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El Calafate is a booming tourist center during the season, and a sleepy closed-up town the remainder of the year. The one main street has a growing number of shops with the usual array of t-shirts and gear, and restaurants; most of the hotels are an easy walk to the center.
The "must do's" are:
Other visits available in the area:
A visit to Estancia Alice's "El Galpon" where a presentation on sheep farming, sheep shearing, sheep this and that is given, followed by a demonstration by two sheep dogs on rounding, moving and holding sheep and then topped off by a traditional "asado" (Argentine BBQ). El Galpon also has added 16 rooms in a cozy new building, with sweeping vistas down to the lake. This is generally categorized as a late afternoon-evening tour, returning back to Lago Argentino mid-evening, after dinner.
The regular Upsala-Onelli glacier cruise - a day on a catamaran cruising on Lago Argentino to view glaciers. At the northwest end of Lago Argentino, is the Upsala Glacier, considered one of the longest glaciers in South America at more than 36 miles long and more than 2 miles wide. The modern catamaran leaves from Punta Bandera (31 miles from Lago Argentino), battles the waters going producing a bumpy ride, but has a smooth run back with stops at Glacier Spegazinni and at Bahia Onelli for a walk through a lovely forest to Lago Onelli, a quiet, small, ice-berg studded lake with spectacular vistas to the glacier and mountains. The modern catamaran has a snack bar and facilities.
- The Eolo Lodge, a Relais & Chateaux property, located between El Calafate and the the Parque Nacional Los Glaciares, has a spectacular setting with commanding views of the Patagonian steppes and the lake.
- In town, options include the venerable Los Alamos, within easy walking distance to the funky, growing town; Imago and Xelena, on the outskirts of town.
- The charming and down to earth Nebepo Aike Estancia offers a different dimension to your stay and a chance to experience a historic working estancia.
El Calafate Av Max Av Min Av Precip. inches
JAN FEB MAR APR MAY JUN JUL AUG SEP OCT NOV DEC 65 65 61 54 45 41 39 43 50 56 61 64 45 45 42 37 32 28 27 29 33 37 41 44 0.50 0.30 0.50 1.00 1.20 0.80 1.00 0.80 0.60 0.50 0.40 0.60