In the south of Argentina, you will find a beautiful villa called El Calafate. Its located near the south of Lake Argentine, in the southwest of Santa Cruz province, in a region called la patagonia. It’s has over 4.000 inhabitants. The weather is dry. The average highest temperatura is 18°Celcius (64,4 F) in summer, when it doesn’t get dark until 11 PM. In winter the average lowest temperature is -2°Celcius (24,4 F) and the shortest day has only 8 hours of light.
It was founded on December 7th of 1927. It was name after a bush that’s very common in the south of La Patagonia. In spring it was yellow flowers and a purple fruit. According to the legend, whoever eats that fruit always comes back to la Patagonia.
Nowadays, it has become a main tourist destination. A must-visit for people of foreign lands who wish to see the very best of Argentina. The landscapes seem to be taken from a fairy tale. With its gardens, variety of trees and flowers, El Calafate offers the perfect combination of relaxation and adventure. Nature invites you to explore.
If you visit this part of the earth, you’ll be able to see one of the natural wonders of the world: Perito Moreno Glacier. This majestic glacier is over 60 meters tall at its highest point; and It’s front, located over Los Témpanos Channel, is 5 km wide. This glacier displays a stunning and puzzling phenomenon, for its great mass of ice advances continuously, causing the accumulation, rupture and fall of gigantic blocks of ice. Pieces of ice of diverse sizes fall continuously, producing noise that can be compared with a strident thunder. The glacier breaks completely every three or four years. This breaking of the Perito Moreno is a very moving spectacle that can’t be seen anywhere else in the world. When the time of the breaking is near, people from around the glove set camp next to the glacier and wait for the magical moment.
You can watch it from a boat or from balconies. “The balconies are more or less higher than the glacier and we had a wonderful view over the slowly streaming immense mass of ice”, says a traveler identified as Vteen.
And you can do more than just observing the Perito Moreno glacier. You can walk on it as well. With the help of mountain guides, you’ll first cross the Rico branch and walk through the woods. At the end of the way, they’ll give you crampons. Once you’ll put them on, the experts will lead small groups of people, to walk for about two hours among turquoise blue cracks, small lagoons and great ice peaks. The walk is easy and it’s recommended for people between ten and sixty years old. A traveler in virtualtourist.com, identified as elpariente, said “Anybody who doesn’t have problem in the knees or in the hips can do it”. It’s important to take long pants, a sweater, a jacket, sport shoes (trekking shoes, if you have), gloves and a hat. It’s fundamental to also take sunblock and sunglasses. It’ll be cold, but the sun reflected in the ice is very powerful.
But don’t think the Perito Moreno Glacier is all Calafate has to offer.
You can also take the All Glaciers Cruise. It’s a long tour that lasts 12 or 13 hours, most of those hours are spent on a boat. You’ll see deep blue rivers and gigantic icebergs floating by. waters of lake argentine and marvel in the beauty of the natural landscapes. You’ll see gigantic ice walls and majestic icebergs of Los Glaciares National Park.
The glacier boat excursion departs from Punta bandera Harbor. You’ll navigate across Lake Argentino towards the impressive Upscala Glacier. This glacier is among the largest of the world and is the biggest one in Argentina. It’s 60 meters tall above water, but over 110 meters deep in a 700 meters deep part of the lake.
Then the boat tour will head to the Spegazzini Channel. There you will be able to see the Seco Glacier. After that, you’ll reach the highest glacier in the National Park: the Spegazzini Glacier, which has a magnificent steep and a dramatic icescape that goes around the mountainside into lake. The journey then goes on down the Iceberg Channel, approaches Onelli Bay and takes you to the northem wall of Perito Moreno Glacier.
If you get tired of seeing glaciers, don’t worry. You have plenty of other activities.
Provided that your visit Calafate in spring or summer, you can book the Estancia El Galpon Horse Riding Experience. It’ll be a memorable gaucho (cowboy) experience at estancia El Galpon, a traditional argentine ranch in the shores of the stunning Lake Argentino. You’ll spend half a day outdoors, exploring the beautiful surroundings, learning about the interesting gaucho culture, and being marveled by the unparalleled views of the Patagonian countryside.
The experience starts with a visit to the stables, where you’ll find horses waiting for you. They’ll teach you the basics of how to ride the horse. Then you’ll ride to the Centinela River. During the experience, you’ll see marvelous views of Lake Argentine, Nene, Coirones and Mata Negra in the natural reserve Laguna de los Pájaros (Birds Lagoon). If you are lucky, you’ll also see some of the local wildfire. For example, owls, finches and hares. While returning to the ranch, you’ll see really amazing views of the Cordillear de los Andes (which separates Argentina from Chile) and the icebergs near the Upscale glacier in the distance.
Once the morning’s ride finishes, you’ll eat real gaucho delicacies outdoors, meaning that you’ll have lunch while enjoying the magnificent vistas.
While in Calafate, don’t forget to eat Patagonic Lamb. It’s truly delicious. And don’t leave the town without a lot of chocolate for you and your friends. There are several chocolatiers along the main street. You’ll be able to buy all kinds of freshly made chocolates, and they’ll invite you to watch them making it. The chocolates may be pricey, but it’s definitely worthy.