El Calafate is the capital of Santa Cruz province in Andean Patagonia, Argentina and it’s located at the shores of Argentino Lake, becoming the central point of all the excursions in the zone, from Los Glaciares National Park, Chaltén and Torres del Paine National Park, in Chile. It has been named El Calafate by a bush with blue fruits that usually grows in this sector.
El Calafate is the closest urban zone to Los Glaciares National Park, who was named Patrimony of Humanity by UNESCO in 1981, for its natural beauty. This is a wonderful place for adventure tourism and outdoor excursions like trekking, navigation, horseback riding and others. El Calafate is also the beginning of Patagonian Ice Fields and the first stage of the amazing glacier circuit.
Inside of El Calafate there is also Los Glaciares National Park Administrative Division, the starting point of every tour and excursion to Los Glaciares National Reserve, located at 80 kilometers away from the zone.
Inside of Los Glaciares National Park, the visitors will be amazed by the natural wonders like the worldly famous Perito Moreno glacier and its detachments, where impressive mass of ice falls into de water, catching the attention of many tourists who try to catch the exact moment of the fall.
The visitors can discover this wonderful argentinean park using the artificial footbridges created to watch de glaciers or navigating through the waters of the De Los Témpanos channel and Argentino and Viedma Lakes. This is the closest journey you can take to the glaciers, which allows to see them in all their magnificence. Los Glaciares National Park counts with 47 impressive glaciers and some of the most important are Onelli, Upsala, Spegazzini and Seco.
Another attraction of El Calafate is the zone of El Chaltén, located at 200 kilometers away from it. Chaltén is called the trekking capital of Argentina because it has the famous Fitz Roy Mount, a difficult and attractive mountain that every year is visited for climbers of the entire world. In El Calafate there is also adventurous tourism. The Santa Cruz river is perfect for rafting and fishing. In the waters of the zone you will find different species such as rainbow trout, salmon and lake’s trout.
Another interesting place of Santa Cruz is the famous “Hands Cave”, which is located in the rocks of Pinturas River. This is a cave with ancient paintings, representing scenes of hunting and superposed hands in some kind of magical ritual of the old natives of the zone.
El Calafate is also one of the best places to observe the flora and fauna of Patagonia, in the Natural Reserve of Nimes Lagoon, located at Solitaria Island in Argentino Lake. Here you will find animals like red fox, hare, condors, eagles, flamingos and swans in their natural environment.
El Calafate mixes in one place the most incredible nature and vegetation, besides the impressive beauty of the glaciers, making of it the perfect escape for the ones who look for adventure, to discover new places or simply rest and relax.