This small Patagonian town is the starting point to get to know the most beautiful glaciers of the Argentinean Patagonia. If you’re short on time, check out the best itinerary for El Calafate in 2 days.
El Calafate, a geographical jewel in the heart of Argentina, is distinguished by its exceptional location. Surrounded by the majestic mountains of the Andes and embraced by the waters of Lake Argentino, this city is a must-see destination for travellers exploring the wonders of Argentine Patagonia.
El Calafate is a truly magical destination in Argentina’s Patagonia, where natural beauty is intertwined with a wide range of outdoor experiences.
Although its fame is largely due to the impressive Perito Moreno glacier, this city offers much more than just ice. If you have 2 days to visit El Calafate, we recommend you to focus on the Perito Moreno glacier and the navigation on the Southern Ice Field.
Check out guide to travel to El Calafate you are planning a visit to the city.
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How many days are necessary to visit El Calafate?
Contrary to what you might think, El Calafate has plenty of activities to do, apart from the Perito Moreno glacier and sailing on Lake Argentino.
The minimum you should dedicate is two days, although if you have more availability it is better to dedicate up to 4 days to visit a nearby Patagonian estancia, go trekking in the hills and even take a tour to see the starry skies of El Calafate.
Things to do in El Calafate in 2 days
Day 1: Visit the Perito Moreno glacier from the footbridges and navigation on Lake Argentino (alternative trekking on the Perito Moreno glacier from September to May).
Day 2: Navigation through the Southern Ice Field to see the Upsala and Spegazzini glaciers.
Day 1: Visit the Perito Moreno glacier by walking the walkways and taking the boat trip.
The essential activity in El Calafate in 2 days is of course to visit its main jewel, the Perito Moreno glacier. However, there are many ways to get to know this imposing mass of ice whose walls are more than 60 metres high and whose front reaches five kilometres.
🔎 On the official website of Los Glaciares National Park you can find the opening hours and the entrance fee to Los Glaciares National Park where the Perito Moreno is located.
The options for visiting the Perito Moreno Glacier are as follows:
- Walk along the wooden walkways on the side of the glacier. It is ideal for taking good photographs of the ice wall from up close.
- View the Perito Moreno glacier from a boat on Lake Argentino. Catamarans depart frequently from the lakeshore and approach the glacier ice wall. Here you will be able to contemplate small glacier breaks and the roar it generates on impact with the water of the lake.
- Trekking on the glacier, this fascinating adventure is only available from September to April and is a full-day excursion in itself. Therefore, if you only have two days in El Calafate you will have to choose between seeing the Perito Moreno glacier from the walkways and the boat, or doing the hike over the glacier, as the second day is worth the navigation to the Uspsala and Spegazzini glacier.
📷 Book the excursion to visit the Perito Moreno glacier with the option of a boat trip to see the walls of the glacier more closely. If you are adventurous, you can go trekking on the Perito Moreno glacier, an activity you will never forget in your life.
To recharge your batteries and relax after the excursion to the Perito Moreno glacier, what better than visiting the Ice Bar in El Calafate at night, a real experience.
Here the ice is the main protagonist. The main attraction is to dive into the Cavern room, at minus 10 degrees Celsius, to enjoy a drink surrounded by ice sculptures and wearing warm clothes provided by the bar.
Afterwards, you should still enjoy the bar but at a lower temperature. The so-called warm sector with a temperature of 5 degrees awaits you to continue tasting drinks and having a bite to eat.
Day 2: Navigation through the Southern Ice Field to visit the Upsala and Spegazzini glaciers.
The last day in El Calafate is a full day excursion on a catamaran, sailing around the glaciers of Lake Argentino.
The Seco glacier, in retreat, is the first to be seen, although one of the main landmarks is to approach the Spegazzini glacier, whose height is really impressive. Its ice walls reach up to 130 metres high.
The navigation continues over ice floes until we reach the Upsala Glacier. Its bluish colours are sure to catch your eye.
The return journey includes a stop on the north face of the Perito Moreno glacier to complete a perfect tour of the glaciers near El Calafate.
📷 Book here the excursion to sail on Lake Argentino with lunch on board the catamaran. Included: Pick up and transfer back to the hotel (optional), guide, boat transport on the glaciers of Lago Argentino and lunch on board the cruise ship. Not included: Entrance to the National Park.
To eat in El Calafate on the last night we recommend two places: Isabel Cocina al Disco and La Tablita.
Isabel is a restaurant that is characterised by preparing food on plough discs, an Argentinian tradition that goes back many years. There is a lot of variety, chicken, meat and even fish such as trout, always cooked on a disc and with different sauces.
La Tablita is a steakhouse where you can taste the typical Patagonian lamb, although they also have the classic Argentinean beef cuts such as matambre or asado de tira.
Where to sleep in El Calafate
El Calafate has a great tourist infrastructure that includes cabins near the lake, hostels with a great backpacker atmosphere, and upscale hotels with large windows and views to completely relax after an excursion.
🏨 See here where to stay in El Calafate and get your ideal accommodation.