El Calafate - Torres del Paine
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 is a starting point for travelers in search of adventure and treks to unearth the most fascinating natural wonders of Patagonia, such as 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 the 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 hiking 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.
El Calafate adventures come in many different shapes and sizes. For your free day, we have an adventure suggestion that will get your wheels in motion to keep on exploring. Just ten minutes outside of town, you’ll find a 3000-foot-high hill, where you’ll have stunning views of Lake Argentino, Mount Fitz Roy and Torre.
Take a day tour to ride in a 4×4 right to the top of this hill, where you will spot the Perito Moreno Glacier emerging little by little from La Cordillera de los Andes (The Andes Range). This is also a place to find archeological treasures (like millenary shark teeth or petrified oysters) from different geological periods of Earth.
For the second part of the trip, you’ll hop on a mountain bike to get back to El Calafate. On the way you’ll stop to grab a bite, take pictures, spot wild guanacos and challenge your riding abilities with various types of terrain as you cross marshes and rocky pathways until you reach civilization again. Nature, history and adventure, all in one trip!
If you would like to add on this tour for your free day, just let your travel advisor know.
In the early morning, we’ll pick you up from your hotel to start your 15-hour trip to Chile and your full-day visit to Torres del Paine National Park. It’s going to be a long day of hiking, but it’s worth every minute every minute
First, we’ll drive through the Patagonian steppe for 2hr 30min (you might be able to see rheas, guanacos, Patagonian hare, and even condors!) until reaching the border of Chile in Cancha Carrera, where we’ll go through customs.
We’ll keep traveling through isolated and windy landscapes, occasionally dotted by guanacos and native green-orange-tinted bushes; you’ll truly feel the momentous solitude that characterizes Patagonia. Torres del Paine is a gift that keeps on giving; little by little it will reveal its fascinating nature, and prepare to hike this amazing park!
Along a winding road, we’ll make different stops to have a close-up view of various attractions like Cascada Paine (Paine Waterfall), Paine Range at Lake Sarmiento, and the Paine Horns at Lake Nordenskjold. Depending on the weather, we’ll depart on a 1-hour hike to reach the lake and get closer to the striking mountain peaks. At midday, after having stopped by the Lago Pehoé Viewpoint to gaze at the vastness of the French Valley, we’ll have our boxed lunch with this mountainous backdrop.
At the end of this dreamy travel experience, we’ll drive you back to El Calafate to enjoy your last evening in town.
Dressing like an onion is probably the key – since weather is so variable – always be ready for some rain, wind, and sun (an extra pair of socks can be crucial!). Bring some extra snacks and Ziploc bags (for taking your trash back), enough water, and sunblock too! Have it handy to use.
At the appropriate time, we will drive you to the airport where you’ll take your flight to your next destination.
This is the end of your tour to the Perito Moreno Glacier and the city of El Calafate. Don’t be discouraged! You can return whenever you want (we will welcome you with open arms) or…continue your trip towards the North area of Argentina, to the beautiful Salta region, or the wine area in Mendoza. We have still a lot to offer!—Check out our travelers’ favorite itineraries throughout Argentina and Chile.
PEACE OF MIND THIS IS A CARBON NEUTRAL TRIP
We care deeply about our planet, as we know you do.
When you book with us, the carbon emissions from your trip are 100% offset. We are working to create more sustainable, responsible and meaningful ways of exploring South America.
It feels good to do it right. Learn more about our actions against climate change here.
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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