- 1:00pm – Flight to El Calafate, a small town that is inhabited by approximately 25k people, serving as a gateway to the glaciers of Patagonia!
- 5:30pm – Check into Hotel Xelena Suites. Take the 5-minute shuttle ride into town (offered complimented), which is filled with souvenir shops, a selection of restaurants, equipment rental stores and a few pizza bars and gelaterias. We had dinner an Irish coffee at xxx, and dinner at Isabel al Disco, famously known for enormous portions of rustic Argentinian bread and Patagonian lamb stew. Help yourself to their wine cellar and select a perfect bottle of Malbec to pair with your entree.
- 8:00am – Mini Trekking on the Perito Moreno Glaciar. This full day tour can be booked on Viator for $200 USD p/p and is an absolute must in Patagonia. The glaciar itself is the most renowned / photographed, and why most travelers come to the area. The tour includes a 1 hour bus ride / shuttle pick up from your hotel to the pier where you take a 20 minute boat cruise to the foot of the glaciar. From there, it’s a 30 minute hike to the actual glacier, where you will put on crampons, and begin hiking on Perito Moreno for 1.5 hours. You’ll explore about 8 different unique locations on the glaciar where you’ll see fascinating crevices, underwater rivers, frozen lakes and stunning sapphire blue ice spectacles. At the end, you’ll have a glass of whisky with a piece of the glaciar inside as an ice cube. After this, you’ll have a quick lunch and the opportunity to drive 30 minutes to the actual glacier viewing area where you spend an hour walking down a wooden pathway examining different points of the glaciar, starting from the top. The nicest parts are when you can have a moment of absolute silence, listening as you hear enormous ice chunks from the glaciar crash into the lake surface that leave a sound resembling a thunder and producing enormous waves depending on the size of the chunk. It’s absolutely stunning.
Quick Tip: Note that on the bus ride, you’ll pay a 360 peso park entrance fee ($25 USD) to enter Parque de Glaciares, in which Perito Moreno sits. Make sure to bring a lunch for your tour (not included). When you go to the viewing area open to the public, try to get ahead of the crowd taking thousands of pictures and take a moment to enjoy the sounds of the glacier in silence. You will appreciate these 10x more.
- 7:00am – Full day tour to The city of El Chaltén. This is the home of famous Mount Fitz Roy, a frequently photographed mountain peak in Patagonia , and one which climbers have attempted to ascend as of late. The trip to the small city takes approximately 3 hours along the famous route 40 (a road that runs through the northern tip of Argentina all through the southern point of the country). The city itself is home to numerous hikes, trails, etc that you can spend days trekking through. We recommend this in the summer time, as most trails were closed when we went as they turn into ice walkways. In the town itself there are a few restaurants that will serve pizza and Patagonian lamb stew! The close-up view of Mount Fitz Roy is certainly worth the trek.
- 11:00am – 4×4 native tour with Patagonia Profunda in El Calafate. You’ll be picked up in an off-road vehicle (seats 6) and take the 40 minute drive through private roads in el Calafate, where you will see the llamas, ostriches, and other wildlife as you learn about some of the history o the early nomad inhabitants to this land. After a brief photo opp of the highest viewpoint to see Lago Argentina, you’ll descend to the “beach” along Lago Argentina where on a wIndy day there are waves crashing along the rocky shore. The next part will take you through some early cave paintings, and a history about how these people survived in Patagonia. This is all followed by a tremendous soup, lamb stew, chocolate mousse lunch in a cave formation. Wine is plentiful (perhaps making this experience better than when the nomads had it). This is the best three hour tour you can do here.
- 5:00pm – The food at the restaurants in El Calafate here is quite similar (unless you go to the sushi spot, which we don’t recommend). Some of our favorites for traditional Patagonian cooking methods are Mako, Pura Vida, and Isabel.
- 8:30pm -Head to the Yeti Ice bar in town. They have “tours” every hour or so which includes an open bar experience in sub-zero temperature (-10 C)! Definitely worth checking out. There is ice sculptures seating inside the bar and there will be a bartender serving you in bottomless glasses carved out of ice. They do give you gloves and parka but bring your ski jacket as its cold!
Quick Tip: the town itself is filled with adorable dogs that belong to the town. They are strays that remains incredibly well fed by tourists.
Click here to view all the spots that we visited