"El Calafate - glaciers and steppe" Top 5 Page for this destination El Calafate by vtveen

El Calafate Travel Guide: 292 reviews and 750 photos

The town of El Calafate is situated in the far south of Argentina. By far the most people will arrive by plane and travelling on that way we had some great views to the Andes Mountains and the turquoise coloured Lago Argentino (try to get a seat at the right-hand side of the plane for the best views).

El Calafate is THE (only) starting point to the glaciers of 'Los Glaciares National Park', a Worlds Natural Heritage site. I think at least '90%' of the population is working in the tourist industry and know they do have a monopoly for visiting this beautiful piece of Argentina. And this monopoly does make (tourist) life a lot more expensive than in other parts of the country. It does mean you do have to pay more for lodging, eating and tours.

But there is more to explore than the glaciers. El Calafate is also situated along Lago Argentino and the dry and vast Patagonian steppe, stretching along the Andes Mountains into the mainland of Argentina. This is a complete different landscape and we loved visiting this wilderness so close to El Calafate.

Avenida del Libertador is the name of the main street in El Calafate with a lot of shops, some of them offer very interesting souvenirs, (side walk) café’s, restaurants, travel agencies, rental car- bank- and post offices. Strolling along this road it felt a little bit like we were walking through an Austrian village in the winter, with lots of wooden buildings and young or at least sporty people coming from or going to the glaciers.

Of course we could ‘enjoy’ the Patagonian climate, varying in a couple off days (late November) between beautiful sunny weather and having a coffee on a sidewalk café, till a little bit of snow the other day.
But be prepared on wind, wind and wind. The most important garment for El Calafate is a WINDPROOF jacket.

Pros and Cons
  • Pros:unbelievable scenery
  • Cons:more expensive than elsewhere in Argentina
  • In a nutshell:you have to hurry to see the glaciers
  • Last visit to El Calafate: Nov 2005
  • Intro Updated Feb 5, 2007
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Reviews (18)

Comments (7)

  • Greggor58's Profile Photo
    Aug 22, 2010 at 5:48 PM

    I totally enjoyed reading this page...helpful and informative tips,great information you have shared with us! Seems that you're accommodations were a really good find! What amazing scenery..I cant get over the rocky landscape along Ruta 40 !

  • spidermiss's Profile Photo
    Jul 17, 2010 at 12:17 PM

    I rode on the Ruta 40 from Calafate when I went to Chalten in January. We stopped at Hotel La Leona. Plan to do the Ruta 40 to Bariloche when I return to Patagonia next year. Great tip! Dawn

  • TheWanderingCamel's Profile Photo
    Feb 15, 2009 at 6:42 AM

    Isn't Perito Moreno just the most awesome sight! Nice memories brought back here - and even in late October it was cold,cold, cold!

  • mircaskirca's Profile Photo
    Apr 28, 2008 at 7:25 AM

    Excellent descriptions of this amazing natural beauty!! I hope to visit this part of Argentina some day. Cold is the only thing that still discourage me from going there. Enjoyed reading about your adventure!

  • Ash59's Profile Photo
    Nov 26, 2006 at 12:50 PM

    Yep, totally agree about the clothing. It can be very cold on the catamaran! Great info on El Calafete.

  • globetrott's Profile Photo
    Oct 22, 2006 at 1:06 PM

    An interesting page and great pics ! These glaciers are amazing !

  • iandsmith's Profile Photo
    Oct 18, 2006 at 5:27 AM

    In a word "stunning". Some of the great VT pages.


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