El Calafate is a small town located where the Santa Cruz plateau meets the Andes and it´s the gateway to visit the majestic world of glaciers located in the National Park Los Glaciares. This amazing National Park was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO and it gathers many glaciers that once belonged to southern Patagonia’s Ice Cap. Among all of them, the most important and most incredible is the Perito Moreno Glacier.
You can have access to the National Park Los Glaciares trough the provincial Route 11. The Park is located 80 Km. away from Calafate.
Los Glaciares National Park covers a surface of 600,000 hectares with 47 glaciers, such as the Marconi, the Viedma, the Moyano, the Upsala, the Agassiz, the Bolado, the Onelli, the Peineta, the Spegazzini, the Mayo, the Ameghino, the Moreno and the Frías, all of them draining into the Atlantic.
El Calafate is close to Lake Argentino, a green water surface covering 1600 km2, with a length of 60 km., a width between 12 and 14 km., and depths from 35 m.
It is one of the main and very important touristic resort of both national and international importance, since it is the start of all glacier circuits. It is an oasis of poplars, willows and pines at the border of the steppe.
This beautiful town also features all the services required by worldwide travelers in order to have a memorable stay.
All the commercial activity takes place in Libertador Avenue. Here, along six blocks there are shops, restaurants, gift-shops, bars, internet access, etc.
Honestly this town of El Calafate connects you with the most unknown and magical of the Argentine geography
Calafate is located at 316 kms away from Río Gallegos and 185 meters above sea level and all the distances from El Calafate to the rest of the main tourist cities of Argentina are the following ones:
Buenos Aires 2727 Km, Bariloche 1449 Km (via Route 40), Bahía Blanca 2075 Km, Córdoba 2732 Km, Neuquén 1979 Km (via Route 40), Puerto Madryn 1388 Km, Ushuaia 863 Km and Viedma 1785 Km.
Calafate receives its name from the small bush calafate whose fruit is a delicious berry very good for the elaboration of jam.
El Calafate presents a dry weather, with an average maximum temperature of 19ºC, and an average minimum in winter of -2º.
The International Airport of El Calafate was inaugurated in the year 2000 and nowadays this airport receives direct flights from Buenos Aires, Puerto Madryn, Bariloche Trelew and Puerto Natales Chile.
From El Calafate, you can take excellent excursions by bus or in modern ships. Expert bilingual tour operators working at the licensed travel agency www.01argentina.com organizes tours and outings to the classical viewpoint of the Perito Moreno Glacier or the audacious expeditions to cross the glaciers.
In fact from El Calafate you can take the following excursions:
The “must-see, yes-or-yes” tour in calafate is the classic visit to the Perito Moreno glacier which is consider as the most spectacular and unforgettable excursion in all Patagonia.
There is a lacustrine boat trip through the lake Argentino North Branch that allows you to enjoy incredible views of the Glaciers Onelli and Spegazzini.
You can also visit the Nimes lagoon which is an animal reservation located just 1 km away from the Calafate commercial center.
There is in that reserve a great variety of birds such as flamingoes, black necked swans, ducks, silver macaes, among others.
Then the Lake Roca is an ideal place for fishing brown trouts, rainbow trout, salmon and perca between November and March.
Other tour option in El Calafate is the Rock Paintings at the Punta Walichu, It is a historical and archaeological site located just 10 kms away from El Calafate downtown.
Finally you can visit the Estancia Christina in order to visit the Upsala glacier. It is a lacustrine journey performed aboard a modern, fully featured catamaran.
After visiting this fascinating Argentine destination you will not be able to forget Patagonia. Fortunately, your films and photos will remind you that it was not a dream.