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The pasarelas can be added onto the Glaciares Gourmet cruise.

Calafate, Argentina: A Slice of Patagonian Paradise

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Calafate, Argentina is home to some of the most beautiful landscapes on Earth. Snow capped mountains, massive glaciers, and breathtaking icebergs await in this slice of Patagonian paradise.


We had the pleasure of visiting here for 5 days, and loved every minute of it. There's a lot to know and plan before visiting Calafate, so we're here to share all we learned about this amazing place!


So let's jump right in, and talk about everything you need to know about traveling to Calafate, Argentina.

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Where is Calafate?

Calafate is located in south western Patagonia, all the way in the south of Argentina. It lies right next to the Andes Mountains which marks the border with Chile. Check below to see the exact location.

where is Calafate Argentina

Calafate is located in the south of Argentina in the region of Patagonia.


How to Get to Calafate, Argentina

The great things about Calafate, Argentina, is that it is very easily accessible. It is a very popular tourist destination for both Argentinians and foreigners alike. It has an airport just 20 minutes from the center of town, and it is small and easily navigable. There are several daily flights to Calafate from Buenos Aires, and plenty of other cities in Argentina.

Flight Tip: Using Skyscanner you can put from "your city" to "Argentina". This way you can see which is the cheapest airport in the area to fly. Also, you can check the calendar to see which are the cheapest dates for getting to Calafate, or Argentina in general.

Search for a flight to Calafate or around it:

Calafate is also connected to several other cities throughout Patagonia, and has direct bus service from Bariloche and other Patagonian towns.

Calafate, Argentina

Calafate is easy to reach, as it has its own airport.


Entry Requirements for Argentina

Argentina is back open for travel! Here's what you need to know about entering.


Covid Entry Requirements for Calafate, Argentina

In order to travel to Argentina you must show proof of a negative PCR test within 72 hours. If you are traveling from another city in Argentina, then you either need to be fully vaccinated, or take a PCR test.


Visa Entry Requirements for Calafate, Argentina

Many countries can enter visa-free into Argentina for a period of up to 90 days. Click here for a list of countries to see if you can enter visa-free.

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Local Adjustments

Traveling to a different country means you'll need to be prepared for a. few changes. Here are a few things to know about traveling to Argentina.


Language

The official language of Argentina is Spanish. But prepared for a very different type of Spanish. Argentinians have a very particular accent. The way they speak is kind of sing-songy like the way Italians speak. They also pronounce the y sound as "sh" which can be particularly confusing for those that don't speak Spanish as a first language.


Learning a bit of Spanish will definitely help you get around. That being said, Calafate is a particularly touristic town, so there are plenty of people that also speak English. Tours are almost always done in both English and Spanish.


Currency

Argentina is one of the most unique places in the world when it comes to currency conversion, and we're about the explain why.


Unfortunately, the economic situation in Argentina is not in great shape. There is an insanely high inflation rate, and the US dollar is in high demand. This is very sad for the citizens of Argentina, but very beneficial for tourists, as everything is super cheap.


Not only that, but because the dollar is in such high demand, places incentivize you to spend cash over card, and things are 50% off when paid in dollars. Insane right? So put your credit card away and get ready to use those dollars.


Outlets

Argentina uses different plugs than the rest of South America. The associated types are plug type C and plug type l. Plug C is the one which has two round pins (like Europe) and plug type I has three flat pins in a triangular pattern that are curved outwards. The country operates on a 220V supply voltage and 50Hz.


Water Potability

The water in Patagonia is as pure as it gets! Skip that bottled water and enjoy the crisp taste of the tap water. We suggest having a refillable water bottle with you at all times, especially if you are doing the Big Ice Trek! You can take water straight from the glacier, the best we've ever tasted.


Tipping in Argentina

The tipping culture throughout the country is 10% of the bill. Service is never included in the bill, so it is always great to have some cash to put on the table after your meal.

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Getting From the Airport to the City of Calfate, Argentina

Getting to the city from the airport is super easy. As soon as you go through customs there will be a taxi stand on your left. You just need to give them your name, and they will put you on the next bus, letting you know who your driver is.


The price of the taxi is just 600 pesos per person (a little less than $3 USD). It leaves as soon as its full, which for us only took a couple minutes from the time we walked out the door.

buses airport to town of Calafate

There are regular vans that run to the city of Calafate from the airport.


Getting Around Calafate, Argentina

The town of Calafate, Argentina itself is very easy to get around. It isn't too big, so is easily walkable to get to the center from almost anywhere in Calafate. There are also local taxis for very affordable prices, that you can pay in cash to get from one place to another inside Calafate.


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Getting To Parque Nacional de Los Glaciares

For getting to the National Glacier Park (the major highlight of the area), it is a 45 minute drive. There used to be public buses that ran to the park and back, but they are currently not running (as of January 2022).


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Calafate Argentina Pin
Calafate Argentina Pin

Buses in Calafate, Argentina

If you are looking to do day trips to places such as el Chalten, you can simply go to the main bus terminal and purchase your tickets there. There are three different companies that do routes to the other nearby Patagonian cities.


Rental Cars in Calafate, Argentina

There are plenty of different companies in the airport and in town. Cars are a little expensive in Calafate, starting at $50/day. They aren't really a great option unless you want to go to El Chalten and are short on time. Other than that, it's easier to just get the transportation included on your excursions.

rental cars in Calafate

There are plenty of car rental companies inside the airport of Calafate.


What to Do in Calafate, Argentina

Now for the fun part! Calafate, Argentina is full of fun things to do in and around the city. Here are some great options:


Things to Do In the Town of Calafate

The town of Calafate isn't so big, but definitely deserves a day to enjoy the downtown area, as well some beautiful nature that is just walking distance from the center. Here are some great things to do in the town of Calafate, Argentina.

Calafate, Argentina

Calafate is small, but has plenty to offer its visitors.

Try the Local Specialties

Did you know that Calafate is not just the name of the town, but also of a native berry? It can only be found in Patagonia, and is like a blueberry but better. Go to an heladeria and get Calafate ice cream, or head to a souvenir store to pick up a jar of Calafate jam.


Patagonia is also known for their amazing chocolate, alfajores (cookie sandwiches with dulce de leche inside), and their craft beer. Spend some time just visiting the local bakeries, shops, and bars in the area.

helado de Calafate

One of the specialties of Calafate is Calafate Ice cream- a must try!

Have a Craft Beer at Zorro

Speaking of craft beer, one of the most popular craft beers in Calafate is made at Zorro brewery. There is one at the entrance of the downtown area of Calafate, so make sure to stop by and grab a beer or two.


Go to the Ice Bar

Another popular activity to do in the town of Calafate is to go to Yeti Ice bar. Everything in the bar is made out of ice, and it is a truly unique experience if you haven't been to one before. Thinking it'll be too cold? Don't worry- they give you giant robes to wear while inside.


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Visit the Beach at Lago Argentina

Lago Argentina is the biggest lake in all of Argentina, and is fed by the famous glaciers in the area. It has a bright turquoise color, and is a true beauty. 


Just a 25 minute walk from the center of town you can find a small beach at the lake, which makes a great place to relax in the sunshine, or to watch a stunning sunset.

Laguna Argentina, Calafate

Laguna Argentina has a beach where you can swim, relax, and catch a great sunset.

Stroll Around Reserva Laguna Nimez

Located right next to Lago Argentina is a beautiful nature reserve with paths, ponds, and fields of flowers. The entire circuit takes about an hour to complete, and is 2,500 meters long. The price is 100 pesos for those that are from the province, 500 for Argentinians, and 1,000 for foreigners.

Calafate park
Reserva Calafate

This nature reserve is just outside the center of Calafate, Argentina.

Browse the Arsenal Market

Want to support local artists and get unique gifts to take home? Then head to the artisanal market. It's right in the center on Calafate, and you can find some really cool crafts made by the locals.

Arsenal Market Calafate

Check out the Paseo de Artesanos for some local crafts and souvenirs.

Visit Perito Moreno

This is the number one reason that people go to Calafate, Argentina. Perito Moreno is one of the most unique and magnificent glaciers in the world, and it is just an hour from the town of Calafate. There are a ton of different ways to enjoy Perito Moreno. Here are some of them:

Perito Moreno Glacier

Perito Moreno Glacier is the major highlight of Calafate, Argentina..

Las Pasarelas

This is the most popular way to see Perito Moreno, and it is free of charge (after paying the park entrance). Las Pasarelas are a set of boardwalks that get up close to have stunning views of the glacier.


There are 5 different circuits that take you to all different great viewpoints of Perito Moreno. Our personal favorite is the yellow route. Below is a map of the different routes that the Pasarelas include:

Pasarelas Perito Moreno

Las Pasarelas are one of the easiest ways to enjoy Perito Moreno, and are included in many of the tours.

The times of the routes are extremely different than the reality. For example, the yellow route shows that it takes an hour to circle, when it actually only takes 10 minutes (if you don't stop of course).


We would say with 2-3 hours you can do every path of the pasarelas, with plenty of time stopping for pictures and watching the pieces of ice break off of the glacier. There is also a restaurant, bathrooms, and a souvenir shop at the pasarelas.


In addition, it's good to know that there are plenty of tours that actually make a stop at the pasarelas. So there is a good chance that if you do some tours that you'll make it there a couple of times.


Pasarelas de Perito Moreno
Pasarelas de Perito Moreno
Perito Moreno, Calafate, Argentina

The pasarelas have several different routes to enjoy the glacier from several different angles.

Big Ice/ Minitrekking

Both Big Ice and Mintrekking are excursions done by the company Hielo y Aventura. Both of these excursions will take you trekking through the actual glacier of Perito Moreno, Minitrekking is a little less intense, while the Big Ice excursion really goes deep into the glacier.

Big Ice Excursion in Calafate, Argentina

The Big Ice Excursion allows you to trek inside Perito Moreno Glacier.

It is important to note that this is a very physically challenging excursion, and cannot be done by everyone.


Want to know more about everything to expect during the Big Ice Excursion? You can check out our full guide coming next week!

Want to get up close and personal with one of the most fascinating glaciers in the world? Then the Big Ice Perito Moreno excursion is for you!There are many different tours that go from Calafate to see Perito Moreno, but this is the only one where you will actually go

Read More

Want to book your Big Ice excursion? Here are a few ones that you can book:

If you'd rather book the mini trekking, you can also reserve your spot here:

Kayaking

This is a true bucket list activity! Mil Outdoor is a professional kayaking company that takes you out in a small group to kayak right next to the side of Perito Moreno Glacier! 


Want to know more about this once-in-a-lifetime experience? Just check out our full guide below.

Are you looking to have a once-in-a-lifetime experience? Then kayaking Perito Moreno is something that you will want to add to your bucket list! Perito Moreno Glacier is one of the most famous glaciers in the world, and is one of the most beautiful places to visit in Argentina. Located

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Want to book your excursion? Here are a few ones that you can choose from:


Glaciares Gourmet

Glaciers Gourmet was the tour that really took us by surprise, Being ex-cruiseship employees, we've been on a ton of boat tours. But Glacieres Gourmet was by far the most outstanding boat excursion we have ever taken.


Sail through the turquoise waters surrounded by mountains and visit three different glaciers, icebergs, and an exclusive Patagonian peninsula. 


Glaciares Gourmet cruise
Spegazzini Glacier, Patagonia
Glaciares Gourmet Cruise

Glaciares Gourmet is one of the best excursions in Calafate, Argentina.

Glacieres Gourmet is a full day excursion, and has various dining options, including a gourmet tasting menu. Want to know more? We have a full article with all the details below.

When we told our friends that we were going to Calafate, they told us that we absolutely needed to do the Glacieres Gourmet boat excursion to Perito Moreno Glacier. Being such experienced travelers, and ex-cruise ship employees, we hardly have high expectations for boat tours. However, we can definitely say

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Want to book your glaciers gourmet tour? Here are a few different options:


Go on an Astronomy Tour

This is one of the less popular tours from Calafate, Argentina, but we truly enjoyed it. Patagonia Night is a unique excursion that happens after the rest of the typical tours.


Starting at 7:30, you are taken to a local estancia where you will have a special dinner, learn all about astronomy, and see a truly spectacular sky lit up. We were even lucky enough to witness a line of 60 satellites!

Astronomy Tour in Calafate, Argentina

The astronomy tour includes a beautiful dinner on the farm.

Take a Day (or two) Trip to El Chalten

One of the other amazing destinations to check out while in the area of Calafate, Argentina is the stunning mountains of El Chalten. 


There are three local bus companies (all that leave at 8 am) to go to El Chalten, and they're all the same price (2,500 pesos each way). There are a couple of other buses going throughout the day such as 1:00, 2:00, and 4:00. The ride is 2 1/2-3 hours, and the latest one comes back at 7:30 pm.


The most famous hike is Laguna de los tres, which takes 6-8 hours roundtrip. If you want to do this one, we suggest spending a night, or renting a car and going super early. There are are also plenty of other popular hikes with gorgeous views of Mont Fitz Roy and other lakes.

El Chalten

El Chalten is a great day trip from Calafate.

Want to book your trip from Calafate to El Chalten? You can purchase them online in advance by clicking the links below:

Calafate to El Chalten Bus

El Chalten to Calafate Bus


Want to book a full excursion? Here are a few that you can choose from:


Local Food & Drinks in Calafate, Argentina

One of our favorite things to do in Calafate, Argentina is to try the local cuisine. There are tons of great restaurants in Calafate, as well as some local specialties. First we'll share with you some things you need to try.


Local Cuisine

Calafate

We mentioned this earlier, but Calafate is actually a special berry that is found in Patagonia. There are so many great things made with Calafate such as jams, ice cream, and a special licor.


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 Hot Chocolate

Patagonia is known for its exceptional chocolate, as there were a tons of immigrants that came from countries such as Switzerland and Austria years ago. Not only that, but a cup of hot chocolate is the perfect cure for a cold day in Calafate.


Craft Beer

There are four different craft beers in Calafate, Argentina, and the brewery of Zorro is one of the most popular. Grab a cold pint of craft beer to reward yourself from all the walking you're going to be doing.

craft beer in Calafate

Calafate has four different types of craft beer to try.

Alfajores

This is a true Argentinian specialty, and a must try in Calafate. The cookie sandwich stuffed with dulce de leche can be found in a variety of flavors, and are homemade from the bakeries in town. They are hands down the best ones we have ever had.


Lamb

This is the number one must try in Calafate! Just walk through the center and you'll find tons of restaurants with giant lambs slowly roasting in the window.


Guanaco

Guanaco is another very popular dish in Patagonia. The reason that this deer like animal is served so commonly is actually that there is an overpopulation, and they need to get rid of them as they are destroying the Patagonian nature.


The meat is a little dry, but pretty tasty. We would suggest trying it at least once. One of the places that serves guanaco is Wanaco, right in the city center.


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Where to Eat in Calafate, Argentina

There are tons of great places to eat and drink in Calafate, Argentina. However, we'll share with you a few of our favorites.


Isabel

Isabel is hands down one of the best restaurants in Calafate, Argentina. Their specialty is their slow roasted lamb dishes. 


We got the lamb carpaccio, and the "lamb with pasta" which we got with gnocchi. The meal was so huge it lasted us 3 different meals of leftovers! We then finished off with Calafate ice cream which was truly a treat.

best restaurant in Calafate

Isabel is one of the best restaurants in Calafate, and specializes in lamb.

Wanaco

This was the only restaurant we were able to find that served guanaco, which is a specialty of Patagonia. We suggest the cazuelo de guanaco (guanaco stew) and the lamb burger topped with egg and bacon.


We finished off with the sundae with brownie bits and dulce de leche. Substituting with Calafate ice cream. this was one of the best desserts we've had.


Pura Vida

This is one of the restaurants that we were recommended, but unfortunately couldn't get a reservation at. A 15 minute walk outside the center of town, Pura Vida has a great selection for both meat eaters and vegetarians. Just make sure you go early or make a reservation!


La Tolderia

This is more of a recommendation for a drink after dinner. Starting from 12:30 am on weekends they have live music and the place is full of both locals and tourists for a fun night out.


Where to Stay in Calafate, Argentina

Calafate, Argentina isn't the biggest town, but you definitely don't want to stay too far from the center. As the temperatures can drop pretty low at night., and chances are you had a long day out, you'll want to be close to the center.


The best way to ensure you're getting a place that's in the center is to see that it's close Ave del Libertador between Plaza de Los Pioneros and Av 17 de Octubre.

where to stay in Calafate

We suggest staying inside the center of Calafate, so you can easily walk to the bars and restaurants.


Safety in Calafate, Argentina

Calafate, Argentina is a super touristy town, and a very safe area. It's not the cheapest place to travel to, so chances of finding shady people are pretty low. We had no problem walking around at night, and never had any security issues at all.


Other Things to Know About Calafate, Argentina

Now you know all the best places to go, eat, and stay. But there's a few other things to keep in mind! Here it goes:


Weather in Calafate, Argentina

The weather in Calafate is super tricky. We went in the height of summer, and we never knew what to expect. One day it was super cloudy and cold, and the next it was hot and sunny to the point that we got extremely burnt. 


The locals say that you can see all four seasons in one day, and we truly experienced that, especially nearby Glacier National Park. The most important thing to know is that you should be prepared for all types of weather.

weather in Calafate

The weather in Calafate is very cold, and can even have chilly days in the summer.

If you plan on going in the spring or fall, then get ready to freeze. The temperatures drop pretty low in this area of the world, and there is a ton of snow. When it is sunny, it feel very warm and pleasant, but off the wind picks up then it isn't quite as pleasant.


Best Time to Visit Calafate, Argentina

When it comes to weather, the summer (December to February) is hands down the best time to visit. The weather is better, and the sun doesn't set until 10 pm! That being said, it is also the busiest and most expensive time to visit.


If you can bare the cooler temperatures and not the crowds, then it would be most favorable to visit in the shoulder months of November or March.

best time to visit Calafate, Argentina

The summer is the best time to visit Calafate, when you can witness sunny days, flowers in bloom, and plenty of animals.

How to Pack for Calafate, Argentina

Packing for a trip to Calafate is harder than it sounds! The biggest tip we can give you is to really layer up. Bring a lot of socks, good hiking sneakers, and a huge sense of adventure. If you're not from Argentina make sure to bring plenty of cash, as you'll find things cheaper this way.


Sunscreen is an absolute must, as the sun is extremely strong. It is also pretty dry here, so bring lotion and chapstick to keep your lips and skin hydrated.


Bring a good power bank, as the excursions are all day long, and the lower temperatures can drain your battery. Finally, make sure you bring enough space on your memory cards. We were there 5 days and took almost 3,000 pictures!

Have you ever though what would your travel essentials be? when you're traveling, there's certain situations you want to be prepared for. Here you will find a list of what we found out to be absolute necessary items.What to pack? That's the biggest question when preparing for a trip. No

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How Long Is the Perfect Trip to Calafate, Argentina?

Our five days were packed with fun, and we definitely could've stayed longer. For getting to see the highlights of Perito Moreno and the town of Calafate, we think it was the perfect amount of time.


If we were to do it again we'd spend an extra couple days so that we could've explored more of El Chalten. Many say that you can even spend a full week in El Chalten itself! Although we think three days would be enough to see the highlights.

kayaking Perito Moreno group

Calafate has so many different activities to do, making it easy to spend a full week there.


Now you are all ready to visit the stunning area of Calafate, Argentina! We know that you'll be absolutely fall in love with the stunning nature and delicious food of this Patagonian paradise.


Want to know more about the excursions in Calafate? Don't forget we have full guides for kayaking, Glaciares Gourmet, and The Big Ice Trekking Excursions. Planning on going to other areas of Argentina? Check out our full blog posts about Buenos Aires and Iguazu Falls!


Ready to book your next trip? Let us help! Now with Scratch Your Mapa Travel Planning you can save money and explore more. Want to know how? Just click here for more info!


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