The area of El Calafate includes this city, El Chaltén and Los Glaciares National Park, each place has amazing attractions that will take your breath away.
El Calafate is the gateway to the glaciers area and its natural wonders. The 4000-people village is located by the Argentino lake (see map) and has basic infrastructure for tourism.
El Chaltén, a well-known spot for trekking and hiking, is a small village of 1,000 people located 216 km (134 miles) from El Calafate. Its tourist infrastructure is very limited and intended for hikers. Most of the expeditions to the Fitz Roy and Torre mountains depart from here.
Los Glaciares National Park offers an amazing variety of natural wonders: glaciers, lakes and rivers (see pictures). There are 47 glaciers within the Park. Some of the best known are: Uppsala, Perito Moreno, Spegazzini, Mayo, Onelli, Ameghino and Frías. The Argentino, Roca and Viedma lakes are also located inside the Park.
El Calafate hotels consist mainly of two and three-star lodges managed by owners. There
are few 4* Hotels with a reasonable level of quality. In most cases, El Calafate hotels are very expensive and overrated for the services they provide. We advise you to check with past customers or get local advice before booking.
Booking hotels in advance is a must during the high season (December to March). Remeber that the nearest alternative is Rio Gallegos, more than 320 Km (200 miles) away. Many hotels are also closed during the winter.
Hotels are mainly located downtown or on the road to Perito Moreno Glacier. We advise you to book hotels based on rates and quality (see customer reviews). Location should not be a problem since taxis are cheap and the downtown area does not offer many options for shopping and eating.
What to do in El Calafate?
El Calafate tours take place mostly in the Los Glaciares National Park and often require a full day. The most popular tours are Perito Moreno Glacier, Uppsala Explorer and Minitrekking.
Boat tours depart from Puerto Bandera, 30 miles from El Calafate. Transfers to Puerto Bandera must be purchased separately and are not included in the tour price.
The National Park also hosts lakes Roca and Viedma, favorite spots for fishing trout and salmon. Permits for fishing and mountaineering may be obtained at the Park Administration Office in downtown El Calafate.
Tours to Torres del Paine in Chile can be hired for 1 or more days. There are public and private transportation connecting both destinations on regular basis.
El Chalten is becoming a popular destination for trekking and hiking. There are day tours from El Calafate and longer stays can be arranged with local hotels.