Reasons to go

  • El Calafate is a jumping off point for the region's most famous attractions including Perito Moreno Glacier
  • World class hiking awaits in the Fitz Roy range, and the mountains of Los Glaciares National Park
  • It is well connected to the rest of Argentina through its domestic airport, and also to Chile by bus
  • Only have one day here? Choose one of the many day trips, or hop between restaurants, bars and shops in the bustling centre.

Things to do around El Calafate

Perito Moreno Glacier

This enormous glacier is just 50 miles from El Calafate, and is one of the most famous of Argentina's natural wonders. Fed by the Southern Patagonian Ice Cap, it is one of the few glaciers in the world that is advancing, and is also one of the few you can get right up close to, no experience required.

Gaze at the 70 metre high icy wall from walkways that snake around the woods facing the glacier, or don crampons and crunch across the surface on an ice hike. 

El Calafate

Hiking in Los Glaciares

Three hours from El Calafate sits the mountain town of El Chalten, a mecca for trekking enthusiasts. It is situated right in the midst of the Fitz Roy range, so you can walk straight out onto hiking trails around Mount Fitz Roy and to views of the ice cap.

For the more adventurous, there is the option to head out on longer overnight hikes, or even an 8+ day expedition onto the Ice Cap itself.

El Chalten hiking

Laguna Torre hike

Day trips

Perito Moreno is the most popular day trip from El Calafate, but there are a number of other options for exploration. You could head out on an exhilarating downhill mountain biking trip, go kayaking among the ice floes at Upsala glacier, or experience rural Patagonian life by spending a day exploring a traditional estancia and enjoying a hearty Patagonian asado.

nibepo aike cowboys

Free afternoon

Often people end up with a free morning or afternoon in El Calafate in between other destinations/activities. If you fancy a few hours of learning, you could consider a visit to the Glaciarium just outside of town, where you can get to know the history and science behind the Patagonian Ice Field and it's glaciers. Alternatively, in the town itself, there are numerous shops, bars and restaurants where you can easily while away an afternoon!

Glaciarium El Calafate
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Swoop says

It's easy to pass through El Calafate without taking advantage of its proximity to the glacier and the stunning hiking trails nearby. Take a day to make the most of it before moving on to El Chalten.

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What our customers think of El Calafate

El Calafate trips scored 4.4/5 from 207 reviews

Both El Calafate and El Chalten were fun to spend time in. Great shopping and food, showers too! Read the full review

Travelled: February 2019

Brian McIntyre - United States Of America

We really enjoyed walking and exploring El Calafate. We ate at some great local places, La Zaina and Buenos Cruces where we talked with other locals and learned more about El Calafate.

Travelled: November 2017

Tracy - Buenos Aires


Where to stay

El Calafate is a tourist hub, and although 5* hotels are few and far between, there are some comfortable, boutique gems to be found in the centre.

If you're after something a little more special, head out of the city to a luxury lodge, where you will have private guides for your wildlife spotting, trekking, horse riding or mountain biking excursions, beautiful food stunning views to return to. In the town itself, backpacker hostels and B&Bs abound, close to the restaurants and bars.

El Calafate

How to get to there

From outside Patagonia: Catch a flight to Buenos Aires and connect with a flight to El Calafate airport. There are up to three flights per day from Buenos Aires to El Calafate, taking approximately three hours. Discover more about getting to Patagonia.

From Torres del Paine: Torres del Paine National Park is geographically close to El Calafate, but you do need to cross the border between Chile & Argentina. You can get between the two by road in approximately four hours.

From Aysen: Cross from Aysen at Lago O'Higgins/San Martin - this is a unique way to get into the national park as it involves a lake crossing and a trek, and you'll really feel off the tourist trail.

From the Lake District: Fly from Bariloche to El Calafate, or alternatively, cover the 1,500km on a road trip through some stunning scenery.

From Tierra del Fuego: Fly from Ushuaia in Tierra del Fuego direct to El Calafate. 

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Chloe says

It feels a bit like the first real "town" in the middle of Patagonia after vasts lands where there is nothing but pampa or only a few estancias. I like the proximity to the lake where you can see black head swans and incredible sunrises.

Chloe Mazille Patagonia Specialist

Hiking near El Calafate

Customer photo Bob-Mary-Hertzfeld

Day hiking from El Chalten

Los Glaciares National Park is home to the magnificent Fitz Roy Massif and more glaciers than any other region in Patagonia. The park is renowned for its day hiking - nowhere else …

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Trekking in Los Glaciares

Trekking in Los Glaciares

Trek amongst jagged, snow-capped peaks and electric-blue lakes, venture out into open valleys and private reserves, or visit the icy glaciers that roll from the Southern …

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Ready to plan your Patagonia adventure?



We'll spend some time listening to your aspirations, then discuss the kind of experience that might suit you.



Next we'll discuss the options, shortlist the best trips for you and present you our impartial recommendations.



We'll place a 24 hour hold on your preferred option - without obligation - whilst we talk through the details.

Whatever your budget, group size, length of stay, preferred activity or appetite for adventure, we can help.