"Wild and wonderful" Top 5 Page for this destination El Calafate by TheWanderingCamel

El Calafate Travel Guide: 282 reviews and 715 photos

Heading south ....

Photo: The mighty Perito Moreno glacier surrounded by the yellow flowers of the calafate bush.

...to the very tip of South America takes you into the bleakly beautiful landscape of icy waters, white-capped mountains and windswept heathlands, of awe-inspiring glaciers and silent moss-clad woods that is Southern Patagonia.

3000 kilometres south of Buenos Aires, Argentina's capital and one of the most glamorous and stylish cities in the world, you'll find yourself in El Calafate, a little frontier town with no style at all. Set down on the edge of a vast lake, the town has little purpose but to serve the tourists who come here in their thousands each year to experience the majesty of the Parque Nacional Los Glaciares, and it shows in the mixture of tourist shops and restaurants that line the main street, the hotels and residencias that are springing up all around the lake and the surrounding low hills, and the stream of tourist buses that roll out of town each morning heading for the glaciers.

No matter whether you come to climb, trek or camp in the park, or to take in its splendours in a more passive way, you can be sure you will spend some time here. It's not the town you've come for though - El Calafate is the gateway to the wonders of the southern region of the park, some of the world's stunning glaciers, including its star act - the thundering giant of the Perito Moreno Glacier.

If you're there in Springtime (one of the best times to go) the yellow-flowering shrub that gives the town its name - the calafate - will be in bloom. Local legend says that if you eat the berries of the calafate you'll be sure to return to Patagonia - you'll have to wait until later in the summer to be able to eat them fresh, but you'll find plenty of other ways to get a taste in the sweets, jams and syrups that are sold all over town.

I don't think you have to eat them a taste for this place - it works its magic all on its own without the need for an enchanted berry.


  • Last visit to El Calafate: Nov 2006
  • Intro Updated May 9, 2016
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Reviews (26)

Comments (14)

  • GentleSpirit's Profile Photo
    Oct 6, 2012 at 5:22 PM

    An outstanding page, you described everything so well, bringing back a lot of things i had forgotten about or hadn't really looked at at the time. One of the things I remember was that though i loved the trip to the glaciers the days got so exhaustingly long. I got to try the calafate berry too:)

  • starship's Profile Photo
    Jul 11, 2012 at 8:08 AM

    Another 5-star page! Your superb descriptions and photos have really enticed me to visit this part of the world --- a very different adventure that seems worth the "serious travel" to reach it. In a week I'll be in a country thousands of miles due west of southern Argentina --a continent in itself -- Australia!!!

  • balhannah's Profile Photo
    Jun 25, 2012 at 4:09 PM

    This page is wonderful! So many helpful tips and good photo's. Many places I would love to visit and see for myself.
    Glad you took a photo of the black necked swans, I have never heard of them, now I have and seen a photo of proof. Excellent page!

  • spidermiss's Profile Photo
    Jul 17, 2010 at 12:06 PM

    Love Perito Moreno Glaciar. I'm returning to Calafate in February to see the other glaciers.

  • Sharrie's Profile Photo
    May 31, 2009 at 7:26 AM

    Nah... now that I've thought about it, I think the best option would be for me to station myself either in Capetown or Buenos Aires for a couple of years, that'll help me cover the rest of the world! :-) As usual, informative & great page!

  • SLLiew's Profile Photo
    Apr 9, 2009 at 11:18 AM

    Wow... what an incedible place to visit. Enjoyed your details and photos. Thanks for sharing. SL :)

  • vtveen's Profile Photo
    Feb 15, 2009 at 12:48 PM

    Wonderful El Calafate pages. See you enjoyed your trip as we did !! (Thanks for visiting my page too). Jaap

  • MalenaN's Profile Photo
    Nov 19, 2007 at 9:36 AM

    Patagonia is defenitly a part of South America I want to visit in the future, but right now I'm working to be able to go back to the north part (Colombia/Venezuela). Great tips Leyle!

  • kyoub's Profile Photo
    Oct 21, 2007 at 3:46 AM

    An excellent page. El Calafate has some beauitful scenery. Your photos bring back a lot of memories. I wish I had some Calafate berries.

  • Bwana_Brown's Profile Photo
    May 30, 2007 at 2:13 AM

    Leyle, another of your outstanding pages! Your descriptions of this wild and beautiful place made it seem like I was there too and, like a good book, I couldn't put it down! Those glaciers look awesome from every angle. Quite an amazing trip you had.

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