibly unique and just so beautiful! You can see the glacier by land or by boat. We chose the land option instead of the boat tour because the views were absolutely incredible from above. Plus, we didn’t have the pressure of cramming around a ton of people trying to capture the perfect photo. We also were able to witness several massive ice blocks (the size of buildings) collapse into the lake below!
Side Note: We only felt it was necessary to stay in El Calafate for one day because we wanted to spend as much time as possible in El Chaltén. If you’re also crunched on time and only stay for a day, we would suggest booking the 6pm Chalten Travel bus so that you can spend all day at the glacier, as well as knocking out the three-hour bus ride.
Getting From El Calafate to El Chalten
There are a few different options for getting from El Calafate to El Chalten.
Take a bus
There are three different bus companies that run from El Calafate to El Chalten :Caltur, Chalten Travel, and TAQSA. All of the bus companies are pretty similar. The biggest differences will be the times that each bus run. Make sure to check the timetables before arriving, but most of the companies run at least twice daily through even the low seasons. The cost of a bus ticket is $30 per person.
Rent a car
Another option is renting a car so that you don’t have to wait on buses to get to El Chalten. The major companies that rent cars in this region are Hertz, Budget, and Avis. You can expect to pay less than $500 dollars for a week rental. Make sure to book this as soon as possible as the summer months are popular in this area.
Arrange a private driver
This is yet another option if you don’t want to wait at the bus station for the buses. You can hire a private transfer from El Calafate to El Chalten, which will only cost you around $40 per person. A few of those companies are El Chalten Transfers, Zona Austral, or Confin Viajes.
Places to Stay for Your Elopement Night
When we visited El Chalten, we stayed here for the majority of the time in El Chalten. It was a perfectly sized apartment that included a kitchen with tables and chairs and two beds upstairs. It was a “no frills” kind of place, but it met all of our needs and was close enough to the trails that we could just leave our apartment and start hiking. Here are some Airbnbs that we found within different price ranges for you to stay in.
Accommodations that are less than $100 per night
Accommodations that are less than $200 per night
Accommodations that are less than $300 per night
Accommodations that are more than $300
Places to Eat After Your Elopement
Some of our favorite places to eat were just the panaderias (bakeries) where we would load up on empanadas before hiking. They were cheap and filling and soooo good! We practically lived off of empanadas the entire time we were in El Chalten! Another great way to conserve your money is staying in an Airbnb with a kitchen so that you can buy your groceries and cook at your own place. If you don’t have a strict budget or want to splurge on a few nice meals, here are some notable restaurants in town.
Restaurants serving Argentine fare:
Panaderia Que Rica – Quick to-go empanadas!
Patagonicus — Yummy Pizza!
Wafleria – Delicious waffles and crepes!
Best Breweries/Pub Food
La Vineria — We’d definitely recommend this place for happy hour on a nice day out after you’ve come back from day hiking! It has an awesome selection of beer and a fun atmosphere
El Chalten Elopement Location Ideas
Elopement Hike Above El Chalten
We recommend hiking some easier trails outside of the city to get an awesome view of El Chaltén from above. These are such incredible hikes that will only take about one hour each (approximately two hours total). This is a relatively easy hike for experienced hikers. These hikes give you beautiful vantage points where you can overlook the town, mountains, and river below while also admiring the condors (well-known birds that are often seen in this region). Also, if you’re looking to capture the golden Fitz Roy peaks at sunrise, these are the lookouts that will make that happen! If you are having a mutli-day elopement, this would be a perfect hike to add to the elopement timeline!
Snowy Elopement Day Hike in the Mountains
This hike is an intense all-day hike reaching a viewpoint above the valley that gives you a panoramic view of El Chalten. It’s truly incredible and the entire hike is very diverse in landscapes. We would consider this hike as moderately difficult with over a 3,500 elevation gain. It takes about 7-8 hours to hike all the way there and back to town.
We first started out in green rolling hills beside a river until we eventually reached a dense forest. While following the trail winding through the forest, we were protected from the snowflakes fluttering around us. After about two hours into the hike, we reached an elevation above the treeline and followed a snowy path up the mountain. The first mirador that we came across was a view overlooking Torre Lago down below. The final leg of the hike (which we saw many people neglecting) is totally worth it! There’s a large, snowy peak that will take you an hour to conquer hiking straight up. Once you reach the top, the views are some of our favorites in El Chaltén!
Waterfall Elopement Hike
This is one of the easiest hikes we did during our time in El Chalten. You actually hike outside of town that follows a river to a gorgeous looking waterfall that is about 65 feet tall. The total hike will take you about three hours at most. Because this is one of the easier hikes, you will find some other tourists there, so that’s why we recommend going early on in the day or near sunset to avoid too many other people. This is a great hike if you want to take it easy one day but you still want to be active. We love this as an extra hike to get a totally different landscape in your photos on your elopement day.
Multi-Day Elopement Trek
A multi-day trek is perfect for an adventure elopement because it allows you to hike on different trails — giving you access to multiple different vantage points along the way. During our time there, we took a few days to complete this trek so that we could experience as much as possible. Plus, we timed our trek in hopes that we would have clear weather once we reached the Fitz Roy. Here were some of our highlights from our multi-day trekking experience.
Even if you’re not certain about doing a multi-day trek, we would still highly recommend visiting the many glacier lagoons along the way. They are just so outstanding and the color of the water is unlike anything we’ve ever seen. Not only is the color of the water beautiful, but the lagoon is surrounded by native forest. The best part about it?! You can reach this lake within two hours of starting your trek.
After camping for a night or two, it’s easiest to make the last bit of the trek to the incredible Fitz Roy. It honors to hike up from your campground, but it is well worth the effort! Once you see this glacier lake surrounded by the snow-capped granite peaks of the Fitz Roy, you’ll forget any difficulty you might’ve had hiking up. I promise!
Pro-tip: Pack light but bring some wine with you to the top. There’s nothing better than this view with a glass of Argentina Malbec to savor the sweet moment!
Best Months to Plan Your Elopement
We recommend planning your elopement during the late summer months in South America (anytime between the end of November through February). We visited during December, and we think it was absolutely IDEAL! Although you can never be 100% sure of the Patagonia weather, we had several days of beautiful and sunny weather. We definitely recommend staying at least two weeks here giving you plenty of days to choose from all the hikes you can do!
If you’re interested in eloping in Patagonia from the end of November to mid-December, let us know! We will be there! And guess what?! There will be NO TRAVEL FEES since we will already be there! If you’re even slightly thinking about eloping there, fill out the inquiry form below and we’d love to jump on the phone with you and answer any questions you have!