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10 BEST Tours and Excursions in El Calafate, Argentina!

10 BEST Tours and Excursions in El Calafate, Argentina!

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El Calafate is a charming town in Argentina’s stunning Patagonia. Surrounded by beautiful landscapes, it makes the perfect base for outdoor adventures and sightseeing. And here, you have your pick of novel activities, from some of the best hikes in South America (including on a glacier!) to off-roading in national parks.

We’ve visited this tiny town a few times and discovered that there are many fun things to do in El Calafate. With wide open spaces and rugged terrain, it truly is an outdoor enthusiast’s dream! Sailing by Perito Moreno Glacier, trekking through El Chalten, or horseback riding are just a few of your day trip options from El Calafate. But many of these activities require an organized tour – or are made much easier with one!

So instead of trying to navigate this (sometimes hostile) environment on your own, we recommend taking one of these tours! They’ll take the worry out of planning so you can enjoy non-stop good times. To help you out, we’ve made a list of the best tours and excursions in El Calafate, Argentina based on our own personal experience. So keep reading to find one that calls your name!

Our Top Choice for a Tour in El Calafate

Daniel poses for a photo on the Perito Moreno Glacier on a glacier trekking tour
Trekking on the glacier!
View from the window of the Perito Moreno Navigation boat tour of the glacier
The view from the boat on the ride over.

Without a doubt, seeing Perito Moreno Glacier is a highlight of visiting El Calafate. If you want to book a tour right this minute, this mini-trekking tour on Perito Moreno Glacier easily tops our list. It’s a five-hour hike, but we found it doable even if you’ve never winter hiked before! All the gear you need is provided and the scenery is spectacular with every step.

It’s a full day that also includes free time to explore the famous glacier walkways and a boat ride across the Brazo Rico to see the glacier’s front walls and Icebergs Channel. Round-trip transportation and everything you need for the hiking excursion is included in the $390 USD cost. Hiking on a glacier is one of those experiences you’ll be telling your grandkids about so book this epic tour online!

About El Calafate

Laguna Nimez, El Calafate
Check out all the pink flamingos at Laguna Nimez!

El Calafate is located on Lake Argentino in Argentina’s Patagonia region. Believe me when I say Patagonia is the stuff of legends, and this town is the gateway to all its natural wonders. It’s full of rugged landscapes, beautiful glaciers, and warm hospitality. 

Its name comes from the Calafate berry, which holds a special place in the hearts of indigenous Tehuelche people. As their legend goes, anyone who eats the Calafate berry returns for more – and we believe it! Although we haven’t tried this fruit, we’ve returned to explore this area’s beauty. And El Calafate draws visitors from all over the world.

Most travelers are enticed by its crown jewel – the majestic Perito Moreno Glacier. On our first visit to the glacier, we were immediately impressed by its sheer size. It’s actually one of the few glaciers that is still growing. And if you stick around long enough, you’ll see chunks of ice break off and splash into the waters below!  

But El Calafate offers far more than solely the glacier. The town itself is super picturesque, with quaint streets and stores, beautiful lakes, and even hidden caves! We also discovered it has delicious food like asado (Argentine barbecue) and artisanal chocolates – and I highly suggest you try both!

El Calafate is also midway between El Chalten and Torres Del Paine National Park. So if you’re looking to explore both – El Calafate is a good place to stay!

It takes about 3.5 hours to drive to El Chalten, which is full of epic views and is a great starting point for the Mount Fitz Roy hike. Torres del Paine National Park is actually in Chile but is just 3 hours away. It’s full of amazing hikes and camping as well if you want to stay in a hotel in Torres del Paine National Park for a couple days.

Why Book a Tour in El Calafate?

Intendencia Parque Nacional Los Glaciers in El Calafate, Argentina
Exploring El Calafate!

Patagonia is a vast, wild region, and there’s so much to see here. While you can explore it on your own, we highly recommend booking a tour in El Calafate. Believe me, if you want to see everything in a convenient and hassle-free way, tours are the way to go. 

El Calafate’s natural wonders are scattered across its surroundings. There aren’t exactly buses going from place to place – and the public transport that does exist is limited and unreliable. Ultimately, you’ll need a ride to access these remote areas. By opting for a tour, you can see many of the region’s highlights without worrying about logistics – which makes it much more enjoyable!

On a tour, you’ll get the added benefit of knowledgeable guides. These local guides intimately understand the land and its people. They offer fascinating insights into the area’s history, geology, and wildlife and entertain you with captivating stories. I felt this in-depth knowledge really enriched my experience here, making me feel even more connected to the land. 

Of course, there is also the option of renting a car in Patagonia – but you should always rent from a reputable company. We often use Discover Cars to secure the best rates by comparing some of the most trustworthy dealerships around.

10 Best Tours in El Calafate

1. Mini Trekking Excursion on Perito Moreno Glacier

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

Glacier trekking in Patagonia was a dream come true for us. And with this guided tour of the Perito Moreno Glacier, there was no stressful planning to speak of! All the necessary equipment is provided, allowing you to focus solely on the exhilarating experience.

After a stunning drive to the national park, we had some free time to walk around the Perito Moreno Glacier walkways. These balconies have amazing views of the glacier, so you can catch a glimpse of what you’ll be hiking across!

Then, a boat takes you from the Bajo las Sombras pier to the face of the glacier. Here, you’ll begin the highlight of the tour, an epic trek over an actual glacier! The whole hike takes about five hours. You’ll need to be reasonably fit since it is a workout, but the stunning scenery is well worth it.

Plus, the guides made it super accessible (even if you have zero experience). They provide crampons, but make sure to wear warm clothes and hiking shoes. Since food isn’t included, I’d also bring a packed lunch, snacks, and drinks. And if you want to know exactly what to expect, you can read our guide on mini trekking on Perito Moreno Glacier here.

But I assure you that this 10-hour excursion is any intrepid traveler’s dream come true. It brings you up close to one of the rarest and most inhospitable ecosystems on Earth – yet, the tour makes you feel safe every step of the way!

The tour costs $390 USD per person and starts around 8 am. It includes roundtrip transport from your hotel in El Calafate and all the gear you need for this icy adventure. 

However, you’ll need to pay the admission fee in pesos when entering Los Glaciares National Park. At the time of writing this article, it was $10,000 ARS ($20 USD) per adult and $1,500 ARS ($3 USD) per child (ages 6-16), but you can check the updated prices here.

If you’ve been dreaming about hiking a glacier, this is your chance! Don’t miss out and book this tour online today!

Related Read: Find out the best time to visit Perito Moreno to avoid crowds and see the most action on the glacier!

2. Perito Moreno Glacier Big Ice Trek

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

For the folks who have a little more stamina, book this epic Perito Moreno glacier trek. You’ll spend even more time hiking across the glacier, witnessing waterfalls, ice caves, and incredible views. Experienced guides will show you the best hidden gems on the trek and educate you on the area as you explore.

This 12-hour excursion starts around 7 am with pick-up from your El Calafate hotel. You’ll head to the harbor, passing through beautiful scenery in a comfy air-conditioned vehicle. It was the perfect way to wake up, and your guides shared interesting info throughout the drive.

Once at the Bajo las Sombras harbor, we took a scenic boat ride to the glacier. After gearing up with the complimentary crampons, we were ready for this once-in-a-lifetime experience!

We ventured through the enchanting forest along Brazo Rico, ultimately reaching the base of the Perito Moreno Glacier. Here, we were awestruck with the 200-foot (61-meter) high ice wall dominating our eyeline. And as we ascended the glacier, the beautiful surroundings continued to impress us. We saw waterfalls, lagoons, streams, and intricate formations carved by the ever-moving glacier.

One of my favorite parts of this tour was stopping to savor our well-deserved lunch. It felt like we were picnicking in an icy wonderland! Energized and invigorated, we retraced our steps back to the glacier’s edge, returning the way we came. In total, we spent four hours on the ice – and we enjoyed every minute of the adventure!

This tour costs between $1,035-$1,604 USD per person depending on what time of year you go. It includes crampons, roundtrip transportation from your El Calafate hotel, and amazing guides. The higher price tag means the tour is capped at only 10 people, whereas cheaper tours can have as many as 50 participants. However, you’ll have to pay in pesos for entry to Los Glaciares National Park, which currently costs 10,000 ARS ($20 USD).  

Participants must be physically fit and between 18-50 years old for this trek. You should also dress warm and wear a windbreaker, sunglasses, a hat, and hiking shoes. Also, don’t forget to pack snacks, water, and a yummy lunch to enjoy at the top of the glacier!

If you’re an avid hiker, you’ll love this glacier trekking experience. So check availability and secure your spot online here!

3. Full-Day Tour to Perito Moreno Glacier with Navigation

Glacier scenic cruise El Calafate
From close-up, you can really see just how big the glaciers are!

If many hours trudging across the ice isn’t really your style, take this scenic tour of the Perito Moreno Glacier. You’ll witness the glacier from walkways, viewpoints, and aboard a boat tour! Seeing this natural wonder from different perspectives is absolutely incredible – and makes for the best photos!

After a 9 am pick up, you’ll head straight to the Perito Moreno walkways. You will arrive early in the morning, beating most of the crowds so you can enjoy a leisurely stroll in peace!

These walkways bring you face to face with the ferocious ice beast – and you’ll immediately understand why it’s a top attraction in Argentina. This intricate system of balconies offer awe-inspiring views from different vantage points, so bring your camera!

After you’ve explored by foot, this tour takes you on an hour-long navigation across the icy water. Sailing next to glaciers is an unforgettable experience. And since you get within 490 feet (150 meters) of the glacier, you really feel like you meet this ice beast head-on!

For just $139 USD, you get roundtrip transportation, a boat ride, and a professional guide. It really is great value for your money, and the entire tour lasts 8 hours. Again, you’ll need to pay the admission fee for Los Glaciares National Park in pesos. Currently, it’s $10,000 ARS ($20 USD) per adult and $1,500 ARS ($3 USD) per child (ages 6-16), but you can check the updated prices here.

To experience the Perito Moreno Glacier for a great price, book this full-day tour online here!

4. Gourmet Glaciers Navigation

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

This 11-hour tour is an exceptional opportunity to see as many glaciers and icy outcrops as possible! And while you cruise along the enchanting glacial lake, you’ll be served a hearty lunch to warm your insides. The combination of scenery, sailing, and scrumptious cuisine makes this tour a winner for me!

You’ll start the adventure at the private port of La Soledad around 9 am. It’s the perfect time to set sail towards the captivating North Canal of Lake Argentino. I love this tour because you get to see sooo many glaciers and ice formations from the boat! And if you’re lucky, you might even catch a glimpse of a condor flying above.

Along the Upsala Canal, you’ll navigate through a mesmerizing display of ice floes, offering glimpses of the awe-inspiring Upsala Glacier. You will continue towards the Spegazzini Channel, where you’ll be greeted by the Seco, Heim Sur, and Peinetta glaciers. 

Next, you will make your way to Puesto de Las Vacas, a Patagonian forest that borders both beaches and mountains. Here, you’ll go on a 30-minute hike, enjoying a completely different terrain with stunning scenery. This secluded area feels like an oasis, and you wouldn’t be able to enjoy it without booking a tour!

Returning to the boat, you will be treated to a delectable lunch (make sure to let your tour operator know if you have any dietary restrictions in advance). As you savor each bite of your meal, your journey continues, leading you to the Spegazzini Glacier, the tallest glacier within the National Park. 

But the adventure doesn’t end there. You’ll also have the option to explore the Perito Moreno Glacier walkways for 1.5 hours (which felt like the perfect amount of time). If you choose to see these walkways, you really get to see this impressive glacier from all angles!

There are several options when booking this tour online. The cheapest one ($170-$222 USD) is the classic without transportation or disembarking at the Perito Moreno footbridges. This is a good choice if you’ve rented a car in Patagonia and can drive yourself everywhere.

If you want a more luxurious all-inclusive experience, opt for the Full VIP tour. For $360-$442 USD per person (depending on the time of year), you get balcony seating on the boat, roundtrip transportation from El Calafate, and a landing at the Perito Moreno walkway. Getting to Perito Moreno Glacier can be tricky without a car, so a tour that includes everything will make your day that much easier!

Regardless of what tour you take, you’ll need to pay the entry fee for Los Glaciares National Park in pesos. Currently, it’s $10,000 ARS ($20 USD) per adult and $1,500 ARS ($3 USD) per child (ages 6-16), but you can check the updated prices here.

There are even more classic and VIP options available, so you’re bound to find one that suits your needs. So if you want to sail, hike, and feast on Lake Argentino, check them all out and book your favorite here!

5. Torres Del Paine Full-Day Overland Truck 4×4 from Calafate

Lake Pehoe in Torres del Paine National Park

If you have a burning desire for adventure, few things come close to an overland truck experience in Patagonia. On this exhilarating journey to Torres del Paine, you’ll travel in a rugged vehicle, taking offroad shortcuts that normal busses couldn’t dream of. And once in the park, expect hiking and exploring through the Chilean wilderness!

You’ll venture into Torres del Paine National Park, where you will come face to face with turquoise lakes, jagged snow-capped mountains, and grazing guanacos. One of my favorite things about this park is just how many animals there are – and your guide will help you spot as many as possible! Plus, your driver will stop at all the best viewpoints to snap amazing photos.

We pulled over for a scenic lunch along the riverside at Cascada Paine. Keep your eyes peeled for the elusive puma in the area! Overall, we loved the lunch they provided, fueling us up for the second half of the day: a 2-hour trek leading to the shores of Lake Pehoé and Lake Nordenskjöld.

There are many tours through Torres del Paine National Park. But if you’re coming from El Calafate, this is definitely one of the most efficient. So if you want to visit Chile for the day, here’s your chance!

Make sure to bring your passport and that it allows you to cross the border, of course! You should also bring cash to exchange for Chilean pesos (you’ll need this to pay the park admission fee). The Torres del Paine entrance costs $8,000 CLP ($10 USD). Lunch is provided, but you can bring extra dry snacks (but any meats or produce will be tossed at the border!).

This massive 14-hour excursion costs only $200 USD per person and includes lunch, a hiking guide, and hotel pick-up and drop-off. You’ll just need to be ready to go around 6:30 am to start your fun-filled day!

This tour is completely unique from the regular glacier tours from El Calafate. So if you’re looking for something different, we highly recommend adding this experience to your El Calafate itinerary.

If you’re passionate about the wilderness and animal spotting, book this tour online here!

6. One day in El Chalten with Trekking

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

El Chalten is seen as the trekking capital of Argentina. As such, we had to seize the opportunity to explore the southern Andes on foot. And this day trip to El Chalten isn’t only for the hiking-minded. While you do get to hike, you can also join the tour for the marvelous drive and free time in El Chalten town.

On this tour, you have two different options depending on the time of year. The first option is available all year long. It involves a guided journey to Mirador de los Cóndores for a spectacular view of El Chalten. You’ll also visit the Chorrillo del Salto, where you’ll walk the 500-meter (0.3-mile) trail to a beautiful waterfall.

The second option runs from September to April (although it’s weather dependent) and is a self-guided hike up Mount Fitz Roy. We found the 8-kilometer (5-mile) round-trip trail very manageable. Also, we were simply blown away by the vistas that just wouldn’t quit! Within 1.5 hours, we reached Laguna Capri, where we stood frozen, peering at the striking edges of the mighty mountain. 

This tour is a fun addition to your trip – and it won’t break the bank at only $58-$72 USD, depending on when you book. It includes roundtrip transportation from your El Calafate hotel and your friendly guides, but you’re responsible for your own food. If you don’t want to answer the age-old question, “What do you feel like eating?” you can add lunch for an additional $9 USD.

The tour begins at 7:30 am and lasts 10.5 hours. So if you’ve been dying to visit El Chalten – this is the perfect day trip from El Calafate! You can hike, soak up amazing views, and enjoy the town by booking this full-day tour here!

7. Sailing to Upsala Glacier

Upsala Glacier in Argentina
Upsala Glacier in Argentina

Los Glaciares National Park has many faces, and this sailing trip to Upsala Glacier brings you one step closer to uncovering them all. We love this tour because it visits two really cool destinations you wouldn’t see on just any cruise. You’ll pass by Upsala Glacier, the largest of its kind in South America. Plus, you get to step off the boat to explore Estancia Cristina, a historical ranch nestled at the very edge of the world.

You can request pickup at 7:30 am or meet your group directly at the starting point. You’ll immediately board your ship and enjoy hot drinks and croissants, or as the locals call them, “medialunas” which translates to “half moons”.

Let the spirit of adventure be the wind in your sails as you take on Patagonia’s mesmerizing Lago Argentino. On this boat excursion, you’ll glide over turquoise water as you pass majestic icebergs. Feel the crisp Patagonian breeze brush against your skin as you sail toward Estancia Cristina.

Unlike most cruises in the area, this one offers you the chance to set foot on land. First stop at a historic sheep and cattle ranch where time seems to stand still. Wander through the hallowed halls of Estancia Cristina, each weathered beam and worn brick holding a secret from the past. Afterward, enjoy a gourmet lunch served by their amazing staff.

Then comes the moment of choice … will you embark on an off-road odyssey, gripping the handles of a 4×4 vehicle as you conquer the untamed terrain? Or will you opt for a gentle trek leading you to a hidden waterfall?

Either option allows you to venture deeper into the lush Patagonian landscape. If you’re anything like me, your senses are closely tied to your memory. And the smell and feel of the fresh air, along with the stunning scenery, make this journey unforgettable.

Both options last 11 hours and include roundtrip transportation, knowledgeable guides, lunch, and snacks. The serene waterfall walking tour to Los Perros costs $295 USD, while the adrenaline-fueled 4×4 trip costs $495 USD per person.

Whichever option you choose, this tour provides such a unique experience in Patagonia. You can learn more and secure your spot online here!

8. Rio Miter Horseback Riding

Horseback riding in El Calafate
Horseback riding in El Calafate

We sailed, we walked, and we drove all across the Patagonian wilds, but one adventure was still looming: horseback riding! Gaucho culture has a strong legacy in Argentina, and we were hungry to explore this side of local life. Not to mention hungry for some legendary Argentinian steaks! So, we saddled up and joined this horseback riding tour.

The tour took us to the Rio Mitre Estancia, an authentic Patagonian ranch. With the Andes Mountains and the Magallanes Peninsula as our backdrop, we immediately felt the tranquil vibes of this area. We were greeted with coffee, tea, and mate (an Argentinian staple you must try!).

After a brief introduction, we embarked on a horseback ride along the shores of Lake Rico. We loved our gaucho tour in Buenos Aires, but this one in Calafate offered more actual horseback riding, which was so much fun! As we traversed the landscape, our guide shared captivating tales of the region’s geography and history. What’s great is these guides tailor the narrative to the interests of your group – so you’re sure to stay entertained!

Our journey led us to a grove where we discovered the remnants of the old main house, a testament to the rich heritage of this land. Here, in this most idyllic setting imaginable, a mouthwatering feast awaited us: a sizzling array of grilled steaks accompanied by fresh, vibrant vegetables and crisp salads. 

The longer tour costs $217 USD and includes 4 hours on horseback, so might not be suitable for everyone. But if you can stay in the saddle that long, it’s well worth it! You can also take a shorter ride to the Miter River for only $140 USD if you aren’t up for a lengthy journey. However, the whole tour is 6 hours, so you would spend more time at the ranch than on a horse.

Whichever tour you choose, you’ll get a little taste of the gaucho life along with the local cuisine. Both options have a 9 am or 3 pm start time and include roundtrip transportation from El Calafate, a hearty meal, and your guides. If you’re ready to saddle up and explore Patagonia, check availability and book your tour here!

Related Read: For foodies who are also visiting Buenos Aires, read about the Argentine Experience here!

9. Kayak Experience through the Perito Moreno Glacier

Kayakers near Perito Moreno Glacier
Photo credit: Ymgerman Depositphotos

Kayaking around glaciers sounds like the kind of adventure best left to the likes of seasoned adventurers, but this kayaking experience in Patagonia begs to differ. You can get all of the adventures with none of the worries. Plus, you’ll be eye-level with and super close to one of the best sights in Argentina – the mammoth Perito Moreno Glacier. It’s the perfect experience for thrill-seekers who love an active tour!

Although we didn’t get to kayak, we heard amazing stories from those that did. They described how you could hear the cracks and thunders from the ice as it moves at, for lack of a better word, a glacial pace. Let’s just say we definitely got some FOMO, and kayaking is at the top of our list next time we visit! 

Plus, you don’t need any prior kayaking experience. The knowledgeable guides will give you a briefing and make sure you feel super safe. You’ll be fully equipped with state-of-the-art gear, including a Gore-Tex dry suit, a thermal suit, boots, gloves, and a life jacket. The kayaking experience lasts 1.5 hours, and you’ll be treated to warm drinks and snacks when you get back to dry land.

What I love about this tour is that you’ll see the glacier from multiple perspectives – since you’ll also get 2 hours to walk around the fabulous walkways. This gives you a chance to enjoy more time with the glacier’s southern front and practice those photography skills! 

This tour costs $350 USD and includes lunch, snacks, warm drinks, quality equipment, and hotel pick-up and drop-off. You do need a minimum of two people to book, but it makes for a great bonding experience! The only extra fee is the National Park entry fee which is standard with all tours in this region. When we went, it was $10,000 ARS ($20 USD) paid in pesos, but you can check the current price online here.

How many people can say they’ve kayaked past glaciers? Well, YOU can by booking this epic tour online here!

10. Walichu Caves with 4×4 tour

Walichu Caves with Patagonia Dreams
Walichu Caves. Photo credit: Patagonia Dreams

Every minute spent in El Calafate is precious, and we wanted to maximize our time with one last tour before departing. This 3-hour tour to Walichu Caves gave us exactly the sendoff we longed for. We entered million-year-old caves to learn the history of the region – and feast on Patagonian cuisine.

The Walichu Caves are only a 20-minute drive from town, along the beautiful Lake Argentino. Once you arrive, you’ll dive right into the enigmatic atmosphere of the caves. Your expert guides will lead you, unveiling the secrets and significance of these remarkable caves and their paintings.

As you venture deeper into the caverns, the vivid colors and intricate details of the artwork really come to life. They offer a glimpse into the beliefs, traditions, and lives of those who lived here long ago.

Lunch was served in one of the caves, a truly unique experience in itself! We indulged in a feast fit for the senses, savoring tender lamb and rustic country bread. We warmed up with a comforting vegetable soup, finishing it off with a delectable chocolate mousse. And like any proper Argentine meal, we washed it all down with delicious local wine.

If you love history, anthropology, or even just novel experiences, you’ll love this tour. It brings you in touch with those who forged a path through these lands, and the guides bring their stories to life.

All of this only costs between $86-$143 USD, including roundtrip transportation from El Calafate hotels in a rugged 4×4. Tours begin at 11 am, so come hungry and curious, and you’ll leave satisfied! The tour helped us wrap up the true trip of a lifetime. However, it would also make a wonderful introduction to your visit!

Not only is this tour convenient, but it’s also educational, fun, and full of good food! To take advantage of this unique opportunity, check availability and book your tour online here!  

Related Read: Another awesome thing to do while in Argentina is to visit Iguazu Falls. To learn more about this beautiful destination, read my blog about planning your trip to Iguazu Falls and the best tours to the falls from Buenos Aires.

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 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!
  • See a fossil forest – Visiting La Leona Petrified Forest is a pretty amazing stop. In this fossilized forest, the trees have literally turned to stone! There are even dinosaur fossils among the petrified wood. So cool! The forest is on private land, so you’ll need to book this tour to see it.
  • 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.

Renting a Car in Argentina

renting a car in patagonia

On one of our visits to Patagonia, we enjoyed renting a car – 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!

Thanks for reading!

Daniel and Bailey pose for a photo on the boardwalk of Perito Moreno Glacier
Thanks for reading!

El Calafate makes an excellent base for exploring Patagonia! However, this area is quite spread out and can be hard to navigate on your own – which is why tours come in handy! I hope our list has helped you find one you love, so you can enjoy El Calafate as much as we did.

If you’re traveling through other parts of the country, check out our blog all about Argentina. You can also read more about Patagonia here. And to give you an idea of what we write about, I’ve added some links below!

Fun things to do in Punta Arenas, Chile

The 7 BEST Sightseeing Tours in Buenos Aires

15 BEST Tours in Ushuaia, Argentina