El Calafate is located near the Andes Mountains and has a rich history in relation to the evolution of Patagonia and today is considered the most important tourist town of the province, with an estimated 20,000 inhabitants stable population. The most important commercial activity is tourism and the usual means of life is the provincial public administration through various expressions such as Public Health, Municipality, Security Forces, as well as a remarkable growth of the labor construction work.
At a beautiful natural environment, this Patagonian city emerges with excellent accommodation and gastronomy services, apart from cultural and sport events. At El Calafate, service offers are wide and satisfactory even for the most demanding travelers: luxury hotels and estancias in the middle of nature with their varied proposals; excellent gastronomic proposals and the ideal environment to disconnect oneself from the rest of the world.
Regarding open door activities, during daytime, the offers are many: trekking on the Perito Moreno Glacier, horseback riding, tours to the steppe, mountain bike, fishing, among others. There are travel agencies that organize multi-adventure tours, specially the tour to Balcón del Calafate panoramic point and a petrified wood area. To the viewpoint it is possible to go on 4x4 o just walking; while the most daring adventurers can descend on zip-line. After a day full of excitement, the most luxurious hotels and estancias offer spa treatments ideal for relaxation.
In the meantime, gastronomy lovers shall be delighted. Plentiful breakfasts, countryside lunchs, traditional tea ceremonies, beverages and unforgettable dinners at the best hotels’ restaurants. All high quality proposals to help you enjoy your stay at the province of Santa Cruz.
Must see: Perito Moreno Glacier This glacier originates from the Southern Patagonian Icefield. In its descent, it reaches the southern branch of Lake Argentino, with a front of 5 km in length, outcropping over the water with a height of about 60 m. Thanks to its steady advance, dam the waters of the Rico arm of the lake, which creates a gap with the rest of the lake up to 30 m. Under pressure of this liquid mass leaks occur in the ice that create a tunnel with a vault of more than 50 m which eventually collapses in an unusual natural spectacle, easily presenciable by tourists, making it the most attractive Los Glaciares National Park, which integrates. Its name honors Francisco Moreno, director of the Museum of Scientific Society Argentina and active explorer of the southern region of Argentina.
3 miles long and 200 feet above the lake’s level, this ice wall moves slowly pushed by an ice stripe and gets lost in the horizon. A strong noise is heard, as if it were a thunder and -at that moment- a huge ice block falls resoundingly into the water. The glacier looks mute and, suddenly, it starts trembling from the deepest part of its interior. But this time nothing happens. Some years, the mythical Perito Moreno Glacier –the frozen giant- moves forward until touching the land and forming a bridge. The unforeseeable show of its collapse is the most expected event.
At El Calafate travel agencies organize tours to visit Perito Moreno Glacier’s walkways, at Los Glaciares National Park, in the same province. At Visitors’ Reception area, there is a circuit of comfortable and broad walkways providing a panoramic view, at different heights, that are also accessible by handicapped people. Trekking on the glacier is a traditional and unmissable experience. However, it is also possible to admire it from the lake, with catamarans that navigate to the north and the south, showing a completely different perspective as the boat sails.
Within the Park, there is a wide offer of gastronomic services that invites to enjoy nice meals and delicious coffees with the breathtaking view of the huge and mysterious Glacier.
The Los Glaciares National Park, is an Argentine national park that extends over 726,927 hectares located southwest of the province of Santa Cruz. It was created in 1937 to preserve an extensive area of continental ice, Andean mountains, cold forests, glaciers and large glacial lakes. Due to its spectacular beauty, its glaciological and geomorphological interest, and part of its endangered wildlife, UNESCO declared "World Heritage" in 1981, forming one of nine of their country. It is the westernmost Argentine national park in the country.
How to get El Calafate is 3.000 km from Buenos Aires, and 315 km City Rio Gallegos, Capital of the Province of Santa Cruz. El Calafate has, since the year 1999, with an international airport, located 22 km from our city. He arrive daily flights from Buenos Aires, Ushuaia, Bariloche, Trelew, Cordoba and Rosario and coming from Iguazú.
Best time to go Tourist seasons to visit El Calafate are divided into: Spring/Summer officially begins in August ending to the month of April at Easter, during this time you share with people from different parts of the world, even the most remote locations. The rest of the year is considered Autumn/Winter including, for some establishments, winter vacation time so it is advisable prior consultation. However, this does not prevent recreational activities, events, excursions to Perito Moreno Glacier, Upsala, Onelli and other glaciers.
Weather and how is the weather and clothes should you bring The climate in El Calafate is predominantly "Dry" and large stationary thermal variations do not prevent enjoy the different options of rides. Predominant westerly winds and Southwest. During the summer is greater frequency and intensity of the winds.The average annual temperature is 7.2 °C, while the average in July is around 1.8 °C and January is de18,6ºC.
As for clothing it is advisable that is always casual and loose and comfortable as possible. Hooded windbreaker and coats as gloves, scarf and jacket, footwear is especially recommended type training shoes or trekking shoes and do not forget about sunglasses and UV protection factor 40.
￼Language Although Argentina's official language is Spanish, Argentinian Spanish is different from the Spanish spoken in Spain. In some ways it sounds more like Italian than Spanish. There are also many other languages spoken in El Calafate, including Italian, German, English and French.
Currency The legal tender of course is the Argentine Peso. El Calafate is an international point of tourism, so, is possible to make payments in US Dollars (US $) or Euros in almost all shops, there are those who accept traveler's checks at bank rate and in some cases Chilean currency is also accepted.
Electricity The current in Argentina is 220-240v
Visas To enter Argentina, a passport is required and it must be valid for the duration of the stay (for touristic stays of up to 90 days). A visa for Argentina is not required by: Estados Unidos, Alemania, Andorra, Armenia, Australia, Austria, Barbados, Bélgica, Bolivia, Brasil, Bulgaria, Canadá, Colombia, República de Corea, Costa Rica, Croacia, Chile, Chipre, República Checa, Dinamarca, Ecuador, El Salvador, República Eslovaca, Eslovenia, España, Estonia, Finlandia, Francia, Grecia, Guatemala, Guyana, Haiti, Honduras, Hong Kong, Hungría, Irlanda, Islandia, Israel, Italia, Kazakhstan, Japón, Letonia, Liechtenstein, Lituania, Luxemburgo, Macedonia, Malta, México, Mónaco, Montenegro, Nicaragua, Noruega, Nueva Zelandia, Países Bajos, Panamá, Paraguay, Perú, Polonia, Portugal, Puerto Rico, Reino Unido de Gran Bretaña e Irlanda del Norte, Rumania, Federación rusa, San Cristobal y Nieves, San Marino, Santa Lucía, Santa Sede, San Vicente y las Granadinas, Serbia, Singapur, Sudáfrica, Suecia, Suiza, Suriname, Tailandia, República de Trinidad y Tobago, Turquía, Ucrania y Uruguay.
Mobile El Calafate has domestic and international calls, sending and receiving fax and Internet access in times of 08: 00hs to 24: 00hs every day. Public telephones work with legal tender coins or $ 0.05; $ 0.10; $ 0.25, $ 0.50 and $ 1, - both nickel and bronze. It is also possible to use Cellular telephony providers such as Claro, Personal and Movistar.
Wifi In some places (gas stations, hotels, hostels, bars and restaurants) you'd probably find free wi-fi.
More info and tips for plan your trip in www.elcalafate.tur.ar