El Calafate lies on the southern shore of the glacier-filled Lake Argentino in the heart of Patagonia. Its main attraction is the Perito Moreno glacier, a great wall of blue ice on which you can walk. Cycle around the small city center and ride a horse into the valleys and mountains of Patagonia.
Tour the Perito Moreno glacier by boat to get a closer look at the icebergs and ruptures in the vast blue landmark. The sound of the ice breaking is memorable. Hike around the glacier to see it from various angles. Put on crampons to walk on the ice. Discover holes, caves and other intriguing formations in the glacier.
Visit the region’s other large ice feature, Upsala Canal. This interesting annual retreat of the ice could be the result of global warming. Take a boat tour and drink champagne cooled by glacial ice or rent a kayak for a more personal experience near the glacier.
Stay at Estancia Cristina, a large ranch with excellent accommodations looking out at the snowy mountains. The complex organizes many tours to glaciers as well as activities, such as sailing, horseback riding, hiking and fishing.
The commune takes its name from a yellow flower with dark blue berries that is very common in the region. Enjoy the area’s fairly dry atmosphere, particularly in summer when the weather is quite warm. Winters are extremely cold with a lot of snow and ice.
The city is in southwestern Santa Cruz Province, near the Chilean border. It is 200 miles (320 kilometers) northwest of Rio Gallegos and stands directly between the cities of San Carlos de Bariloche and Ushuaia in the south of Argentina. Fly to El Calafate Airport, 13 miles (21 kilometers) east of the city, from many destinations across the country.
Complete the circuit of landmarks in El Calafate from the tranquil Plaza de los Pioneros, before conquering nature in the imposing countryside.