Published: January, 2018

Calafate, Argentina

Estancia Cristina and the Upsala Glacier: This is at very least a twelve hour excursion from Calafate and a must do in some way, shape or form.
— Courtney Leary
  • More about your oliver guide:
  • Trip type: Family, Mountains
  • Activity level: high
  • Ideal length of trip: 3 Days

to & from

For flights to Calafate and Bariloche, fly out of the domestic airport, Jorge Newbery, which is only about 15 minutes from downtown Buenos Aires and very easy to navigate. Calafate and Bariloche both have very small manageable airports about 40- 60 minutes from hotels mentioned below. Cabs are available if you have not hired a car in advance.

Where to Stay

  • Estancia Cristina: We were not able to spend the night here but after visiting for the day found it hard to leave.  The grounds are rustic and beautiful; the food, warm and delicious. Amazing hikes, horseback rides and kayaking are available right outside your door.  Most of all, this place is very remote and peaceful—you will feel like you have come to the bottom of the earth.
  • Alto Calafate: Typical to hotels in Calafate, this place is a bit rustic with minimal amenities.  The rooms were clean and there is a decent buffet breakfast. SKIP dinner in the restaurant, the food is overpriced and not good. The kids enjoyed the indoor pool and the views were gorgeous. We were not able to find a hotel that impressed us though there may be one out there. There are also lots of hostels in the area.

Where to Eat and Drink

  • La Tablita: Great mixed grill and lamb.  Upscale setting for Calafate.  By far our favorite Calafate restaurant experience.
  • Mi Rancho:  Small quaint restaurant in a little house.  Food was good and restaurant had a nice homey feel but our family of 5 was a little much for the tight space leaving me stressed that we were ruining the romantic dinners of the couples next to us. Save it for date night.

What to Do

  • Estancia Cristina and the Upsala Glacier: This is at very least a twelve hour excursion from Calafate and a must do in some way, shape or form.  There are many options including spending the night which we would recommend trying even though we did not have the chance.  The journey from Calafate includes a 2-3 hour boat ride through Lago Argentino, past icebergs and beautiful scenery, a 4x4 or trek up and down from the Glacier viewing point, a walk on the property and lunch in the pretty restaurant and then a two hour boat ride back. There are several adventure companies that can arrange this outing located in Calafate and online, including Viator.
  • Pietro Moreno Glacier: No trip to Calafate is complete without a viewing of the Pietro Moreno Glacier.  Unlike Upsala, this glacier is located quite close to Calafate and offers easy access to many outstanding viewpoints. Those over the age of 10 can arrange to hike/trek on the glacier. We recommend the short 40 minute boat ride to get up close to the glacier for pictures followed by a walk on the paths surrounding the glacier.  It is on the paths that you will be able to stop and listen to the glacier breaking and if you are lucky, catch huge pieces following off into the lake with thunderous sound.

inside scoop

  • Pack lots of layers. Buenos Aires is the only place you will wear a sundress.
  • Make dinner reservations a couple weeks in advance.
  • Do not expect Argentina to be cheap. A few years back it was but now prices are comparable to U.S.

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