Budget Tours and Activities in El Calafate, Argentina
In the heart of a grassy pampa, 80km away from El Perito Moreno, at the foot of the Andes Mountains and by the Lago Argentino, El Calafate is the city from which we leave to visit the Parque Nacional los Glaciares. El Calafate has its name from a bush with yellow flowers and black berries (resembling blueberries), commonly found in the region (excellent Calafate jams can be brought in the city). El Calafate has incredibly grown from a humble village of pioneers surrounded by flat fields to a touristic city, with an airport created in 2001. Like every new city in Patagonia, El Calafate has a horizontal shape, follows a grid plan and has low constructions, usually made of wood. You will find some nice restaurants and bars with a relaxed ambiance, where you can easily exchange recommendations with locals and other travellers. The weather varies a lot in this region. Make sure to have a good windbreaker and a cover for your backpack if you are travelling in winter, when the temperature is easily under 0°C but also during summer as sudden gusts of wind can break the enjoyable temperature of around 20°C. It is also worth knowing that it rains three times less in El Calafate than it does at the Perito Moreno glacier. For a long time, the city has been deserted from April to September but local authorities have decided to develop winter tourism. If you do not mind the cold or if you prefer off-season travelling with few tourists, most hotels and activities such as Perito Moreno, Upsala remain open during this period of the year.
This 6-hour tour begins in El Calafate, where you will be picked-up at your hotel to reach the Glaciers National Park in southern Argentina, where you will visit one of the few glaciers left on the planet that is still advancing, the Perito Moreno. You will be able to stay up to 4 hours on site to explore all the different footbridges offering panoramic views of the Perito Moreno. You will also have the services of a bilingual English and Spanish speaking guide to provide you information about the phenomenon, and introduce you to one of the most spectacular places on earth. Drop-off at your hotel in El Calafate is also included. However food and beverages are at your own expense as well as the National Park entrance fee (USD$26 per person), which will need to be paid when entering the park. If you decide to go for a boat ride passing in front of the towering wall of advancing ice, you will also need to pay directly to the boat company.
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After pick-up from your hotel, we will ride approximately 15 km until we reach the entrance to the Huyliche Mountain. There, you will climb to the top of the mountain, where you will meet your English, Spanish and French-speaking guide and your driver to begin a 90-minute 4x4 tour. Enjoy the sights of the steppes, continuing on until you reach an elevation of 3,445 feet. The first stop is a natural panoramic view on the stunning town of El Calafate and the central part of the Argentine Lake. You'll also enjoy views of the Andes mountain range and the glacier accumulation area, towards the Boca Del Diablo, the narrowest part of the lake. If you're lucky and the day is sunny, you will get a clear view on Mount Fitz Roy and Mount Torre based in El Chalten, and you might also see a few condors flying above. We will continue upwards to El Laberinto de Piedras. This is a formation dating from the Cretaceous period of 85 million years ago, where there was once a river and you can now find fossils dating from this prehistoric time. Finally, we will descend by a different path to visit the Mexican Hats and drop you off back in El Calafate. A snack is included in this 3 hours tour. Do not forget to bring appropriate clothing such as a jacket, gloves, sunglasses and hiking boots to be comfortable during the tour.
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Immerse yourself in the scenic wilderness of Los Glaciares National Park on a full-day tour to El Chalten and the Viedma Glacier from El Calafate. We will leave El Calafate early in the morning for this full-day tour of Patagonia's dramatic landscape and drive towards El Chalten in a comfortable bus. Upon arrival, you will head to the exclusive Refugio Laguna Condor, located in a stunning location that offers amazing views of the De Las Vueltas River. Enjoy a lunch with fresh and local food at the EcoCamp, before continuing to the picturesque bay of Bahia Tunel, located about 10.5 miles (17 kilometers) south of El Chalten. Here, you will set sail to see the Viedma Glacier, cruising south along the shore to enjoy the panoramic views of Mount Fitz Roy and Mount Huemul. Upon arrival at Hornos Cape on the far southeast coast, you will be able to marvel at the cinematic views of the glacier and its immense icebergs that have broken off the glacier. Surrounded by beautiful snow-capped mountains, the glacier is the lake's main source of water and flows directly to the Southern Patagonian Ice Sheet until it reaches the Viedma Lake, extending to 130 feet (40 meters). Take in the views of the arid edges and surrounding mountains that create the stunning setting for Argentina's largest glacier. In addition to lunch, snacks on board of the boat, and the cruise on Viedma Lake, the round-trip transfers from El Calafate to El Chalten are also included in this tour.
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Experience the majestic icy expanse of the Perito Moreno Glacier on this full-day tour from El Calafate. Trek among the pristine streams and peaks of Los Glaciares National Park with a professional guide, and get an up-close perspective on the fantastic formation with a 1-hour boat ride through a glacial lagoon. You might even witness the glacier's signature movement and cracking sounds from detaching icebergs! Perito Moreno Glacier has become a favorite Patagonian destination thanks to its impressive expanse, accessibility and continuous movement. Your icy adventure begins with pickup at your El Calafate hotel and a scenic drive to Los Glaciares National Park, so named for the abundance of glaciers found here, including Upsala, Onelli and Spegazzini glaciers. Let your professional guide handle the driving while you soak up the splendor of Lago Argentino framed by majestic peaks and icy islands. Stretch your legs and take an easy hike along the park's pathways for diverse views of the Perito Moreno's 200-foot-(60-meter)-high, blue-tinged walls. Watch closely to see giant slabs of ice detach from the glacier and slide into the surrounding lagoon. Loud cracking noises are sure to alert you to any movement! For another perspective, enjoy a 1-hour cruise through the lagoon in front of the Perito Moreno. Sail along the massive glacier's wall and in between floating icebergs for an awe-inspiring watery perspective on this natural wonder. After exploring the park, relax on the return drive to El Calafate, where your 9-hour tour concludes in the early evening. Food and beverages are at your own expense as well as the National Park entrance fee (USD $30), payable only in cash and local currency (ARS$500) when entering the park.
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Enjoy a 4 hours trek across Perito Moreno Glacier in this full-day trip in Los Glaciares National Park from El Calafate. Travel to the park by bus, board a boat to cruise across Lago Argentino and conquer the glacier. After leaving your El Calafate hotel with your packed lunch in the early morning, board your coach for the journey to Los Glaciares National Park, where information about the adventure that lies ahead will be given by your guide. Upon arrival at Bajo Las Sombras harbor after two hours of bus, you will board a boat for a 10-minute ride to Brazo Rico. Meet your local guide, who will give you your trekking equipment. We will hike down the shore of Lago Argentino and then walk through the forest along Brazo Rico to Perito Moreno's base. You will get to climb onto a viewing platform to get an awe-inspiring view of the 200-foot (60-meter) front wall of one of the world's only advancing glaciers. After listening to a safety briefing from your guide as you gaze out over the massive ice field, put on your crampons and prepare to scale the glacier. Although this trek can be difficult, rest assured that with your guide leading the way, you can safely ascend the glacier's sloping surface. As you breathe the bracing air, you will learn about glaciology and geography from your guide. You will discover waterfalls, lagoons, streams, ice caves and deep crevasses along the way, formed by the constantly moving glacier's ice melt. Enjoy a lunch break at a scenic point before retracing your steps to the glacier's edge, spending about 4 hours total on the ice. We will then return to the Rico Arm for the boat and bus journey back to El Calafate and finish your day's adventure with drop-off at your hotel in El Calafate. Food and beverages are at your own expense as well as the National Park entrance fee (USD $30), payable only in cash and local currency (ARS$500) when entering the park. The minimum age for this tour is 18 years and the maximum age is 45 years. Pregnant women, participants with back problems, heart complaints or other serious medical conditions are not allowed as a good level of fitness is required and a high level of difficulty is involved in the tour.
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