El Calafate - El Chaltén
Southern Patagonia welcomes you with open arms. Upon arrival, we will bring you to your hotel and have the remainder of your day to relax or explore the surroundings.
El Calafate and its glaciers tours are famous in Argentina. It is also a starting point for adventure seeking travelers who chace to unearth the most spellbinding natural wonders of Patagonia, like the Perito Moreno Glacier.
The Perito Moreno Glacier is one of the only glaciers in the world that’s still advancing. Though it’s not the only glacier in the area, it’s the one that made the city of El Calafate famous worldwide. For many years now, El Calafate has been considered capital of the glaciers. Located at the shore of Lago Argentino (the southernmost, largest Patagonian lake) it’s also home to the Spegazzini glacier, which forms the natural border between Argentina and Chile, and the Upsala Glacier, named Glaciar del Gigante (Giant’s glacier) it’s the biggest glacier that sits at the mouth of Lake Argentino.
But there is much more to see in El Calafate than glaciers. Make the most of your free day and discover other secret gems of the region.
Our recommended activities in El Calafate for your free day:
During the morning, we will pick you up from your hotel and drive you to Glaciers National Park to enjoy the 6-hour Perito Moreno Glacier tour. You will travel about 25 miles from El Calafate to the park, enjoying the views of the Patagonian steppe. Once inside the park, you will take walkways to explore the different viewpoints, and you’ll feel unbelievably close to Perito Moreno Glacier. If you’re lucky, you may even get to see a piece of ice break off and fall from the glacier wall, sinking forever into the lake below.
Over the course of about one hour, a bilingual guide will provide you with all the information you might want to know…and things you may have never thought about. After this visit, you will take a boat ride that will bring you close enough to fully appreciate the 262-foot ice walls of Perito Moreno! You’ll never feel closer to this gigantic and impressive natural masterpiece. At the end of the day, we will drive you back to your hotel.
Have you ever imagined walking across the surface of a glacier? Well, this is your chance! The Mini Trekking tour will allow you to trek on Perito Moreno Glacier… This is one of our favorite Patagonia outings; we’re sure you won’t regret it. This is an optional excursion you can add to this day.
We will pick you up from your hotel to start your 4-hour trip to El Chaltén. You’ll travel along the famous Route 40, surrounded by the Patagonian steppe, and pass through La Leona River, which connects Lake Argentino and Lake Viedma, and where you’ll get to see La Leona Road house, where the famous thieves Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid hid for a while. After discovering some other gems along your journey, you’ll reach El Chaltén and we’ll drop you off at your hotel.
El Chaltén is the top-rated hiking destination in Argentina. This charming little village sits at the foot of Mount Fitz Roy and it’s surrounded by glaciers, lakes, rivers and forests. It’s also the jumping-off point for most hiking trails in the area. A paradise for sunny walkers and trekkers alike.
Enjoy your first afternoon of leisure in Patagonia going for an easy 2-mile walk to Cerro Torre viewpoint — it will only take you around 1 hour. Enjoy the sounds of Rio de las Vueltas, take in some amazing views of the lenga forest, and be prepared to see all kinds of birds—this is a great woodpecker-spotting opportunity!
This is a little village, so we recommend that you take cash with you since ATM’s are not usual, and the few they may be, could be out of order. It’s better to be prepared! Though credit cards are accepted in Argentina, little grocery stores or restaurants may accept only cash.
Today you can take one of the self-guided hiking trails around town and discover El Chaltén by your own, which is always an excellent idea. But, if you want to do something different, you can take a full day trip to Lago del Desierto (not included).
We’ll take you in a bus through the valley and along the Las Vueltas River till reaching the Natural Reserve Lago del Desierto, and then we’ll sail for 50 minutes in a comfortable catamaran crossing the lake from south to north.
What will you see on the way? The Crestón Glacier and the Huemul Glacier lying shyly over the mountains. After a short 15-minute stop, we’ll continue sailing to Vespignani Glacier where we’ll go ashore to take one of the hiking trails nearby.
You can choose between an easy, interpretative trail through the forest, or a 45 minutes hike to get to the Vespignani Glacier’s base and a jaw-dropping view of Mount Fitz Roy. It’s up to you, you can count on the assistance of the tour coordinator at any time. After the hike, we’ll take a snack in our geodesic tent just before sailing back to Punta Sur and take our bus back to El Chaltén.
If you would to add this tour for your free day, just let your travel agent know.
Enjoy an early walk around town or a quick 3-hour hike this morning. We recommend that you walk to El Chorrillo del Salto, 1 hour away from the village, and reach its little waterfall encircled by native trees and flora, like the Patagonian Orchid.
Bear in mind that in the afternoon you will board your bus back to El Calafate, so you need to be back in time. The 3-hour drive back will be a good opportunity to relax while enjoying the passing landscapes out your window. Once you arrive in El Calafate, the bus will drop you off at your hotel and you will have the rest of the evening at leisure.
Now is your chance to try some tender Patagonian Lamb, or maybe a heavenly Calafate ice-cream. In Calafate, food options are varied and plentiful; from veggie delicacies to the best demonstration of national steaks, there really is something for everyone. You can choose a fancy restaurant for dinner or a more traditional local tavern to spend an unforgettable night.
At the appropriate time, we will pick you up from your hotel and bring you to the airport, where this trip comes to a close. Don’t get gloomy, if you liked this short adventure in Patagonia check out some of our other tailor-made trips in Patagonia and the rest of Argentina, and we’ll be glad to help you design your next travel adventure.
FLIGHTS NEEDEDFOR THIS ITINERARY
No flights needed for this trip. Trip starts and finishes at El Calafate.
Flights in South America cost approximately $100 to $250 USD per segment (destination).
We offer special rates on flights for this tailor-made itinerary.
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