Top 3 things to do in El Calafate, Argentina


El Perito Moreno Glacier
El Calafate, Argentina - South Patagonia - Travelling Accountant
The Perito Moreno Glacier

For sure the most famous attraction that the area is known for, is the Perito Moreno glacier within Los Glaciares National Park. The National Park is a beautiful combination of glaciers, Patagonian steppe and forest, situated in the southwestern part of the Santa Cruz province. Perito Moreno isn't the only...

Horseback riding in the middle of nowhere
El Calafate, Argentina - South Patagonia - Rio Mitre Ranch with horseback riding
Horseback riding @ a real Argentinian ranch

Bienvenido!   Become a true "caballero" while visiting a ranch. There's lots of choices out there. We wanted to keep this experience as "authentic" as possible. So we went for a very down-to-earth option at Rio Mitre. A super friendly guy came and pick us up at the hosteria (15...

Mountain bike descent from the Balcones de El Calafate


Perfect activity to spend our first afternoon in El Calafate – that’s what we thought. The idea is that they bring you (and your bike) up to the mountain, and they you descent (with the group). Amazing panoramic views of Lago Argentino (the second largest lake after Titicaca), El Calafate city and even Fitz Roy are your reward. But we were skeptical… We weren’t able to make any upfront reservations. There’re 2 organizations that organize this tour: HLS and Mil Outdoor. There’s some information you can find online, but no actual booking possibility. So as soon as we arrived at El Calafate, we first went to HLS. There we were told that the guide who organizes de mountain bike trips was on a tour and would only be back as from 4.30pm (it was about 1pm when we got there). No certainty at all whether we were able to join the tour later that afternoon or not… strange. Then we tried  with Mil Outdoor, but also here no luck. No availability anymore for that day (and the day after). And that was it for mountain biking… A real bummer.

So, what to do instead? On our first afternoon in El Calafate, we walked to Laguna Limez, a reserve where you can spot a lot of birds. We didn’t go in the reserve, though. We walked around the reserve up to the Lago Argentino, where we faced incredibly strong winds, up until the point we couldn’t pass because of the water blocking our passage, so we had to return. By the way, you can see the cool black-faced ibis all over El Calafate, even far outside of the reserve.

A better option however is to start the hike of the Balcones de El Calafate by foot (and drone!). As we didn’t have a car, it already took us 3km one way to get to the start of the hike and then we did the first 3km of the hike itself. Most of the time we actually spent on trying to get from one side of the river to the other. In the end (when we returned), we found that we just made it too difficult – we just needed to follow the part of the road which also the cars take for going up. So, make sure you follow that one and then you stay on the right side of the river. It was actually a pretty great hike – the sun was shining and most of the time there was very little wind. You see where this is going… ideal area for another round of drone testing. Without incidents this time and actually quite a satisfying outcome.
Finally, there’s the option to explore the shops of El Calafate. There’s a lot of them, so before we knew it, the afternoon was over. A lot of discounts in sportswear shops, as long as you pay in cash. And amazing ice cream! We had a scone at Acuarela, where they have too many flavors to chose from. Wouldn’t have thought I would like ice cream when it’s that cold already, but apparently that works just fine.

Restaurants in El Calafate we can recommend


Don Pichon restaurant is not located in the centre of El Calafate, but a little out. It overlooks Lago Argentino, so very cozy ambiance when the sun is starting to set. We ordered a paradilla for two, which is a sizzling plate full of different kinds of meat. Take the “puré” (i.e. mashed potatoes) with it – really tasteful. By the way, when you’re staying in one of the hotels which cooperates with Don Pichon, they can come and get you and drop you back off for free. Just know that this only works as from 9pm (which is way too late for us).

La Oveja Negra is a tapas bar at the beginning of the Avenida del Libertador Gral San Martin and was ideal for early dinner at 6PM, accompanied with some drinks, before going back to Acuarela for another ice cream with 2 new flavors.

We saved Casimiro Bigua Parilla & Asador Steak House for our last evening. Service was a little less compared to the others, but the meat (and fish) was marvelous, so certainly worth a visit.

Other Countries we visited
Have a look at the other countries we ‘achievied’ to visit, and other Achievies