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El Calafate

Argentina Travel Guide

Practical information about El Calafate

  • Family
  • Nature Reserve / Wildlife Observation / Safari
  • Fjord
  • Mountain
  • Horse
  • Essential
4 / 5 - 3 reviews
How to get there
3 hours direct flight from Buenos Aires
When to go
From October to March
Minimum stay
2 to 3 days

Reviews of El Calafate

Fanny Dumond Travel writer
64 travel articles

Calafate is where you go to visit the Patagonia glaciers. The place to stay when you are going to see the famous Perito Moreno glacier which is in Los Glaciares National Park, and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

My suggestion:
There is lots of accommodation in Calafate . Everything from youth hostels to luxury hotels. But as you will spend all your days out on trips and only get back to the hotel in the evening, you don't really need luxury accommodation.
Summary:

Calafate is a small town of 20,000 inhabitants which is built around a central street. The shops selling clothes for cold weather and the mountains, and the wooden buildings, make it look a bit like a ski resort.

Each time I come I notice new hotels that have been built on the shores of Lake Argentino, which give you wonderful views over its deep water. Which is to say, that you're not going off the beaten path here! But there are good reasons why the town is so attractive.

The two main attractions near Calafate are the Perito Moreno Glacier, and boat trips around the fjords on the lake. Two unique days which will remain forever in your memory, just like they have in mine. That grandiose scenery that makes Calafate an absolute must-see during your trip to Argentine Patagonia.

michael mamane Travel writer
76 travel articles

El Calafate is one of the main towns of Argentine Patagonia and a good base for exploring the many beauties of the region. It's a place you must visit during your trip to southern Argentina.

My suggestion:
In high season you should book your accommodation in advance because tourists love El Calafate and the prices can quickly rise. Don't forget to go to the Tourist Office either, because they can give you lots of useful information.
Summary:

I found El Calafate to be a pleasant and relaxed town, which has lots of amenities to offer tourists in the region. If you are touring Patagonia you will almost certainly visit this town because it is the starting point for different excursions through the Los Glacieres National Park, especially if you are going to the famous and breathtaking Perito Moreno Glacier.

The town is mostly concentrated around the main street, "Avenida del Libertador", which is where you'll find most of the accommodation and restaurants. And where you can get what you need for your walks, treks or trips.

I loved the human size of the town, its relaxed atmosphere, the fact that it was very close to the beautiful Lake Argentino, and the numerous wooden houses that are so typical of southern Argentina.

Virginie Bigeni Travel writer
49 travel articles

El Calafate is a small town in Argentine Patagonia that serves as the departure point for trips to the local glaciers, including the very famous Perito Moreno; so understandably, it's very tourist oriented.

My suggestion:
If you like glaciers and hiking through natural environments, be sure to make the town your base for a few days: the area all around it is simply wonderful.
Summary:

This is a comfortably small town with a charm all its own. With its brightly coloured houses and fairly quiet residential streets, I felt like I was visiting a ski resort. In any case, and whatever it was about the town, I definitely had a sense of being at the end of the world.

Originally just a place people came to in order to stock up on wool, El Calafate used to have very few inhabitants. However, with it being the closest town to Los Glacieres National Park, tourism here has increased exponentially. The result of all this is that there are now large numbers of luxury shops; there has been an explosion in the number of tour operators; and of course the town now has plenty of restaurants. When you come here when visiting Argentina, you'll find that everything you need for your trips into the surrounding area is available in the town itself!

The surrounding area around El Calafate is very beautiful. The town basically serves as the gateway to Los Glacieres National Park, the star attraction of which is the colossal Perito Mereno Glacier: 60 metres high and a very impressive sight to see. Mount Fitz Roy is also worth a trip. So this is what makes El Calafate such a nice base from which to explore the local area. The town is a calm, relaxing place and the scenery around it quite superb. What more could you ask for? Ah yes, a fat wallet: Patagonia is an expensive. 

Tours and travel ideas El Calafate