El Calafate

A small frontier village, El Calafate (pop. 8,000) is situated along the southern border of Lake Argentino along the southwest part of the Santa Cruz Province in the heart of the famed Patagonia Region. Characterized by vast, open pampas; the colossal Northern and Southern Ice Fields and hundreds of glaciers; the jagged peaks of the Andes as they reach their terminus. This is home to Argentina’s coastal wildlife sanctuaries, a region of extreme natural beauty, famed for Perito Moreno Glacier, one of the world's few glaciers that is still growing. (a three mile frontage and a height of 180 ft)

Highlights
• Glacier Tours
• Panoramic tours
• Mountain biking
• Trekking
• Hiking
• Horseback riding

El Calafate

Patagonia

Map


When to go
Patagonia is a land of rough weather
conditions, where drastic changes may occur
in a matter of hours. Best time to visit the
area is October -April, when temperatures
are warmer and days longer. June-September
(winter time) is excellent for winter sports.
Average temperature range from 30F (winter
time) to 72F (summer time) and can reach a
maximum of 85F; winds are moderate, but
there can reach gusts of over 60 miles per
hour.

When to go: Patagonia is a land of rough weatherconditions, where drastic changes may occurin a matter of hours. Best time to visit thearea is October -April, when temperaturesare warmer and days longer. June-September(winter time) is excellent for winter sports. Average temperature range from 30F (wintertime) to 72F (summer time) and can reach amaximum of 85F; winds are moderate, butthere can reach gusts of over 60 miles perhour.

Distance: El Calafate is 2.750 km from Buenos Aires, approximately 29 hours by road or 3 hours flight.


FD PERITO MORENO GLACIER

• Duration: All day / Operates: All year

After breakfast, we will start our guided tour along Route 11 towards Los Glaciares National Park. We will pass by the edge of the main body of Argentino Lake and move on towards the branch called Rico. We will stop at the entrance of the National Park in order to pay the admission fee and, once inside the park, we will go to “Curva de los Suspiros” (“Curve of Sighs”), where we will get off the vehicle in order to see the Perito Moreno Glacier for the first time. Further on, we will stop at the Muelle Bajo las Sombras (Pier under the Shadows) so that those who are willing to go sailing can get closer to the southern wall of the Glacier (optional). Then we will move on to the front catwalks of the glacier, where we will watch it from different balconies and enjoy our free time by appreciating the various detachments. Return to El Calafate.

FD MINITREKKING

• Duration: All day / Operates: from August to May (subject to weather conditions)

After breakfast, we will start our tour along Route 11 towards Los Glaciares National Park and pay the admission fee at the entrance. We will go on by bus towards Puerto Bajo de Las Sombras (Under the Shadows Port), where we will take a small ship to cross Rico Branch. On the opposite coast, we will meet the tour guides. After a 20-min. walk through the forest, the guides will help us put on some crampons to walk on ice for approximately 2 hours. Then we will enjoy a whiskey toast with glacier ice. Back on the coast, we will go to the pier by ship and move on without a tour guide to the lookout points or catwalks of the glacier, where we will stay for about 45 minutes. Return to El Calafate.
> NOTE: If you hire the traditional excursion and decide to change it for the minitrekking excursion upon arrival at the destination, a refund of money will be impossible, as they are excursions offered by different suppliers. Therefore, the excursion you hired is non-refundable.

FD TODO GLACIARES

• Duration: half day
* May: Operates only on odd days
* June and July: Operates only on even days
* August: Operates only on odd days

After breakfast, we will start our tour along Route 11 towards Los Glaciares National Park. We will pass by the edge of the main body of Argentino Lake and move on towards Punta Bandera Port, where, after paying the Park admission fee, we will get on a modern catamaran to sail among the icebergs through the Northern Branch and the Upsala Branch, towards the homonymous glacier. From another branch of the Lake, we will watch the highest Glacier, i.e., the Spegazzini Glacier, which is almost 100 metres high. By midday, our trip will change to the Southern Branch of the Lake, and we will reach the northern wall of the Perito Moreno Glacier. We will return to the port and then go to El Calafate by a land transportation vehicle.

FD EL CHALTÉN

• Duration: All day / Operates: September through April

At 7.30 am, a bilingual tour guide from our staff will start picking up the passengers at the hotels. After travelling eastwards about 30 km, we will take the Mythical Route 40 and pass by the edge of the east bank of Argentino Lake and the shore of Santa Cruz River; then we will come across La Leona River. The inn and hotel of La Estela Country Estate were named after the river. We will stop there to get to know a little bit more about the history of La Leona inn and hotel, where our excursionists will be able to enjoy hot tea with well-known homemade cakes. Afterwards, we will depart towards El Chaltén, First, we will pass by the edge of Viedma Lake, and stop to take pictures during the tour in order to enjoy the mountainous landscape and the panoramic views of the Viedma Glacier and Chaltén (Fitz Roy) and Torre hills. Around 11.00 am, Los Glaciares National Park will welcome us and the park rangers will be waiting to give us information about El Chaltén, the “National Trekking Capital.” At about 11.30 am, we will be ready to start with our activities (you must choose the optional activity upon booking the tour).

• Option: Hike to Capri Lagoon.

Those who have chosen to walk towards the lagoon will beaccompanied by mountain guides specialized in the area. Getting to the lagoon will take a walking time of approximately 2 hours and the length will be 7km. The first kilometres are fairly difficult for walking, as there is a steep slope. Along the way, you can feel like you are part of the forest, and upon arrival at Capri, we will have lunch and take our time to enjoy the magnificent views of Torre, Chaltén and Guillomet Hills, Madre e Hija Lagoons and the beautiful surroundings. At about 3.30 p.m. we will return to the town of El Chaltén, where a bus will be waiting to return to El Calafate. We will be back at the hotels at about 8.00/8.30 pm.

• Option: Viedma Light Sailing Tour.

Upon arrival at El Chaltén, we will head for Chorrillo del Salto waterfall, about 4 km away from the town, to continue enjoying the landscape embellished by a natural waterfall in the middle of the mountain range, Chorrillo del Salto. After travelling a long way and after having new experiences, we will go to La Tapera restaurant, where a tasty and necessary lunch will be waiting for us. Full of energy, we will depart towards Bahía Túnel Port, where we will get on a ship to view the Viedma Glacier, the largest glacier as compared with over 300 glaciers inside the National Park, and the largest glacier in Argentina. While sailing for 2 hours and 30 minutes, we will have a unique experience: enjoying the blue ice walls of the Viedma Glacier, which are 40 metres high. There are no physical restrictions for this excursion. By the end of the tour, our bus will be waiting to return to El Calafate. We will be back at the hotels at about 8.00/8.30 pm.

FD TORRES DEL PAINE

• Duration: All day / Operates: September through April

We will depart from the Argentine town of El Calafate since 5.30 am, from the hotel where the passengers are staying, as long as it is located within a radius of 3 km from the centre. Note that this is the time when pick-ups from the centre start, so it is an estimated time. At about 10.00 am, we will arrive at Frontera (the Border) (Castillo Hill), and after completing customs formalities, we will stop at the Chilean region of Castillo Hill. There you may exchange money, have a traditional breakfast, chat with the locals, etc. Next, our passengers will get on smaller buses, in order to achieve group cohesion, and more interaction with the guide, the specialist who will be with the group during the whole tour. That way, the group will get the most of their experience on this very special tour. At about 11.00 am, we will continue our bus ride to the Park, and arrive at the first attraction of our tour, Sarmiento Lake, at 11.40 am. We will stop there briefly in order to take the first photographs and enjoy the breathtaking landscape. The next stop of this tour will be at Amarga Lagoon Porter’s Lodge, around 12.30 pm; there we will pay the admission fee for Torres del Paine National Park. Our bus will depart towards Nordenskjold Lake, where we will arrive at 1.00 pm. We will enjoy this beautiful water mirror, which reflects one of the main Park attractions: the magnificent “Paine Horns.” Around 1.30 pm, we will arrive at Pudeto, where we will trek towards Salto Grande waterfall, and then move on to Paine Horns Lookout Point. This whole tour lasts about 1 hour and a half. On the way, the guide will decide which lookout point the group will go to first. It is a low difficulty walk. After enjoying the tour, we will go to the National Park Administration (Administración del Parque Nacional, Conaf), where we will arrive at about 4.00 pm. From there, we will return to Amarga Lagoon (at 4.50/5.00 pm). At 6.00 pm, we will arrive at Castillo Hill and return to El Calafate at about 10.30/11.00 pm.

4x4 BALCONY OF EL CALAFATE

Its access is by the chairlift of the Balcony with 55 double seats, security rod and highly qualified staff. With the most stunning views of the Argentine Lake and its mountain range, you will be able to enjoy 360degreesof the best sights of El Calafate. With the different options to enjoy the Mt. throughout the whole year.

From this natural viewpoint you will be able to enjoy the panoramic views of El Calafate and the main portion of Argentine Lake. This tour will offer sights of the Andres Mountain range and the area of accumulation of the glaciers, towards Bocas del Diablo (Devils mouth, the narrowest part of the lake, to the Upsala arm). And if it’s a nice day we will be able to see Mt. Fitz Roy and Mt. Torre in El Chalten. We will also have the opportunity to see the condors fly.