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El Calafate, El Chalten and Glaciers

Why visit El Calafate, El Chalten and Glaciers?

El Calafate in Patagonia is the main gateway to Los Glaciers National park and is about 50kms from the entrance. There's a good choice of accommodation in the town from which you can take day trips in to the park to enjoy hiking and kayaking. Adventure seekers and seasoned hikers can base themselves at El Chalten in the north of the park, perfectly located for longer hikes.
Reasons to visit El Calafate, El Chalten and Glaciers include:

  • Gaze upon Perito Moreno Glacier, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and explore further with a mini-trekking hike to see glacier-fed waterfalls and turquoise lakes.
  • Enjoy a cruise on Argentino Lake to see the glacier from a different perspective and get some amazing photographs. 
  • Go kayaking in the Upsala channel passing icebergs of varying sizes and immersing yourself in this starkly beautiful environment. 
  • Take a day trip to an estancia to witness sheep shearing followed by a hearty lamb barbecue. 
  • Pay a visit to the Glaciarium to learn about all things icey and enjoy a cocktail in an ice glass while surrounded by ice sculptures in the ice bar.  
  • Take a walk in La Leona Petrified Forest looking for dinosaur fossils, admiring the strange rock formations and watching guanacos in the desert-like landscape.  
  • If you're feeling energetic you can hike to Laguna de los Tres for breath-taking views of the distinctive jagged peak of Mount Fitz Roy. 
  • Start your day with a sunrise visit to Condor Lookout to see the mountain peaks change colour as the sun brightens the sky.  
  • Keen trekkers can hike the Huemul Circuit which takes about four days to complete and rewards you with views of the Southern Patagonian Icefield.  
  • Kayak on or ride a horse beside the Rio de las Vueltas to spot wildlife including black eagles and condors.  
  • Take a cruise to Viedma Glacier, the largest glacier in the country and the second largest in South America, and take an ice trekking tour across its surface. 
  • Follow the self-guided boardwalk trail at Laguna Nimez ecological reserve while watching a variety of birds including the Chilean flamingo. 
  • Visit an estancia to learn more about the local way of life and maybe enjoy some horse riding.

When to go to El Calafate, El Chalten and Glaciers

Los Glaciers National Park is open year round, but generally the best months are December to February (summer) with long, light days, though this is also the most popular time and it can get crowded. October to November and March to April are also good months, as are September and May although it can get quite cold. El Chalten is best visited between November and March, though it should be noted that weather can be variable and you should be prepared for wind, rain and even snow. Outside these months many trails are closed.

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El Calafate, El Chalten and Glaciers accommodation

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facts and information

Time: GMT – 3 hours

Flight time:

Flight time approximately 14 hours from London to Buenos Aires on a direct flight, and around 16 hours via Europe.

Language: Spanish is the official language, with English, French and Italian also widely spoken


Visas – not required for British nationals for stays of up to 90 days


No vaccinations are compulsory but due to a yellow fever outbreak in Brazil in 2017 country certificate requirements may change at short notice   



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