El Calafate is a small, picturesque tourist village, located in the southwestern corner of the Patagonia Argentina in the province of Santa Cruz.
The "Village of the Glaciers" is located at the foot of Mount Calafate and settled in Round Bay on the south shore of Argentino lake, 185 meters above sea level. With a stable population of 20 000 inhabitants has a great tourism infrastructure, accompanying its magnificent natural setting with all the amenities needed for a comfortable stay.
With its proximity to the imposing Glacier National Park, only 80 kilometers; is known as the Glacier National Capital. It is the closest town to visit the National Park and its famous Perito Moreno Glacier, declared Natural Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1981.
How to get there
The arrival is the International Airport of El Calafate. Aerolíneas Argentinas, Austral, LAN and LADE have daily connections to the city of El Calafate with the city of Buenos Aires. There are also flights between El Calafate and major destinations of Patagonia: San Carlos de Bariloche, Trelew and Ushuaia, and two weekly flights to the city of Mar del Plata.
El Calafate is 315 km from the city of Rio Gallegos, capital of the province of Santa Cruz. From Rio Gallegos can be reached by landlines, with daily throughout the year. There are also tours and ground services that connect the city of El Calafate with major cities and Patagonia.
In private vehicles
You can reach El Calafate by vehicle, traveling throughout Patagonia Argentina, living an unforgettable experience.
Patagonia Argentina is crossed by two major routes which cross from north to south, the RN Nº 3 and RN Nº 40.
The RN Nº. 3 joins Capital Federal City with Ushuaia passing through the province of Buenos Aires and Patagonia by the Atlantic margin. This journey, completely paved, crosses the cities of Puerto Madryn, where you can see the Southern Right Whale and Magellanic penguins, then the cities of Trelew, Comodoro Rivadavia, Puerto San Julian and Rio Gallegos. From Rio Gallegos should join the RP Nº 5 to El Calafate.
National Route 40 runs through its 5100 km long, the whole of Argentina bordering continental Andes. From Cabo Virgenes in Santa Cruz to La Quiaca in the province of Jujuy, the RNº 40, joins a host of places full of magic, and along its route crosses 11 provinces, 236 bridges, passes about 23 lakes and salt lakes and over 200 cities and towns. Also announced five sites declared World Heritage Site by UNESCO among which is the Perito Moreno Glacier. This route can get from the north Patagonian living a real adventure, and connects to El Calafate with resorts of El Chalten Patagonia, Esquel, Bariloche, Villa La Angostura and San Martin de los Andes. (This route has gravel sectors and it is advisable to check the status of it on National Highways)
Table of distances from El Calafate
International Airport 23 Km
Perito Moreno Glacier 78 Km
El Chalten 220 Km
Roca Lake 50 km
Rio Gallegos 320 Km
Rio Turbio (by El Cerrito) 212 Km
Rio Turbio (by Esperanza) 321 Km
Tremun Hotels has four different options of accommodation in the city of El Calafate.
Hotel Mirador del Lago
Located opposite the Lago Argentino, over 10,000 m2 of parkland, surrounded by poplars and only 500 meters from the shopping center in a great place of El Calafate.
In this privileged site overlooking the lake and the Andes, the hotel has 70 rooms in three categories Economy, Superior, Superior with lake view and Suite, finely furnished and equipped. Warm and comfortable common areas including living rooms, a bar and the gourmet restaurant Patagonian "La Bahía". Mirador del Lago Hotel is the option recommended by Tremun Hotels for guests seeking a high level of comfort and culinary excellence with the best views of El Calafate.
Check Rates and Availability
Calafate Parque Hotel
On a quiet corner in the heart of the town of the Glaciers. Calafate Parque Hotel has 50 rooms on two categories: Standard and Suite, warmly decorated, including rooms accessible for guests with disabilities, spacious living rooms with fireplaces, a modern spa with sauna, jacuzzi, gym and massage cabinets. The bar and restaurant "Patagonia DOC", offers a wide variety of drinks, coffee and Argentine cuisine specialties.
Calafate Parque Hotel is the ideal choice offering by Tremun Hotels for those who want to experience a warmly Patagonian high quality service, without leaving the comforts offered by the commercial center of El Calafate.
Check Rates and Availability
Hotel Estancia Kau Yatun
Located at the entrance of the town of El Calafate, just 600 meters from the downtown, Estancia Hotel Kau Yatun, is located in a green setting and autochthonous fauna. The hotel has 44 rooms in three categories Economy, Superior and Suites.The beautiful overlooking to the large park, a warm and refined decor of the lobby and the Resto-Bar "El Alambique" complete this rural exceptional option. Kau Yatun Estancia Hotel is the option recommended by Tremun Hotels for lovers of nature and the simplicity of the native, for those who wish to live a field experience in an authentic Patagonian Ranch
Check Rates and Availability
Rincón del Calafate Hotel
Located at the entrance of El Calafate, a few minutes walk from the downtown. With warm and welcoming spaces ideal to enjoy an encounter with visitors from different corners of the world. The hotel has 48 rooms Standard category, a bar and restaurant with regional dishes and exquisite fast food. Rincon del Calafate Hotel, is the recommended choice by Tremun Hotels for an inexpensive alternative to enjoy a relaxed and friendly stay in a comfortable hotel.
Check Rates and Availability
El Calafate is located at 50° 20' south latitude (equivalent to the city of London in the northern hemisphere). Its proximity to the large body of water of Lake Argentino, the north-facing slope and the protection of their groves allows to benefit with a much gentler microclimate than the surrounding plateaus.
The climate is predominantly dry. Large temperature variations are not impediment to enjoy the options of walks throughout the year.
Winds predominate west and southwest, and it is during the summer when an increased frequency and intensity of these. The average annual temperature is 7.2 °C, while the average in July is around 2º C and January is 18.6 ºC.
Rainfall decreases eastward. In the area of ??the Continental Ice reach 8.000 mm. year, dropping to 1,000 mm. in the Glacier National Park. As the westerly winds carry a little humidity to the steppe zone, receiving only 300 mm El Calafate. annually.
The majestic landscape of the area offers plenty of activities, unforgettable sights and places to visit and enjoy the outdoors.
Perito Moreno Glacier
In Glacier National Park, go trough the circuit of walkways and viewpoints to get the best views of the Perito Moreno Glacier and the Magallanes Peninsula. This unmissable tour will also provide the most panoramic views, see the unpredictable ice breaks of the front wall of the glacier in all its magnitude.
Mini trekking Perito Moreno Glacier
This unforgettable experience to walk on the Perito Moreno Glacier. This tour is accompanied by experienced guides and special shoes with crampons for ice provided by the organizer. The tour starts with a sailing on the south wall of the glacier, continues with a hike of 20 'on the edge of Lake Argentino and then delve into the Perito Moreno Glacier during two hours of trekking in where we will see a variety of formations as ice, crevasses, seracs, drains and small ponds.
Safari Boat to Perito Moreno
One of the more traditional tours to see the Perito Moreno glacier is to sail a catamaran to its higher walls and stop to appreciate it fully. This tour lasts approximately one hour and provides the ability to observe a completely different perspective the stunning Perito Moreno glacier walls and continuous landslides on the waters of Lake Rico. Can see icebergs that have broken off the walls.
Big Ice "Journey to the Center of the Glacier"
This unforgettable experience, accompanied by experienced mountain guides, begins early in the morning with a 10 minutes navigation in Rico lake. Then even closer to the glacier starts the landing approach. The trail runs along the southern moraine of the glacier Perito Moreno, and in just over an hour you will reach a spectacular viewpoint, which gives access to the ice. Once on the glacier with crampons, the world takes a new perspective: blue lagoons, deep crevasses, huge sinks, magical caves, and the unique feeling of being in the center of the glacier. Always with experienced guides will explore for three hours over the world especially glacier. Also, live a unique experience of having lunch on the white carpet and wonder in a place of unparalleled beauty. * Excursion available from September through to April.
Lake Tour: Rivers of Ice, Upsala and Spegazzini
This lake excursion begins in Punta Banderas on Lake Argentino, through modern boats will sail along the north arm of the lake to the Upsala Channel where you can appreciate the spectacular barrier of icebergs, and a panoramic view of the Upsala Glacier. Then the boat will head Spegazzini Glacier, the highest in the National Park and finally the boat will go to Perito Moreno for navigation on the north wall.
El Chalten (Trekking Capital of Argentina)
At 220 km from El Calafate, covering a stretch of the RN 40, bordering the Lake Argentino and Viedma get to El Chalten. This Patagonian paradise, at the foot of Cerro Torre and Fitz Roy and the banks of River turns.
As well as being the youngest town in Patagonia, El Chalten is a dream place and cultural diversity. Lots of foreigners visit it because of its natural conditions ideal for lovers of the outdoors and especially the trekking. Named by fans as "national trekking capital" for the different paths that are born of their own streets can be scaled to different imposing hills that surround it, as Fitz Roy, the very particular Poincenot or Cerro Torre. And less difficulty trekking beginner walkers. Surrounding El Chalten combine the magic of nearby glaciers, hidden lagoons, cascading waterfalls, the blue lake Viedma and mystique presence of Mount Fitz Roy. From the city people can see their unmistakable majestic peak.
In El Chalten is also possible to have contact with the fauna, condors, guanacos, pumas, ostriches and foxes are part of this unforgettable Patagonian destination.
This farm was founded in 1914, it gets there in a modern catamaran through a navigation among icebergs drifting on Lake Argentino. Once there, there is a menu of activities among which include the visit to a museum of manners, trekking tours, 4x4, fishing, horseback riding with amazing views of glaciers, forests and mountains of the Andes. Also the Estancia has a restaurant wich serves regional cuisine standing out the roasted Patagonian lamb.
Glaciarium Patagonian Ice Museum
This new attraction of El Calafate, shows the origin of the Glaciers of Patagonia, an experience that invites reflection on climate change and a journey through the life of Francis P. Moreno among other attractions. Located a few kilometers from the downtown has a 3D cinema and a few audiovisual also the GlacioBar, an "Ice Bar" where the vessel walls, bars and chairs are made of ice.
Full day Torres del Paine (Chile)
A little more than 300 km. of El Calafate, in Chilean territory, is the Torres del Paine National Park. This full day tour starts very early from Calafate returning at night, can also be done by adding a night's lodging in the park or in the beautiful town of Puerto Natales. Amazing for where you look, Torres del Paine is a unique place with landscapes, shocking wildlife. In the park are the world famous Torres del Paine and Paine Horns, mountains that rise vertically from the plain forming a very particular landscape. Scattered among the peaks, lakes originated in glaciers, rich fauna of pumas, guanacos, foxes, condors, wild geese, rheas and black-necked swans, and other species that inhabit the region. Leafy forests of trees with their characteristics "whiskers" give the landscape a magical suggestion.
Estancia La Usina
At 40 km. from El Calafate Perito Moreno Glacier road, this beautiful room is typical Patagonian architecture, has an organic vegetable garden, a demanding kitchen where you can taste a Patagonian tea beside the river or taste the delights of local cuisine. The estancia has facilities for horseback riding, hiking and other outdoor activities.
Estancia El Galpón
A 20 km. of El Calafate has a historic circuit guided by the estancia, a bird watching refuge and a sheep shearing show. It also presents a service of grilled lamb accompanied by a tango show and folklore.
Estancia 25 de Mayo
With an area of ??16,000 ha, the estancia offers tours in 4x4 vehicles, to the steppe and the observation of flora and fauna of the region.
4 x 4 trips to Balcon de El Calafate
In El Calafate you can travel across the Patagonian steppe, a circuit "off-road" by accessing to stunning landscapes and totally exclusive places and obtaining a panoramic view of the city, Lake Argentino and the Andes mountain range.
Paraje La Leona
At 110 kilometers from El Calafate, on the national route No. 40, on the shores of the river La Leona and meters of Lake Viedma, exactly half way between El Calafate and El Chalten, is the roadhouse & rural hotel La Leona, witness and protagonist of over 110 years of legendary history of the Patagonia. Historical and Cultural Heritage of the province, is ideal for a coffee with a slice of cake and enjoy the landscape.
Walichu caves and Punta Bonita is a way to travel through time. On the shores of Lake Argentino, are ideal to visit with children.
City Tour by El Calafate
In El Calafate you can hire an entertaining tour of the city, through the most traditional of the city on board an comfortable vehicle.
Landscapes of Roca
In Glacier National Park, beautiful Lake Roca offers attractive corners ideal for multiple activities.
Fly fishing along the Glacier
Fly fishing in the lake Roca and river Rico is an amazing experience. Rainbow trout with good size, provide an intense fight in the clear waters.
Knowing the history of El Calafate
Historical Interpretation Center El Calafate is a perfect invitation for the history of the place and of Patagonia, Argentina.
Reserve Laguna Nimez
At only 1 km from the center of El Calafate, in an area close to Lake Argentino will find Avifauna Reserve Laguna Nimez, where you can make a colorful birdwatching.
Horseback riding in Patagonia
Another interesting way to discover and conquer the landscape of El Calafate, is to ride through the region, making several trips riding a beautiful horse.
Regional Museum of El Calafate
Located in the center of the city of El Calafate, this museum offers a journey through local history and flora and fauna that make up this graceful around town.
Adventure Tourism in El Calafate
On the surroundings of El Calafate enthusiasts of adventure sports are able to perform a number of activities related to these matters.
Casino in El Calafate
In the downtown a modern casino presents a musical shows during the nights of the season.