El Calafate Tourism Information
Located south of Argentina close to the border with Chile, this spectacular area of Argentina is a paradise of mountains, glaziers, lakes, dense forests and untouched scenery waiting to be discovered!
Calafate is home to a villa of almost 7000 inhabitants, the closest to the great Perito Moreno glacier, in Los Glaciares National Park. Since it was founded, December, 7th 1927, this town has grown to become a main tourist destination. It's typical roofs and gardens, the variety of flowers and trees, make a warm and delicate environment that combines perfectly leisure and adventure.
The climate in El Calafate is dry. The city's extremes of cold and heat are moderated by the influence of a large lake (Lago Argentino). In summer (December to February) the weather is sunny, cool and windy; the average temperature is 20-25 °C.
Winds are very common here, so be sure to dress up warmly and taking rain gear-clothes are advised,as rain is evenly spread out over the year.
The best times to visit El Calafate, without it being so hot, as you will be walking a lot and getting warm pretty quick, is April to October. However July and august can be wet months.
Getting to El Calafate is possible by Bus or by plane from Buenos Aires. However flying is a much better experience with a 3 hours flight time. The airport is located 17km from the city centre. Only mini-van (busses) or taxis are available to reach the city where all the Hotels/Hostels are located. Prices are much higher for transportation since its a popular tourist destination. Once you arrive, make sure you go straight to the minivan transfer point and they will take you straight to your accommodation as they only leave once they are full waiting for exactly each flight. (they cost around €5 per person when sharing a van, €15 for a taxi).
Within the city there is no public transport.
El Calafate is the starting point to visiting glaciers and El Chaltén area, discovering Walicho Cave and Tehuelche culture, enjoying a fishing day at Lago Roca, visiting Bahía Redonda, staying at the touristic Estancias, trekking, flying in an aerostatic balloon, back horse riding, bike or four-wheel motorcycles, rafting, and much more adventures await in this popular destination of the south of Argentina!
For all these reasons, El Calafate is the ideal place for those who look for organized activities and also for those that prefer free activities or to practice sports, but surrounded with all the comfort and facilities:
Since El Calafate is all about scenery and nature, it's a must, to arrange tours from your accommodation, if you don't drive, to reach the glaziers, lakes and take part in the many sport activities offered. Prices ranges depending how much you want to do, however the cheapest option, is to arrange only the transportation to the Parks' entrance and walk yourself towards the mountains and glaziers if you're adventurous and like hiking.
The true reason to come here is to admire at the beauty and impressive scenery which is so characteristic of the area. Patagonia offers some of the world’s breathtaking hikes. Most adventurers will note the Torres del Paine "W trek" as the ultimate Patagonian trail, one of the most notorious walks, reserved for the real mountaineers and adventure seeking travellers! Also, at the remote corner of Los Glaciares National Park, the Huemul Circuit offers explorers an incredible encounter with the Patagonian wilderness. Including an opportunity to see a 360-degree panorama of the entire park, the views on the Huemul Circuit are nothing short of spectacular.
Check with the local accommodation/travel company what tours are available depending on the time of year and climate. Expect prices to be higher for foreigners than for locals.
❗Attention: These routes takes around 3/4 days and are up to 64 Km long. Unlike some other multi-day routes in Patagonia. Therefore, you’ll need to carry all your equipment and camping gear. On top of your usual checklist, you’ll also need to bring some specialist equipment to negotiate river crossings. Park rangers will be able to advise you on what you need, most of which you can rent in the nearby town of El Chaltén.
✔️Tip: Cash is only accepted at most entrance parks and some shops/agents. Make sure you take spare cash with you to pay for entrance fees which are not always included in the packet price of tours. Also note, ATM's will charge €9 commission on foreign card withdrawals.
Hostels are very popular in El Calafate, since it's a backpacker destination and nature lovers. There are only a few Hotels in the city but prices are very inflated.
If you travel high season, December to February, make sure to book well in advance.
At least two tours should be made whilst staying in El Calafate, admiring the beauty of the surroundings takes time as well as walking through rough grounds, rivers, narrow gravel paths atc. Staying 3 nights would be enough.
El Calafate Photo Slide 📷