El Calafate Tours: A Popular Patagonia Destination
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El Calafate Tours: A Popular Patagonia Destination

5 min read

Sep 17, 2013

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By Gretchen Kraut

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Last updated on December 23rd, 2020 at 03:51 pm

El Calafate Tours are some of the most popular tours we offer in Patagonia. El Calafate, Patagonia is a sense of adventure and natural beauty. Two of the highlights are Torres del Paine in Chilean Patagonia and El Calafate in Argentine Patagonia. These two are must-sees if you want to see jagged mountains and impressive glaciers and enjoy some scenic hiking. Read on to find out about our El Calafate tours, and how to combine El Calafate with Torres del Paine into one itinerary.

El Calafate Tours

El Calafate City Center

El Calafate is the gateway to Glaciers National Park.  The most famous glacier in the park and, an international-must-see, is the Perito Moreno Glacier.  The breath-taking, 60-meter high wall of glacial ice seems alive as the ice creaks, groans, cracks and falls away. Watch as it disappears beneath the surface of piercing blue water below and resurfacing anew as its own petite (relatively speaking) iceberg.

On a Los Glaciares Tour, take a catamaran boat ride along the glacier and amongst the iceberg fields.  Then bundle up as the sun begins to set. Sip champagne, chilled in glacial ice water, and experience the ultimate galaxy viewing as the stars begin to appear.

Along with Glaciers National Park, El Calafate offers numerous other natural attractions such as icy lakes, a petrified forest, and several surrounding peaks. Horseback riding through this idyllic and mesmerizing landscape can also be added as an additional jaunt for those who wish to entertain their inner gaucho!

Where To Stay on an El Calafate Tour:

Alto Calafate

Lone lodge surrounded by El Calafate nature

This hotel and spa offer stunning views of Lake Argentino and neat, clean rooms.  The huge open fireplace is the best place to sip a glass of Malbec wine while taking in the surrounding beauty.

Kau Yatun Hotel de Campo & Estancia

Cabin themed lodge in El Calafafe

This country-style hotel gives the feeling of a luxurious hunting lodge. Surrounded by plains, trees, mountains, and sheep it offers the perfect escape.  The rooms are spacious, quiet, and cozy.

Eolo Lodge

Two guests at Eolo starring at beautiful view of El Calafate

This is the ultimate luxury lodge in El Calafate.  Nestled all on its own on the plains between rugged mountains, the Eolo Lodge’s rooms boast 360-degree views of all the natural splendor that its rustic surroundings have to offer.  This is THE romantic getaway.

Combine El Calafate Tours with Torres del Paine Hiking

People on horse riding tour of Torres Del Paine

Nestled between the Magellanic subpolar forests and Patagonian Steppe is Torres del Paine National Park. This park is a personal favorite of mine (not only on the South American continent but globally speaking as well) and it will, without a doubt, captivate any traveler who visits.  Approaching the park on the rustic, dusty roads, passing majestic condors, and wild guanacos batting their almost cartoon-like eyelashes, you feel how the cowboys of the Wild West must have felt standing on the brink of the unexplored frontier.

Patagonia is the wild west of yesteryear and evokes an almost visceral reaction to run free in its surreal, idyllic beauty. From the park entrance and throughout, it does not cease to astound.  Almost immediately upon entering the park, Laguna Amarga, a salty lake, comes into view behind which the Torres themselves jut up and beckon.  It is no wonder why British aristocrat, Florence Dixie, the first explorer in the area in 1879, deemed these mighty towers: Cleopatra’s Needles.

More rugged

Amongst the other, more rotund, jagged, peaks, these three towers seem more reminiscent to those of the slender Guilin Mountains of China than their surrounding counterparts.  It is precisely their unique formation that makes them the icon for this park. Going deeper into the park, the next pair of mountains to be encountered are the Cuernos del Paine (the horns).  Standing below these peaks, each one with its own layers of varying coloration and shape is nothing short of humbling.

Finally, at the heart of the park is the Grey Glacier at the end of Grey Lake.  Walking out on the sandbar in the middle of Grey Lake and having the monumental glacier and its surrounding blue-tinted icebergs floating about it, has engraved itself in my mind’s eye and secured itself as one of my fondest memories of encounters with nature.  Hiking and camping in this park is unforgettable; between the solitude and infinite natural beauty, a one-day to multiday trip here will only spark a desire to return to South America to experience more.

Getting From Torres del Paine to El Calafate

There are two main ways to travel between these points of interest.  By far the very easiest and cheapest is taking a bus from Puerto Natales 112 km (70 miles) south of Torres del Paine.  The bus journey takes 5 hours and many bus companies cover this route with high frequency.  During the high season, there is also the option of a charter flight, which can be taken from Puerto Natales directly to El Calafate.  The flight time is one hour and is available Monday-Friday.

Book an El Calafate Tour!

These two destinations are an absolute MUST in any Patagonia adventure and offer the perfect linkage point between your respective Chilean and Argentine itineraries. Contact our travel consultants today to receive a free quote for a Torres del Paine and El Calafate tour, customized perfectly to your liking!

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Last updated on December 23rd, 2020 at 03:51 pm

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