Hiking Argentinian Patagonia, Aguas Arriba Trekking lodge, El Chalten


the best Trekking lodge experience in patagonia

Aguas Arriba Lodge Lago Del Desierto Argentine Patagonia


One of the highlights of our Patagonia trip was undoubtedly our stay at Aguas Arriba Lodge, which is a remote trekking lodge based near El Chalten in Argentine Patagonia. The lodge is an all inclusive experience that includes personal trekking guides, access to private trails, yoga classes, boat trips, waterfall and glacier excursions, fly fishing, and the most incredible five star food and amenities. From the moment you arrive, you are treated like family, and everyone there accommodates your needs and desires to the fullest. The owners are the most lovely people ever and their commitment to sustainability is beyond inspiring. This lodge can only be accessed by a boat across lago desierto or a 3 hour hike in. Because of this it is the perfect place to escape the crowds of El Chalten, and really immerse yourself in the beauty of the Patagonian mountains. This lodge is absolutely stunning and I am so excited to share our experience!

Lago Del Desierto Argentina Patagonia


Location

Aguas Arriba lodge is located on Lago del Desierto, a beautiful 13km long alpine lake, that is right outside of El Chaltén in Argentina. This private property is located in the neighbourhood of a Provincial Reserve, right outside of Glaciers National Park. The closest airport is in El Calafete, which is 3.5 hours away by car. Specific driving directions and map are at the end of this blog!

From booking, everything is extremely organized, which made our international arrival seamless. The pick up point at the lodge is at the base of Lago del Desierto, and it is all on googlemaps. We had a car so we drove to the pick up point, but there are public shuttles for $30usd and the lodge does offer private transport as well.  At the pick up point, you have the option to either take a 15 minute boat ride or take a 3 hour hike to the lodge. We chose the boat ride as we arrived late, but if you hike they do take your belongings on the boat, so you can hike luggage free! How cool is that!

Mt Fitzroy View, lago Del Desierto el Chalten Patagonia

Dock at the Lodge on Lago del Desierto with Fitz Roy in the background

Mt Fitzroy View, lago Del Desierto el Chalten Patagonia


The Lodge

Aguas Arriba is a gorgeous lodge that was built by the owners with love. The balcony sits right over Lago del Desierto, and the lodge and rooms have sweeping views of the famous Mt Fitz Roy and Vespignani glacier. The lodge has a cozy feel with a huge wood burning fire place, natural wooden beams, and floor to ceiling windows. There are only 5 guest rooms in the lodge, so it is a very comfortable and inviting environment. There is an impressive array of books, instruments, games, and loungers, so that when you would like to stay inside you are fully entertained. The lodge is open during the hiking season from  November 1st to March 31st

 Here is the link to Book!

El Chalten Accomadation Aguas Arriba Luxury Lodge

ON ARRIVAl


When we arrived at the lodge we were amazed by its beauty and we were instantly invited on a hike by our personalized guide. The property was gorgeous and we could not believe the amazing location. After the short hike, we sat down with our guide to plan out our days over a  “map talk.” We planned our hikes and activities over our 3 day stay and got so excited!!! It is absoultely crazy the scale of the land that the lodge sits on and it is all just for you.

Map talk with one of the trekking guides at the lodge


Trekking at Aguas Arriba

Trekking is encouraged during your stay, and there are beautiful hike options for all fitness levels. The lodge is in a great spot in the middle of the lake, and behind it there are private trails with epic views of Fitz Roy. Additionally, boat across the lake and trek privately to this amazing glacier called Vespignani. There is also a whole series of trails right from the lodge that go into the forest and along the coastline. The trails are quite special because they are all made by the owners of the lodge, and they have paid a lot of attention to limiting their environmental impact. They have created whimsical fairy bridges over creeks and cute little benches that are strategically placed overlooking the most beautiful viewpoints. You can hikes to several different waterfalls and if you hike north for about 3 hours you can even walk all the way to the Chilean border at the end of the lake!

We love hiking, so we did as many of the options as we could!! Every hike was led by our personal trekking guide and we were so thankful to have her show us around. She even brought hot tea and snacks, which was so special. We usually do self guided hikes, so it was amazing to not have to think about directions and learn about the flora and fauna in the area. We went during berry season, so I was personally so happy to know which berries were edible! Here are some of the hikes we did!

Mt Fitz Roy Viewpoint Hike

This hike was one of our favourite at the lodge!! This hike was right up the mountain behind the lodge and went up to about 400meters in elevation. You can go straight up and down, or choose to do a 10km loop hike to various viewpoint. This trail is privately owned by Aguas Arriba, so it was pretty crazy that we had these amazing views of Fitz Roy and the lake with nobody else around. S I personally thought this spot would be a perfect spot for an engagement or a sunset picnic with wine!

Mt Fitzroy View, lago Del Desierto el Chalten Patagonia
Mt Fitzroy View, lago Del Desierto el Chalten Argentine Patagonia

Vespignani Glacier Hike

Vespignani glacier is privately owned, and the owner’s at Aguas have the rightst to privately trek to the glacier. There is also one company in El Chalten who has access to this glacier, so the lodge makes sure to go at a time when no one else is around. The hike is only accesed by boat, so you have to make the 10 minute cruise across the lake to start the hike. Once there, you can choose various hiking options with your guide based on your fitness level to view the glacier. We chose the red line, which was the most difficult and it brought us right up close to the glacier. It was truly spectacular!

Vespignani Glacier Argentine Patagonia

Huemul Glacier

Another great option is to do the short 3km to Huemel Glacier. This glacier is beautiful and sits atop a gorgeous turquoise alpine lake. Group tours and crowds get to the glacier around 10am, so the lodge makes sure to bring you there right in the morning so that you can enjoy the glacier in peace. If you are brave it is a great spot for a cold dip!

huemul Glacier Argentine Patagonia

Waterfall and Forest Hikes

As mentioned, you can also choose to do little hikes around the lodge to various waterfalls and forest spots, or to the chilean border. On one of our rainy days we even did a little boat cruise to some waterfalls and to this cool pioneer cabin.

Laguna de Los Tres and Other

Additionally to the options I listed above, you can leave the lodge and do the hikes in the El Chalten area on self guided hikes. The lodge will provide free boat transfer, information and lunch boxes. For instance, a couple we met there really wanted to do the Mirador de los Tres hike when they were there, so they left in the morning and were able to get back before dinner. We had 3 nights in El Chalten after, so we were happy to do all of the lodges guided hikes!

Laguna De Los Tres el Chalten Argentinian Patagonia

Laguna de los Tres

Yoga

After a full day of hiking, we were so happy that yoga was included in our stay. It was held in a beautiful eco-dome in the middle of the forest. The dome was incredibly cute and it was always heated up prior with a wood fire stove and comfy blankets to wrap yourself in after practice. Yoga is offered at the beginning or end of the day and they are super flexible with times. Our yoga instructor was excellent, and she even was well versed in sound therapy, something I have never experienced! It literally gave me shocks through my body, highly recommend.

El Chalten Eco Dome yoga

Remote yoga eco-dome nestled in the forest

El Chalten Eco Dome yoga

yoga eco-dome

Food

The food at the lodge was some of the best we have had in Patagonia, and I was pleasantly surprised about all of the options and how healthy it was. The wine selection was equally amazing, and there was desert with both lunch and dinner! All of the food was fresh and local, and everything was made to order, even the bread! My favourite dishes were the lake trout and the filet mignon, steak in Argentina does not disappoint! This is not a country to skip the meat options in, they really do beef well. One day the staff even set up a cute little lunch date for us on the balcony, we felt so special!

Mt Fitzroy View, lago Del Desierto el Chalten Patagonia

Romantic lunch at Aguas Arriba in Patagonia

Commitment to Sustainability

Aguas Arriba Lodge is committed to minimizing its environmental impact while providing guests with an unforgettable experience. Located away from cities, surrounded by forests, lakes, rivers, mountains, and glaciers, the lodge focuses on environmental sustainability. The lodge’s 200 acre property is dedicated to the conservation and protection of natural resources, with records kept of local wildlife, including the endangered Huemules. During construction, efforts were made to minimize visual impact and respect the natural topography, with only 40 trees removed and construction located behind natural wind barriers.

In line with its commitment to sustainability, the lodge refrains from introducing exotic species and does not extract wood, instead utilizing only wood from sections of the forest that were burned naturally. Trails are carefully designed to avoid forest damage, and boats are equipped with four-stroke engines to minimize lake pollution. Wastewater is treated on-site, and energy consumption is optimized. Throughout our stay, we were encouraged to conserve water and energy by re-utilizing towels and using organic amenities.

Lighting within the lodge is energy-efficient, waste is carefully separated and recycled, and organic waste is composted on-site. Notably, the lodge does not have amenities like jacuzzis, laundry facilities, and dishwashers to minimize water and energy usage, demonstrating a steadfast commitment to environmental stewardship in the heart of Patagonia.

Mt Fitzroy View, lago Del Desierto el Chalten Patagonia
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Rates Include

  • Acommodation with breakfast, lunch, and dinner and non alcoholic beverages.
  • Lunch box on check out to enjoy during transfer
  • Baked goods, coffee & tea all day.
  • Lunch boxes, picnics during lunch on full day activities.
  • Boat navigation to and from the lodge
  • Daily personalized trekking activities
  • Yoga lessons, sound therapy, and meditation in the yoga dome
  • Fly fishing for experienced fishermen to different spots on Lago del Desierto, with our boat and our equipment.
  • Entrance fees to the Huemul & Vespignani Glacier

How to get there

  • From El Calafate to El Chaltén: 214Km. 4 Hours (2:30 hours national paved road and 1:30 hours local gravel road)
  • From El Chalten to lake: 37 km. 1:30 hours local gravel road
  • From Calafate Airport to El Chaltén: 200km. 3.30 hours (2 hours national paved road and 1:30 hours local gravel road)

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