I checked out the options which include: a) big bus from the main bus terminal at 1,200 pesos per person round trip (~$60 USD), b) sightseeing tour with guide (~$120), c) 20 person bus which picks up/returns at the apartment and the driver stops at scenic spots along the way for photos (~$60 USD). We choose option c.
We start our journey at 7:45am with five other passengers. Near the airport 28 km outside of the city the driver makes a left and takes us north on the famous Ruta 40 which we will take for 100km, after which we will make another left onto Ruta 23 for 95 km into El Chaltan.
The scenery is stunning. It is easy to lose perspective in the vast steppe lands. At times I feel like I should be able to just reach up and touch the clouds. Occasionally there is a large boulder out in the middle of hectors of land. I assume they have been left by the glaciers which shaped this land hundreds of thousand of years ago. William, on the other hand, proposes that aliens may have been involved. :-)
The Parador has a good business serving as a wayside along Ruta 40 for modern travelers and tour groups. There's a coffee shop, gift store small museum and the necessary clean toilets within the main building. There's even some cabins to rent.