HI - El Chaltén - Rancho Grande Hostel




The Hostelz.com Review

HI - El Chaltén - Rancho Grande Hostel is located in the small yet quiet town of El Chalten. On the drive from El Calafate, the sharp peaks of the Fitz Roy mountain tease you from a distance and can be seen as you stroll the streets around town. Traveling to El Chalten is a hiker's dream, and the town serves as a great base for exploring the nature around.

The Location

Rancho Grande Hostel is situated on the opposite side of town from the bus terminal, and is approximately a 15 minute walk. Though discouraging as it may be to have to trek so far at first, it pays off as the entrance to the Parque Nacional Los Glaciars towards Fitz Roy is less than a five minute walk. Rancho Grande is found on the main street of town (San Martin), and is a short walk to the restaurants and shops.

Rooms and Bathrooms

The dormitories are the standardized bunk beds encountered as a backpacker. The mattress, sheets, blankets, and pillows are very thin, however, the rooms are toasty from the central heating. There are large lockers assigned per bed, enough to fit your entire backpack. The room has its own key for added security. The greatest feature of the room are the individual bed lamps. Men and women bathrooms are found separately, equipped with individual stalls and showers, on both the main and second level of the hostel. The bathrooms are clean, but poorly constructed. The bathroom doors hit the toilet before they can be fully opened. The showers have hot water and a long bench for placing a towel or clothes.

Common Spaces

Rancho Grande Hostel doubles as a twenty-four-hour restaurant. Upon entering the hostel, you also enter into the restaurant. Reception is to the left, while lots of tables crowd the right to compensate for the dinner rush. There is no problem to sit down without ordering, however, on the second level there are additional tables and couches available. For those making their own meals, this is the more popular seating choice. Also found in this area is a computer available for use.

There are two kitchens open for use on each level, although, despite appearing to be the cleanest, no one uses the kitchen found on the main level due to a vile odor that seems to emanate from the walls. Both kitchens are in terrible condition, and have barely any cutlery, dishes, utensils, pots, or pans. The only way to get your hands on any are to ask the restaurant staff for basic dishware. There is a stove and a fridge for storage, but the latter appears like it has not been cleaned or emptied in weeks.


Overall, Rancho Grande Hostel gives the impression of a quaint cabin with character, but its guise soon fades as all the things it lacks become clear within your first hour. Considering it is part of Hostelling International, you would expect the standard to live up to its counterparts across the globe, but this is not the case. There are two Wi-Fi networks available to connect to, but virtually impossible to use due to the slow connection -- this being an issue throughout town and not specific to Rancho Grande. All in all, this hostel is in need of a upgrade to improve customer and lodge experience.
by marylls
Hostelz.com Staff Reviewer
Photos taken by the Hostelz.com reviewer — Genuine photos you can trust.


(Location is approximate. You may need to pan/move to find "HI - El Chaltén - Rancho Grande Hostel" at Av. San Martín 724.)


Av. San Martín 724, El Chaltén (El Chalten), Santa Cruz, Argentina
-49.324480, -72.893010 (accuracy not guaranteed)
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How is HI - El Chaltén - Rancho Grande Hostel rated on other websites?

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Hostelz.com Guest Reviews

HI - El Chaltén - Rancho Grande Hostel is one of the busiest hostels in El Chalten -- this is not too surprising since it is also the home of Chalten Travel, who drop off busload after busload of tourists here. The Location The hostel is also the offices for Chalten Travel, so it can be extremely useful for catching the bus to El Calafate or toward the north. It's also only ten minutes' walk to the start of the National Park so it is perfect for when you want to do a short adventure. It's also possible to see Fitz Roy from near the hostel, but then this is the same for most of the places in this small village. Rooms and Bathrooms There are a variety of dorms and private rooms, with dorms restricted to four beds. They are not huge rooms but are big enough with large, comfy beds. They all have windows and feel very spacious considering their size. Possibly this is because the hostel was built for its purpose as opposed to some hostels where beds are made to fit into a variety of different-shaped rooms. Common Spaces The hostel has a large restaurant, normally packed with people waiting for a bus or filing their stomachs before heading out on a trek. Upstairs has a few more tables and plenty of Internet-ready PCs although the internet is quite expensive. They also project a movie onto the wall every evening. Summary It's custom-made for travelers, with plenty of space and smart, clean rooms. People are always coming and going so it can be hard to meet others, but most folks are only there to get a decent night's sleep before heading off with their tent and sleeping bag -- so if you're one of them also this shouldn't be a problem.
Russell Slater
  I am from Buenos Aires, Argentina. I currently live in New York but the best trip of my life was traveling alone to the South of Argentina and staying at Rancho Grande! Chalten is incredible. The rancho is exactly what trekkers need. Good crowd, excellent staff and Javier, a wonderful host. They all made my trip the best experience of my life. What are you waiting for? Keep on the good job, gang. Looking forward to seeing you soon. Saludos. Karina
From the main road, you can't miss the Rancho Grande Hostel, as it is a mammoth hostel painted bright yellow. It's also the main bus stop and office for the El Chalten Travel agency -- hence the reason the place can accommodate so many people. This is definitely a party hostel, and it is loud, packed, smoky and crowded. The size though, allows it to have an in-house bar, cafe, and restaurant which offer decent meals if you don't feel like cooking in the mediocre kitchen. The rooms are kept very clean and someone makes your bed everyday when you are out having fun. It's warm and very comfortable in the rooms. The doors, however, don't lock and we didn't see any lockers provided anywhere so security could be an issue. The bathroom is the worst thing about the hostel. The toilets are a bit small, so you have to really cram in there. Most disappointing though is the showers were ice cold! This seemed to be a normal thing, and this did not impress us, as after a 12-hour day hiking, a hot shower is one of the things you will look forward to. The staff did not seem too bothered by this. Overall, this hostel is a cold, informal place that operates much like a big motel. If a bed is all you want, or a party atmosphere, then you will get it here, but don't expect the comforts of home.
Elaine Kan

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