El Calafate and El Chalten
The infamous Perito Moreno Glacier is just the tip of the iceberg...
El Calafate and El Chalten, sitting right on the western-most edge of the Patagonian Steppe, are one of the most visited regions in Argentina. Lying at the very edge of the Southern Ice fields, the second largest ice shelf on the planet, the area is full of glaciers, icebergs and stunning nature. The Perito Moreno Glacier, just an hour’s drive from El Calafate is one of the last advancing glaciers left today. To the north, the citadel of the Fitz Roy mount provides all sorts of great walking and outdoor opportunities.
This area of western Patagonia has been experiencing a huge boom in business over the last 10 years or so with the ever-growing popularity for seeing the famous glaciers and ice flows of the area.
The region itself is fairly barren, especially El Calafate, as it sits in the open grasslands that lead up to the mountains, but, once you get in amongst the peaks, the experience is outstanding and, with the Perito Moreno glacier running right down to the lake side, the views are jaw dropping.
For the more intrepid, there is a range of activities that can be done, with El Chalten being one of the best walking destinations in Argentina, horse riding, 4x4 excursions etc. There are also cruises that can be booked to go out onto Lago Argentina to go and see both the Perito Moreno and a few of the other major ice flows of the area, such as the Upsala glacier, up close.
On the whole, while the main areas around the glaciers can be busy, this is still a truly untouched wilderness area and, given all this space, it is hard not to be overwhelmed by its raw beauty.
Click here to view some video footage of the El Calafate area.
Click here to view some video footage of the El Chalten area.