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8 Spectacular Day Trips from El Calafate That Will Blow Your Mind!

8 Spectacular Day Trips from El Calafate That Will Blow Your Mind!

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El Calafate is one of our favorite towns in Argentine Patagonia. Not only is it super cute, with a great atmosphere and lots of yummy food, it’s a gateway to some of the best places in Patagonia

There are many tours and excursions from El Calafate, but the most famous thing to do here is to visit the Perito Moreno Glacier. Unfortunately, a lot of tourists miss out on other day trips because they just don’t know about them. This was the case for us when we first visited. But after traveling here many times and spending months in Patagonia, we’re clued in on just how many incredible day trips you can take from El Calafate.

Lots of people only spend a day or two in El Calafate, but we think it’s definitely worth staying a little longer. This will give you a chance to enjoy some of the awesome day trips we’ve listed in this blog. So if you’re curious to learn more about these day trips, keep reading for all the details!

Don’t have time to read the full article? Here are our top 3 day trips from El Calafate:

  1. Experience Torres del Paine National Park on this full-day adventure tour, which has you traveling in a 4×4 and hiking across the stunning mountains.
  2. You can’t miss Perito Moreno Glacier, and this full-day tour makes it super easy by covering all transportation, plus a guided tour and boat ride.
  3. If you only have half a day, this tour takes you to an estancia, where you’ll ride horses, eat lunch, and learn about the traditional gaucho lifestyle.

Day Trips from El Calafate

1. Torres del Paine NP

Lake Pehoe in Torres del Paine National Park
Lake Pehoe in Torres del Paine National Park

Torres del Paine is over the border in Chile, and it’s known as one of the most incredible places to visit in Patagonia – if not the most incredible! 

The sheer diversity of the landscape here is mindblowing. You’ve got jagged, snow-capped mountains, bright blue lakes, forests, and glaciers – what more could you ask for? 

If your answer is “wildlife,” then you’re in luck! The park is also known for its golden grasslands – aka pampas – which are home to so much wildlife, including guanacos, pumas, armadillos, and foxes. You can also see Huemel deer, which are Chile’s national animal. In fact, for us, wildlife was one of the best parts of our time in Torres del Paine National Park. 

To be honest, the best way to experience Torres del Paine is to stay for a few nights or camp in the national park so that you can do some of the epic overnight treks. We did the Torres del Paine W-trek here, which is one of the most famous hikes in the world.

However, staying overnight is not always possible. So if you’re short on time, we highly recommend taking a day trip from El Calafate. 

A group of hikers in Torres del Paine NP
Me and my family!

It can take 3.5 – 5 hours to drive from El Calafate to Torres del Paine, which is a lot for a day trip! This is why we highly recommend this full-day adventure tour. Besides the awesome itinerary, you’ll travel in an adventure truck which allows you to take an unpaved shortcut. A regular car would never be able to handle this, so it significantly reduces your travel time.

There’s also a stop to exchange currency on the way into the park, so you don’t need to stress about changing your Argentine pesos to Chilean pesos beforehand. You won’t need much, but you have to pay the entry fee to the National Park in cash on the day (usually about $39 USD). As such, this is a really handy stop.

Tours start with hotel pick-up in El Calafate around 6:30 am. Once you get to Torres del Paine, you’ll spend the rest of the morning driving through the park. I loved waking up to these gorgeous views and was super thankful I didn’t have to drive.

The drive is broken up by some easy walks to beautiful viewpoints. This is another great thing about this tour – it’s ideal for people who want to experience the park without going on long, strenuous hikes.

Then, you’ll have a picnic lunch before driving to the southern side of the park to see the Cuernos del Paine. These jagged, horn-shaped peaks are one of the most iconic symbols of Patagonia! 

Bailey looking over the Grey Glacier on the torres del Paine W Trek from Puerto Natales, Chile
Looking over the Grey Glacier on the Torres del Paine W trek

The final activity of this full-day tour is a 2-hour trek to Lake Pehoé and Lake Nordenskjöld. Both are pristine, vivid blue lakes with amazing views of Los Cuernos in the background. 

This is a truly epic day trip from El Calafate and an awesome way to see the crown jewel of Patagonia. It costs $200 USD per person, which we think is a great deal because it includes roundtrip transport from El Calafate in a 4×4, expert guides, a packed lunch, and guided hikes. I’d bring some extra snacks and water because the whole tour lasts roughly 14 hours.

Travel in Patagonia can be quite expensive, so this is a cost-effective way to visit Torres del Paine. Just remember to bring your passport with you, because you’ll be crossing the border from Argentina to Chile! 

We also recommend booking this tour well in advance. It’s a popular one and sells out fast!

Related Read: Want to explore even more of Chile? Check out our list of the best places to visit in Chile!

2. Perito Moreno Glacier

A man stands on the Perito Moreno Glacier boardwalk and watches the glacier
Daniel’s dad!
mini trekking on perito moreno glacier
Me, trekking on Perito Moreno Glacier on the Mini Trekking Tour!

You really can’t pass up the chance to visit the Perito Moreno Glacier while you’re in El Calafate. I mean, it’s what the town is most famous for, and the reason why most people visit!

One of the most notable things about Perito Moreno is its sheer size. At around 250 square kilometers (96 square miles), it’s bigger than Buenos Aires – and let me tell you, that’s not a small place!

Perito Moreno is also one of the very few glaciers in the world that is still growing. It’s also just beautiful. As if the bright white, craggy ice wasn’t enough to take your breath away, the glacier is also surrounded by a stunning bright blue lake. 

To top things off, it’s really easy to get to Perito Moreno Glacier from El Calafate.

The glacier is located about an hour’s drive from El Calafate, and you can easily drive yourself and view it from the boardwalks. This is epic enough in itself, but to get the full experience, you’re definitely better off taking a Perito Moreno Glacier tour. Trust us, there are so many fun ways to explore – including a mini ice trekking experience

This full-day tour makes visiting Perito Moreno super convenient if you don’t have a rental car in El Calafate because it covers hotel pickup/dropoff. It also includes a boat ride so that you can admire the south face of the glacier from the lake.

You get plenty of time to take in the views from the boardwalk and balconies, and you’ll also have a professional guide to teach you all about the glacier. This is super interesting since Perito Moreno is a very unique natural wonder! 

The side of Perito Moreno Glacier as seen from the viewing platforms
The side of Perito Moreno Glacier, as seen from the viewing platforms

Tours start daily at 9 am, lasting approximately 8 hours. It costs $139 USD per person, including everything we mentioned. However, this price doesn’t include the entry fee to Los Glaciares National Park. This is another $12 USD, and you’ll pay in pesos on the day – so bring cash.

This is really the quintessential Perito Moreno Glacier experience, with boardwalks and a boat ride. If you already know your travel dates, reserve this tour online right here!

If you’re feeling a little more adventurous, you can also do this amazing glacier mini trek! I did it, and it was one of the most insane experiences ever! It’s such a fun and active tour, and you get so close to the glacier you can really take in all of the details.

The ice trek lasts for around an hour and a half, and crampons are provided. At the end, you even get a glass of whiskey, and your guides will chip ice off of the glacier to put in your drink. How cool is that? It really gives new meaning to the phrase “on the rocks.”

Another thing I love about this tour is that it’s a 3-in-1 experience. You get to see the glacier from the main boardwalk, and then you take a boat across the lake to the glacier, and finally, you get to trek on it. What more could you ask for?!

This tour costs $390 USD, which includes roundtrip transport from El Calafate hotels and all the experiences we mentioned. Tours are available almost every day, and pick-up starts around 7:30 am. You can expect to return to El Calafate around 5:30 pm.

This was one of the best tours I’ve ever done in Patagonia, and I’ve spent months exploring this part of the world. So if want to experience the adventurous side of Perito Moreno Glacier, book this tour here!

If you like the sound of this tour but already have a rental car in Patagonia, we’ve got you covered. You can book the same tour without transportation for $295 USD a person. The company will tell you where are when to meet before your tour. As for the rest, you can expect the same 3-in-1 experience, with boardwalks, ice trekking, and cruising over glacier waters.

View from the side of the boat of the Perito Moreno Glacier
View from the boat!

However, for adventure lovers with a ton of energy and a bigger budget, you can also do the Big Ice Trek, during which you get to see even more of the glacier. You still get the boat ride and time on the boardwalk, but you’ll spend 4 hours trekking on the surface of Perito Moreno.

During this time, you’ll see waterfalls, lagoons, streams, and caves and learn a lot about how the movement of the glacier creates these dramatic features. If you’re an avid hiker, you’ll want to book this tour! You really get to soak it all in without feeling rushed. I especially loved stopping to enjoy a picnic lunch mid-way while enjoying the breathtaking scenery.

The day begins at 7 am and lasts roughly 12 hours. The tour price depends on the time of year and ranges from $687-$1,012 USD per person. This tour is also only for travelers between ages 18-50 because it’s quite physically demanding.

You’ll need to bring your own lunch and snacks, as well as quality sunglasses and plenty of sunscreen! The tour company provides trekking equipment (including crampons) as well as roundtrip transport from your hotel, experienced guides, and all the activities we mentioned.

Just like the other tours, expect to pay an entry fee to the national park in cash. This should be around $12 USD, but you’ll have to pay in pesos.

Want to experience the glacier through a long, stunning ice trek? Reserve your spot on this tour before it sells out!

3. Spegazzini Channel Glacier Navigation

A cruise along the Upsala Glacier in Argentina
A cruise along the Upsala Glacier in Argentina

Perito Moreno is the most famous glacier in Patagonia, but there are actually lots of others within easy reach of El Calafate. If you want to see many of them in one go, we suggest this full-day glacier cruise.

The boat will take you along the Upsala Canal, where you’ll be able to see the Upsala Glacier. Then, you’ll head up the Spegazzini Channel, which is famous for its hanging glaciers. And as you sail the channel, you’ll get fantastic views of some of the area’s best-known glaciers. 

Another thing that we like about this glacier cruise is the fact that you get to disembark for a 30-minute guided walk through an Andean Patagonian forest. You’ll even visit some beaches. This just proves how insanely diverse Patagonia is – you can see glaciers one minute and beaches the next. 

After the guided walk, you’ll get back on the boat for a gourmet lunch of Patagonian seafood, soup, and wine. Another reason we love Patagonia is for its flavorsome, hearty, soul food – and this cruise showcases the area’s cuisine so well. Plus, you can enjoy some local wine, too! 

After lunch, you’ll see the Spegazzini Glacier, which is the tallest one in Los Glaciares National Park. Then it’s time to head to the Perito Moreno Glacier. You can also upgrade your cruise so that you not only get to marvel at this epic glacier, but actually get off the boat to explore the network of footbridges, boardwalks, and balconies for 1.5 hours. 

There are quite a few different pricing options available for this tour. All prices cover all the activities, food, and drinks we mentioned. However, you’ll need to pay the national park fee in cash in Argentine pesos (roughly equivalent to $12 USD).

You can book the classic tour without transfers for $163 USD or with transport from El Calafate for $189 USD per person. Meanwhile, if you want transport and disembarkation at Perito Moreno, it’s $225 USD per person. If you’re traveling to Perito Moreno separately, then go for a cheaper option. But if not, this is a great way to combine two excellent day trips! 

Hotel pickup starts around 7 am, and the tour lasts about 11 hours. If you have a rental car and don’t need transportation, you’ll need to meet your group at a designated spot by 8:30 am. If you like gourmet food and glaciers, this tour is for you! You can check out the options and book your spot online here.

4. La Leona River

La Leona River near El Calafate, Patagonia
La Leona River near El Calafate, Patagonia

La Leona River flows through the eastern part of Los Glaciares National Park, and you can spend an amazing day hiking and kayaking around here on this full-day tour.

The river is freezing cold, so this is definitely not something that you should attempt by yourself, but you’ll be perfectly safe with your expert guide. Plus, you’ll be visiting a protected area that you’re only allowed into as part of a tour. 

Your day starts with hotel pickup around 7:30 am. Once you get to the river, you’ll kayak down until you reach a petrified forest, which is where ancient trees have turned to stone! The petrification process is way more complicated than we could cover in this blog, but your guide will teach you all about this rare phenomenon. I wouldn’t want to steal their thunder, after all!

What’s crazier still is that you might even spot some dinosaur bones as you hike through the petrified forest! I’m no paleontologist, but even this excited me.

This 8-hour tour costs $165 USD, including pickup and dropoff in El Calafate and all kayaking gear. You’ll need to bring warm activewear and a boxed lunch with you, but snacks will be provided along the way. You need to be reasonably fit, but this tour doesn’t require previous kayaking experience.

If you love active, outdoorsy tours, this day trip will be an absolute blast. Don’t hesitate to book it today!

5. El Chalten

Mount Fitz Roy Laguna de los Tres
What a sight to see!

Oh, El Chalten – where do we even begin?

El Chalten is the hiking capital of Patagonia. It’s most famous for being the starting point for the Laguna de los Tres hike, which takes you to a stunning blue lake at the base of Mount Fitz Roy. This is a pretty long hike as it’s a 21-km (13-mi) roundtrip, but there are also plenty of shorter hikes in the area, too. 

There’s also the beautiful Laguna Torre hike, which at 18 kilometers (11 miles) long, isn’t THAT much shorter than Laguna de los Tres. However, it’s much easier, with only a few short incline sections.

You’ll also find gorgeous waterfalls near El Chalten, like Chorrillo del Salto, and beautiful, untouched lakes. You can visit estancias and go horseback riding through the Patagonian landscape, and there’s plenty of wildlife to spot around here as well. 

As you can probably tell, we love El Chalten. In fact, we’ve been several times because the hikes here are just so incredible!

El Chalten is located about a 3.5-hour drive from El Calafate. It’s best to spend at least a couple of nights here if you can, but we know that that’s not always possible – and the good news is that you can definitely enjoy El Chalten on a day trip from El Calafate. 

If you want to take in the gorgeous scenery without embarking on a strenuous, hours-long trek, then we recommend this tour. It’s designed for travelers without a lot of hiking experience, so it takes you on two gentle walks that still give you amazing views of the landscape. It’s the perfect opportunity to appreciate the incredible scenery around here.

We love how you’ll be able to access points you can’t with a car to feel the beauty of this area. Some of our highlights included Chorrilo del Salto waterfall and Mirador de los Condores.

It costs $80 USD, including hotel pickup and dropoff, and lunch, which we think is a good deal for a full-day tour. Plus, we love that everything is taken care of for you – just be ready to go at 7:30 am. I’d bring some snacks, too, since you’ll be out for about 12 hours.

This tour really offers such a relaxing day. So if you want a stress-free tour with leisurely hikes and gorgeous nature, reserve your spot right here.

Bailey stands at a viewpoint on the trail with Mount Fitz Roy Laguna de los Tres in the background
Fitz Roy Viewpoint!

If you’d like a bit more flexibility to explore El Chalten, then I highly recommend this full-day tour. You get two short, guided walks followed by free time in El Chalten. I love getting to experience a new place on my own terms – and this tour offers the perfect balance between structure and freedom.

In the morning, you’ll have a short guided walk to the Mirador de los Condores viewpoint, which is a staple activity in El Chalten. From here, you get fantastic views of the town and Mount Fitz Roy. Then, there’s another short guided walk to the Chorrillo del Salto waterfall. After that, you get 5 hours of free time in El Chalten.

Having so much free time in the town means that you can check out some of the slightly longer hikes, such as the 8-kilometer (5-mile) roundtrip hike to the Fitz Roy Viewpoint. This is a moderate-difficulty hike and a really popular choice with people who don’t want to (or have time to) complete the entire Laguna de los Tres route. Plus, it should only take you 2-3 hours, so it’s well within your timeframe.

This tour costs $83 USD per person with lunch included as well as hotel pickup and drop-off. You can expect to leave around 7:30 am, returning at about 6 pm. We think that this is such a good deal because you can often end up paying this much for a one-way bus from El Calafate to El Chalten!

You can also select the tour without lunch for $70 USD if you’d prefer to bring your own or dine at a local restaurant in El Chalten. We highly recommend checking out a local parrilla, such as Parrilla Argentina. The prices here were super reasonable, and we loved their steaks!

You can check availability and book this tour online through Viator.

Why We Book Tours with Viator

Viator is a trusted online booking system for tours around the world! We almost always book our tours using Viator for a couple of reasons:

  • Free cancellation on most tours – Most of the tours on Viator allow you to cancel and get a full refund up to 24 hours in advance. This is handy in case plans change, or if booking an outdoor activity, the weather forecast is looking grim.
  • Reserve now and pay later – You can secure your spot on some of the most popular tours well in advance and not pay until closer to the day of the tour.
  • Lowest price guarantee – If you happen to find the same tour at a lower price elsewhere, Viator will refund you the price difference.
  • Pay in your chosen currency – Avoid costly international transaction fees by choosing to pay in your home currency.
  • Peace of mind – When booking with tour operators you find in person on the street or in small booking offices, you are often promised one thing and given another. This online platform holds tour operators accountable with a written description of inclusions as well as the opportunity for customers to leave reviews.

Check out the Viator website here! Or, for more info, read our detailed review about Viator here.

6. La Lioness Petrified Forest

An old tree at La Lioness Petrified Forest
It’s such an interesting place!

The reason we keep on coming back to Patagonia is because there are just so many unique things to do here. For example, how many places are there where you can find a petrified forest?

Okay, so there are a few of them around the world, but it’s a pretty rare phenomenon. A petrified forest is a forest where the trees have been turned to stone and become fossils. And as luck would have it, you can visit one on a day trip from El Calafate! 

You have to take a guided tour to reach La Leona petrified forest because it’s on private land. This one picks you up from your hotel in El Chalten and takes you right to the forest, where you’ll enjoy a guided walk. Your guide will teach you all about the ancient forest, which is around 70 million years old – I don’t know about you, but I find that pretty mind-blowing.

What’s cooler still is that there are dinosaur fossils in the forest, which your guide will help you to identify. As if the fossilized trees weren’t cool enough!

Walking through La Leona forest is such a fascinating insight into the natural history of Patagonia, and the landscape is so stark and striking. It’s a reminder of just how diverse Patagonia really is – you can be trekking on a huge glacier one day and then walking in a fossilized forest the next.

The tour costs $165 USD per person, including hotel pickup and lunch. This full-day experience begins at 9 am, You’ll be in a pretty small group of around 18 people, and you need to be in good shape as there’s a lot of hiking involved. It does require a minimum of two people per booking, so grab your partner or bestie for this one!

Click here to learn more about this awesome tour and book your tickets!

Related Read: Another awesome destination in Argentina is Ushuaia, aka “The End of the World!” These epic tours of Ushuaia will have you hiking, sailing, and canoeing through national parks. Don’t forget to keep your eyes out for penguins along the way!

7. Mount Huyliche

Hiking El Calafate Mountain
The views are pretty incredible!

The top of Mount Huyliche – sometimes also known as Huyliche Hill – gives you amazing views of the Andes mountains, the Patagonian desert, and the channels of Lake Argentino. There’s also a labyrinth of caves to explore, and on a clear day, you can even see Mount Fitz Roy from here! 

You need a 4×4 to get to the top of Mount Huyliche, as well as plenty of off-road driving experience, so you’re definitely better off taking this tour. Not only do you get to appreciate the fantastic viewpoint and explore the caves, but you can actually build your own adventure!

If you just want the 4×4 adventure, you can choose that, but there’s also the option to add a guided hike for no additional cost! The guides are really enthusiastic and knowledgeable, so you get to learn a lot about the amazing scenery and local area as you traverse on foot. Both of these options cost $70 USD per person, including lunch.

However, if you’re feeling extra adventurous, you can also go ziplining too! Instead of driving or hiking back down Mount Huyliche, you’ll descend via a 4-line zipline course and combine amazing views with an adrenaline rush! This option costs $100 USD, and it’s definitely the one I’d choose – I can never say no to a zipline! 

This 4-hour tour begins at 10 am. It’s easy to fit into your schedule, and you’ll have plenty of time to enjoy El Calafate in the afternoon. Make sure to bring sunglasses and layers (including gloves), as it gets chilly up there!

Ready for a fun-filled day? Then choose your adventure and book it online.

8. Estancia 25 de Mayo Nature Reserve

Patagonia Profunda Estancia 25 de Mayo Nature Reserve
Photo credit: Patagonia Profunda

An estancia is essentially a ranch or farm station. They’re everywhere in Patagonia, and you can even stay overnight at some of them. It’s a great place to discover Argentina’s gaucho culture, which dates back hundreds of years. 

One of the best-known estancias in Patagonia is the Estancia 25 de Mayo because it’s also a nature reserve with lots of hills, high fields, ravines, rock formations, and fantastic viewpoints. And best of all, you can explore it the gaucho way on this day trip from El Calafate – via horseback! 

You’ll be picked up from your hotel around mid-morning and head to Estancia 25 de Mayo, where you’ll saddle up. This tour is beginner-friendly, so it doesn’t matter if you’ve never ridden a horse before. Your gaucho guides are super experienced and will give you a briefing and show you what to do. 

Then, in a small group of no more than 8 people, you’ll head out across the Patagonian countryside. Along the journey, you’ll listen to folk stories about the gauchos of southern Argentina and learn what life is like for gauchos today. We loved our gaucho tour in Buenos Aires, but this experience in Calafate provided more actual horseback riding, which was so much fun! You’ll see lots of beautiful scenery, crossing over pretty streams and exploring canyons. 

Then, after roughly an hour and a half of riding, you’ll reach Cueva del Arroyo, where you’ll enjoy a traditional lunch, usually involving hearty sandwiches, meat, and cheese. You’ll also get a glass of wine to wash it down with. Once everyone’s fed and rested, you’ll climb back onto your noble steed and head back to the main ranch house.

This tour is such a cool experience and an amazing way to learn more about Patagonia’s culture. Plus, you get to take in amazing scenery every step of the way. It costs $155 USD per person, including roundtrip transport from El Calafate hotels, the horseback ride, your guides, and a hearty lunch with wine. 

Tours start at 10 am, lasting 4 hours. I can’t think of a better way to enjoy lunch and experience gaucho culture at the same time! To take advantage of this opportunity, you can reserve this tour online.

Related Read: Also visiting Buenos Aires? Read about the best day trips from Buenos Aires, which includes a gaucho experience too!

Other Activities to do While in El Calafate

Yeti Ice Bar El calafate
Chilling at an ice bar in El Calafate!

When I first visited El Calafate, I didn’t know how many amazing experiences were in this part of Argentina! It took me another visit and really exploring the town to find out all the incredible activities to do in El Calafate. From some of the obvious can’t-miss experiences to hidden gems, these are just some of the things I love about this corner of the world.

  • Eat! – The food in El Calafate is mouthwatering good. One dish you can’t leave without trying is the Lamb al Asador. La Zorra also makes great lamb stew in town. For a sweet treat, stop into one of the chocolatiers specializing in artisanal chocolate that’s locally made and really cheap. Chocolates Patagonia had some of my faves!
  • Visit an ice bar – For a cold one (literally!), head to a bar where everything, including your drinking glass, is made of ice. There are a couple of ice bars in town, and we really liked Yeti Ice Bar. For $28 USD, we had 30 minutes to drink as much as we wanted. It was definitely chilly, so that was the perfect amount of time before I was ready to warm up!
  • Go biking – It’s easier to cover more ground (and give your feet a break from hiking!) by renting a bike to explore. There are bike rental companies in El Calafate or you can jump on this SafariBike experience. You’ll be transported by 4×4 to a remote area where you’ll pedal with your guide to panoramic viewpoints and epic looks at the Baguales and Verlika mountain ranges.
  • See the Glaciarium – Even if you’re not a museum person, the Glaciarium Ice Museum is worth a stop. The outside even looks like a glacier! There are lots of interactive exhibits inside, including a 3D movie and an ice bar made with glacier ice.

Where to Stay in El Calafate, Argentina

Hostel Largo Argentino, El Calafate
Hostel Lago Argentino, El Calafate – this is where we stayed!

El Calafate is a big tourist destination, so there are plenty of places to stay! However, I always recommend booking in advance so you can snag the best deals on your ideal accommodations. If you’re not sure where to start, check out some of my favorite options below!

Luxury – $$$

Aparts Calafate Suites – This place specializes in self-contained apartments for optimal privacy. The apartments are modern, well-furnished, and perfect for those wanting more comfort and quality in El Calafate. They have kitchens, a seating area, and private bathrooms.

Rooms start at $148 USD, and some can fit up to four people and include balconies. If you want a home-away-from-home, book your apartment well in advance.

Boutique Hotel La Cantera – If you really want a slice of luxury, then this hotel is perfect. The building itself is stunning, and the location and views are amazing. They serve a buffet breakfast and have an onsite restaurant and bar. The lounge has cozy seating with floor-to-ceiling windows overlooking the sunset.

The stylish rooms have a mountain lodge feel and balconies and some even have a hydro-massage tub. When you book the Boutique Hotel La Cantera in advance, you can get prices as low as $142 USD a night!

Mid Budget – $$

Hotel Amado – This beautiful hotel is located as close as you can get to the center of town. It’s clean, modern, and a great place to stay for those looking for a quiet room. It has 24-hour reception with a currency exchange. They offer a continental breakfast, but there are also plenty of restaurants around. With prices starting at $79 USD per room, you’ll want to make a reservation in advance!

Del Glaciar Libertador Hotel – This simple hotel is located only 5 minutes from town and includes a good breakfast. They also have a social bar, a restaurant, and a mini movie theater screening movies nightly! This is a great option for groups or families, with everything from a twin room to a family room. Prices start at $105 USD, and you can reserve your dates online here!

Budget – $

Hostel Lago Argentino – A really good budget option that I have stayed at before. These guys include a nice breakfast, a well-equipped kitchen, and very friendly staff. The location is also perfect – right in the center of town!

They have shared rooms for up to 4 people and private rooms with en suite bathrooms starting at $49 USD. After my positive experience, I wouldn’t hesitate to book Hostel Lago Argentino online with either Hostelworld.com or Booking.com!

Red House Hostel – a very highly rated hostel at a very good price. The hostel is very modern and clean and has a great social vibe. A bunk in their 8-bed dorm costs $25 USD, while a private ensuite starts at $53 USD. To snag this deal, you’ll want to book Red House Hotel in advance on Hostelworld.com or Booking.com.

Folk Hostel – This is arguably the best budget hostel in El Calafate. It’s a great option (if it’s available). It’s designed for the traveler by the traveler and has that community vibe. The staff are amazing, the facilities are modern and clean, they offer a free breakfast, and it’s located right by the bus station! Dorms start at $25 USD, and private rooms go for $63 USD. Folk Hostel is available to book through Booking.com or Hostelworld.com.

Planning your Trip to Argentina

Glacier Trekking on the Perito Moreno Glacier, El Calafate, Argentina
The glacier trekking is so much fun!

Accommodation in Argentina

Booking accommodation is one of the biggest aspects of your trip, and we should know as we stay in a new hotel up to 40 times per year! Funny enough, we make 99% of these bookings on one website and that’s Booking.com – and there are a few reasons why we use this site!

Number one is the website is easy to use and sorts accommodation options. That takes the stress out of planning which honestly still affects us and we do it more than not.

Second, is the price guarantee. We have literally booked a hotel months before and then 1 week out found it cheaper (we always do a quick search), and they’ll match that price from anyone’s website including the hotels!

And third, is the Genius loyalty program. If you make a certain amount of bookings per year you get a Genius discount. We are level-two geniuses because we make more than 5 a year. At participating hotels, we get things like free breakfast included, early check-in, and up to 15% off.

You can check out all their accommodation options throughout Argentina!

Renting a car in Argentina

renting a car in patagonia
We rented a car in Southern Argentina and found that it was a very convenient and enjoyable way to travel!

We enjoyed a rental car for our second trip to Argentina when we traveled in Patagonia – and wow, what a way to travel! But the best part was that we only paid $40 USD per day for a 5-person sedan!

But how? Well, if you’re renting a car in Argentina, the cheapest company is Discover Cars. We often get questions from readers asking us if the website is fake because it seems too cheap! It’s a great website and the one we used for our rental.

If you do want to compare prices (and you should), do a quick search on Airport Car Rentals too. They’re another big competitor and each company often has its own deals to offer!

Tours in Argentina

drinking glacier water from perito moreno glacier
Drinking pure glacier water on our glacier tour!

We love booking online because we can check reviews of the tour and know exactly what to expect on the tour, such as the itinerary and inclusions. Sometimes the tours are pricier online than booking directly in person, but this is why we always book with Viator. If we happen to find the exact same tour for a lower price once we’re at the destination, Viator will actually refund the price difference!

Thanks for reading!

Drinking Craft beer at El Zorra in El Calafate
Thanks for reading!

El Calafate is magical on its own. However, there are so many nearby areas worth exploring – and they make perfect day trips. You’ve probably already heard of Perito Moreno Glacier, but it’s just one of many incredible places we visited. We hope this list has opened your eyes to some new day trip options to fill your itinerary!

If you found this article useful, check out our other blogs about Argentina. We’ve also written about several other destinations in South America. To help you out, I’ve linked to some articles below that might come in handy. Thanks for reading!

21 FUN Things to do in Bariloche, Argentina

5 BEST Iguazu Falls Tours from Buenos Aires

Ultimate Guide to Visiting Puerto Madryn, Argentina +10 BEST Things to do