El Chaltén has several hostels, three of them HI affiliates. Cóndor de los Andes (Av. Río de las Vueltas and Halvorsen, tel. 02962/493101, www.condordelosandes.com, US$8 pp) has five six-bed dorms, each with its own bath, kitchen facilities, and spacious common areas with exceptional views.
Having more than doubled its capacity by adding a 2nd floor, the 90-bed Albergue Rancho Grande (San Martín 635, tel./fax 02962/493005, rancho [at] cotecal [dot] com [dot] ar, US$8 pp) has drawn some criticism for failing to insulate the between-floors gap for sound. It does offer B&B packages with transportation from El Calafate; for reservations, contact Chaltén Travel (Av. Libertador 1174, El Calafate, tel. 02902/492212, www.chaltentravel.com).
Open all year except June, Albergue Patagonia (San Martín 493, tel. 02962/493019, patagoniahostel [at] yahoo [dot] com [dot] ar, US$8–9 pp, US$30–50 s or d) has utilitarian dorms—4–6 beds per room—but also shared bath doubles, and it’s added a separate wing of comfortable rooms with private baths; the latter include continental breakfast. On the hostel side, it also provides cooking facilities, laundry service, meals, a book exchange, and bike rentals, and organizes excursions. Its main drawback is that the hostel toilet and shower facilities, while good enough, are too few. English and Dutch are spoken.
Several non-HI hostels are comparably priced or even slightly cheaper, including Ahonikenk Chaltén (Güemes s/n, tel. 02962/493070, ahonikenkchalten23 [at] yahoo [dot] com [dot] ar, US$8 pp) and Albergue Lago del Desierto (Lago del Desierto 135, tel. 02962/493010, US$8 pp). More are opening all the time.
© Wayne Bernhardson from Moon Chile, 2nd edition