Cerro Calafate, Lago Argentino, and Los Glaciares National Park – these are the natural monuments that surround the town of El Calafate, each more oversized than the next. El Calafate is built around Round Bay (Bahia Redonda) on the southern shore of the Argentino, which is Argentina’s biggest lake. Wander the streets of El Calafate and you are sure to be taken in by the warmth and helpfulness of its residents. Pitched roof houses are typical examples of Patagonian architecture and the avenues are lined with flowers and pine trees. An El Calafate city tour is a great way to get a quick perspective on the past and present of this singular Patagonian town.
In February, the town celebrates the anniversary of Lago Argentino’s naming by one of the country’s premier statesmen, Francisco P. Moreno (from whom the famous nearby glacier gets its name). The main streets are filled with asados (Argentine-style grills), music concerts, folkloric dancing, and a fireworks show. In July, when the snow starts to cover every inch of the landscape, the good times continue with the “Fiesta del Hielo” (Ice Festival). Ice skating, ice hockey, ice sculpture competitions, sled races, and music concerts provide 3 days packed with activity and winter season spirit.
In town, 2 must see sites are the Glaciarium and the Museo Centro de Interpretacion Historica. The Glaciarium Museo del Hielo Patagonico is a cultural and science center dedicated to study of Patagonia’s glaciers. Audiovisual exhibits and a 3D movie theater bring life to these topics. Definitely visit Glacio Bar, which has been built with glacial ice. Visitors to the museum are supplied with thermal hats and gloves. The second museum is also interesting for its focus on the Patagonia’s fascinating prehistoric era, including exhibits on dinosaurs, mega mammals, cave art, and various ice ages.
The construction of an airport in 2000 resulted in easier access and an increase in the number of travelers who arrive to the town to explore its many attractions. Several airlines serve El Calafate around the year, but the frequency of services decreases during the winter months. Prior to the opening of the airport, the most common method for getting to El Calafate was by bus, particularly from Rio Gallegos. This remains another option for travelers. For travelers with a private car, the roads around El Calafate (to Rio Gallegos and El Chalten) are well-paved and equipped with a full range of services. If driving, distances from El Calafate are: 78 km to Perito Moreno Glacier, 220 km to El Chalten, 320 km to Rio Gallegos, and 23 km to the El Calafate International Airport. El Chalten is an ideal base for travelers who want to spend a day or two or more trekking, especially around Mount Fitz Roy.
Do you have any idea to take a holiday in el calafate? We suggest you stay in one of the beautiful apartments that are available.