Brrrr! The differences in climate across the different parts of Argentina, the 8th largest country in the world, are fully exemplified in El Calafate, a town in Patagonia. El Calafate is the starting point to visit the Perito Moreno glacier, one of the most famous glaciers in the world. The primary reason El Calafate is a tourist attraction at all is because of that glacier and the Los Glaciares glacier park overall.
Perito Moreno is about a 1.5 hour drive from El Calafate, but the time flies by as you drive by the varied landscapes that make up the Argentinian scenery (keep an eye out for the Calafate plants after which the town is named). For much of the journey, on your right, you will also see the stunning Lago Argentina, with its creamy turqoise blue water, and ice-capped Andes mountains on the horizon, creating the picture perfect backdrop to your visit to the glacier park.
When you finally reach the vicinity of the glacier park and Perito Moreno in general, there are a number of ways to spend your day. You can walk the catwalks (as you venture further into them, there are more stairs involved) that lead you to different viewpoints and angles of the enormous Perito Moreno glacier, or you can actually trek onto the glacier itself, if you dare! You can also take a boat ride up close to the glacier for an up close and personal glimpse into its magnificence. Or you can spend your time viewing some of the other popular glaciers in the park.
My favorite part of the trip by far was walking the catwalks. I didn’t fully understand how expansive the glacier was until I was able to do that and the sight of the full glacier blew my mind! It’s crazy that the Perito Moreno glacier is still growing and active, evidenced by the many crashes of ice into the lake that you hear while watching the glacier. Keep a camera on hand for that!
Here are just a few of my snaps from the visit below!
El Calafate Town
The actual town of El Calafate is quaint and small, primarily providing quick shelter for those in town for the glacier park. There is one main street on which most of the hotels and restaurants are located, and the heart of this street is probably about 10 blocks long. I cannot emphasize enough that of all of the restaurants in Argentina, probably THE FAVORITE of my companions during our trip was in El Calafate – for true Patagonian and local Argentinian cuisine, go to Pura Vida. The decor is bright and fun, and the food is insanely good!!
There is a good chance you will have to wait if you go to Pura Vida, but in the meantime head over to Wilckens, a wine bar down the street from Pura Vida, for a thorough sampling of Argentinian wines (Malbecs are a must!) and some light bites to hold you over!
Stay tuned for my next post on the enormous but lovely city of Buenos Aires, coming to the blog next week! And in case you missed it, here’s the link to Part 1 of my Argentina trip! XOXO