TOUR INFORMATION AND TIPS

Allow us to assist you to choose the tours which will most enhance your Argentina visit; We recommend those which we have personally enjoyed the most.

In addition, we will give you our valuable insider's tips—a collection of our staff and guests' experiences and feedback.

You'll be well-educated to make good choices to plan your Argentine holiday.

 

USEFUL TIPS

 

 

Tours and Tips for El Calafate

Elcalafate glacier trekking

Visit one of the largest Glaciers National Park in the world declared a natural heritage by the United Nations. Walk on the imposing Perito Moreno Glacier, one of largest and few active glaciers in the world. Once you hear the crackle of breaking ice and see the immense sheets of ice walls plunging precipitously into the waters, you will realize that you're witnessing one of the most impressive spectacles in the world.


 

 

Read below to learn about our suggested El Calafate tours and our useful insider's tips for having the best time in The Glaciers Region!

 
click on photos to enlarge
elcalafate trekking on perito moreno

elcalafate perito moreno crampons
Crampons

elcalafate couple on perito moreno

periot moreno glacier el calafate
South Wall of The Perito Moreno Glacier

el calafate periot moreno glacier pieces

el calafate periot moreno glacier wall

Perito Moreno Glacier in El Calafate

periot moreno argentina

Multi Adventure on the Perito Moreno Glacier

Part 1: Glacier trekking on the Perito Moreno Glacier

Prepare to experience a one of a kind adventure trekking on the mighty Perito Moreno Glacier, located in the Glaciers National Park. The UNESCO declared this site a natural heritage in 1981 because it harbors the longest existing glaciers outside of Antarctica (covering 75.3 square miles or 195 square kilometers). You will have your own private vehicle for the transfers and the assistance of a private guide for the visit to the Perito Moreno Glacier.

After 1 hour and forty minutes we arrive to "Bajo las Sombras" (beneath the Shadows) port.

We prepare for a 15 minutes sailing bordering the south wall of the Perito Moreno Glacier, in the Rico branch of Argentino Lake. You will admire it's 262 feet (80 meters) height, which is only 1/7 of it's total height! The full height of the south wall of the Perito Moreno Glacier is approximately 1834 feet (560 meters). An iceberg only displays 1/10 to 1/7 of its entire mass above the water, being the biggest portion of these "ice giants" under water.

After crossing to the opposite shore, our guides who are specialized in glaciology, will welcome you. Groups of 10 to 15 travelers are defined. Our guide will give you an informative explanation about Glaciers and an introductory lesson to glacier trekking. We will provided with snow treads (sort of crampons) that the guides will attach to your boots or trekking shoes. Although it is not strictly necessary, if you request them, our guide will provide you with pickets (poles) to make your trek over the glacier easier.This trek lasts about an hour and a half, and it doesn’t present any serious difficulty at all. The crampons are specially designed to make you fell as stable on ice as you would be walking without them on a regular not slippery surface. Remember that this activity was designed and planned for beginners with no experience at all, not for experts. Moreover, strict and high security measures are involved throughout all the activity.Unfortunately this tour cannot be done by people who have problems with motor skills. The trekking is divided in 2 parts. The first one is done in an easy path and does not require any strong effort at all. The second one (which is optional because you will be given the choice to continue or return with one of the guides to land surface) requires a bit more effort and will take you to discover the more inner secrets of the glacier. We strongly suggested engaging in both trekkings.

As we plod along the Perito Moreno Glacier we discover cracks and notice the different shapes that the glacier adopts because of climactic factors, as well as the distinct tones and colors of the ice itself. These latter can range from an intense white to a dark blue. These color changes are due to the pressure of different layers of ice, a pressure that over the course of thousands of years changes the tonality of the ice. By analyzing their colors, scientists can determine the ice age

After this pleasant outing on Patagonian ice we will engage in a short trekking in a Magellan forest, which will take you to a splendid lookout station situated above the forest. Here you will have lunch while you admire the Perito Moreno Glacier right in front of you!.

We recommend preparing your lunch at the hotel or local food shops during the day before the tour because there are no places to buy food at the glacier refuge. The hotels and local food shops are used to prepare lunch boxes, which are of very good quality. They cost approximately from US$ 10 to US$ 15.

After lunch we will cross Argentino Lake again until arriving back to the initial port. However, on the way back our boat will stop 985 feet (300 meters) away from the south wall of the Perito Moreno Glacier so you can take beautiful pictures of this amazing and unique natural attraction. This transfer back to port takes 30 minutes.

Difficulty: Moderate

Length: Half day

Guide: shared English/Spanish speaking guide

Transfer: shared vehicle + shared motorboat. This tour is done during the same day as the Perito Moreno Glacier Panoramic Boardwalks.

Includes: transfer + guide + entrance fee to Glaciers National Park (does not include lunch)

Part 2: Visit to panoramic boardwalks which overlook the might Perito Moreno Glacier

After enjoying the trekking on the Perito Moreno glacier we will head to the panoramic boardwalks that overlook the Perito Moreno Glacier.

There are 7 different strategically located panoramic balconies, with distances ranging from 460 to 2100 feet (140 to 640 meters) from the starting point of the trail. Each balcony is situated at a different height and distance relative to the Perito Moreno Glacier. Except the trail to the southern balcony which implies going down a long descendant path, all the trails have an easy level of difficulty, but all balconies are worth seeing because each of them will provide you a different and unique view of this spectacular glacier.

The Breaking of Perito Moreno Glacier

The phenomenon known as "the breaking of the glacier" happens when the front of the glacier reaches the Magallanes Peninsula closing the water passage towards the Iceberg Channel originating a natural dam which stops the flow of the water from the Rico arm to El Canal de los Témpanos. Therefore the waters in the Rico Arm begin to raise their level pressing against and eroding the ice that starts to weaken, and water starts to filter through. The first ice detachments take place, increasing with the water flow, until a tunnel is formed. Finally, the tunnel falls in a wonderful spectacle separating Perito Moreno Glacier from the Magallanes Peninsula. The volume of water passing through during major breaks has reached 26.000 yd3 (20.000 m3) per second.

From the catwalks you will notice the different shapes the glacier adopts because of climactic factors, as well as the distinct tones and colors of the ice itself.

We will then return to our hotel in El Calafate.

Difficulty: Easy

Duration: one and a half hours

Guide: no guide

Transfer: shared vehicle - approximate traveled distance: 100 miles (160 kilometers). This tour is done during the same day as the Multiadventure on the Perito Moreno Glacier.

 

 

 

Insider's Tip 1: The first boat crossing before starting the Perito Moreno Glacier trekking takes 15 minutes and the return crossing after the trekking takes 30 minutes. In the return navigation the boat will get closer to the glacier (a distance of 985 feet / 300 meters to the glacier) so you will be able to take great close-up photos of this colossal ice giant. If you take a set on the inside of the boat instead of in the outside, you will then not have a good spot to take the best pictures when you get closer to the Perito Moreno Glacier.

 

Insider's Tip 2: Try to get a seat next to the window on the tour vehicle. The views and landscapes on the way to the Perito Moreno Glacier are awe-inspiring! This way you will be able to take photos of these beautiful sights you will see along the way.

 

Insider's Tip 3 : You can (and should!) take your camera on the glacier trekking. Don’t forget to pack your color filters to filter off the intense glare and white lights of the glaciers, to achieve more defined contours of the shapes in your photos.

 

Insider's Tip 4: After enjoying the glacier trekking you will have a short trek on the Magellan forest up to the refuge where you will have lunch. There is no place to buy food at this refuge, so you must order a lunch box at your hotel or prepare your personal lunch box at the local grocery store at El Calafate the day before this tour. You can leave your lunch box and some personal belongins in this refuge before starting the glacier trekking.

 

Insider's Tip 5: It is very important that you try to get to the refuge as soon as possible so you can get a place in one of the tables outside the refuge which face directly the Perito Moreno Glacier. Having lunch with this magnificent glacier view in front is priceless, so hurry and don't delay on the forest trek!

 

Insider's Tip 6: This is an important tip for your visit to the panoramic balconies which outlook the Perito Moreno Glaciers. There are seven different balconies. Six upper balconies and a lower balcony. Do visit first the upper balconies and leave for the end the lower balcony. The way to the lower balcony (which most people do first expecting a closer view to the glacier) is a long way down of lot of stairs. Going down to the lower balcony and then returning takes quite a lot of time and if you this first, you might not have a lot of time left to visit the upper (and more impressive) balconies (the tour companies take you to the panoramic boardwalks and balconies for one hour and a half approximately when visiting them after the trekking on the Perito Moreno Glacier).

 

Insider's Tip 7: In any adventure activity how you dress can make a big difference on whether you have a great time or not. If you feel uncomfortable, too cold or too hot most probably your tour experience won't be as good. We suggest for this tour:

 

1. Bringing a waterproof windbreaker jacket. Not only will you be protected from water, but you will also be able to stand on the outer deck of the boats, take better photos, and enjoy better views of the attractions without freezing or getting completely soaked. If it rains during your tour, you will definitely be happy to have your waterproof jacket.

 

2. Bring a small bag or backpack that you can carry during the tours, where you can take your personal stuff.

 

3. Bring comfortable boots or trekking shoes, with rubber soles. Do not bring brand new shoes to avoid blisters (or use them for a couple of hours before the tour). Put some comfortable and already worn trekking shoes in your luggage.

 

4. Wear your sun glasses while walking on the glacier to avoid annoying light reflection, especially for light-eyed people.

 

5. Bring your favorite pair of gloves while trekking on the glacier. While walking on uneven surfaces or on glaciers it is not unlikely to slip and fall. If you do, gloves will protect your hands from ice or rough surfaces. Moreover, if wind is strong, gloves will keep your hands warm. Although many people don't know it and many tour companies don't advice about this, gloves are mandatory for the trekking tour on the Perito Moreno Glacier.

 

6. Be sure to include a warm cap or hat (i.e.: wool or synthetic fiber) to keep your ears warm when it is cold and windy.

 

7. You must wear comfortable and warm trekking pants or even ski pants. You should not wear rigid type of pants like jeans which limit your flexibility.

 

8. 30+ sunscreen. Your skin will be exposed to the sun during the entire day. Also keep in mind that 15 minutes on the glacier are equivalent to 1 hour of regular sun exposure because the sun is reflected from everywhere around you.

 

9. It has proved very useful to dress in many layers of clothes to be better prepared for sudden changes of temperature. Although usually temperature is stable, the strong Patagonian winds can instantly start and end within a 60 minutes period, making you very cold if you don’t have your windbreaker jacket or any proper clothing with you. Moreover, while your body temperature will rapidly increase while having fun in our outdoor activities, it will go down as fast when you are relaxing afterwards. We call this dressing technique the “onion technique” because it is based on wearing several different layers of clothing that you can take off and comfortably carry with you, and then put on again.

 

Insider's Tip 8: When booking any tour in Los Glaciares National Park ask the tour company if the entrance ticket to the National Park is included in the tour price so to avoid any unexpected extra fee.

 

Need more travel tips and advice? Contact us

 
 
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el calafate spegazzini glacier
Spegazzini Glacier

El calafate iceberg
Icebergs

El calafate upsala glacier trekking

El Calafate big iceberg
Can you see the 2 faces on the icebergs?

El Calafate huge iceberg
Gigantic Icebergs

Navigation to Upsala, Onelli and Spegazzini Glaciers

We head in the morning to Puerto Bandera (Port of the Flag) to board our boat that'll take us into the North Arm of Lake Argentino to navigate among icebergs and to the front of the imposing Upsala Glacier.

The Upsala Glacier is the largest glacier within the continental patagonic ice, even though it has suffered severe losses during the last years. It owes its name to the Swedish city of Upsala, which university promoted the first glaciological studies in the area. The height of its walls range from 197 to 262 feet (60-80 meters) and its surface is of 232 square miles (595 km2), it is 37 miles long (60 km), and 3-4 miles wide (5-7 km). The total basin surface of this glacier is of 390 square miles (1000 km2). The dept of the lake at the front of the glacier is of about 3280 feet (1000 meters).

From there we will continue on the Onelli Channel and we will disembark in Onelli Bay. Landing in Onelli Bay we find ourselves surrounded by forests. A typical patagonic forest where "lenga" and "guindo" are generally covered of "usnea" (lichens), commonly called "old man's beard". Crossing the forest, through approximately 872 yards (800 meters), we reach Onelli Lagoon, where glaciers Onelli (45 km2/18 square miles), Bolado (16 km2/6 square miles) and Agassiz (31 km2/12 square miles) meet. This lagoon is usually full with icebrgs, detachments of ice from the glaciers.

Upon finalizing the crossing of the forest we will find ourselves with the Onelli Lagoon where we will visualize the Onelli, Bolado and Heim Glaciers, remaining there for about two hours and a half.

At noon you will have free time for lunch. Then we will embark and nevigate towards the Spegazzini Channel, to see the Seco, Spegazzini and Heim South Glaciers.

Spegazzini Glacier was named after the botanist Carlos Spegazzini who made the first studies of the local flora. This glacier has a surface of 26 square miles (66 km2) and it is 15.5 miles long (25 km), and 1 mile wide (1.6 km). The height of its front (262-443 feet/80-135 meters) is an outstanding characteristic. It is the highest glacier within the National Park. Along the left margin of the glacier we find very little vegetation due to a fire that occurred over 60 years ago.

The Seco Glacier's surface is of 1.5 square mile (4 km2) and clearly shows the receding process of a glacier.

By the end of the afternoon we will return to Puerto Bandera (Port Flag). If conditions aren't favourable for us to enter the Onelli area, we will disembark at Puesto de Vacas, a beautiful site where we find a shelter formerly used by expeditions to the Continental Ice Cap.

At late afternoon you return to our hotel.

Difficulty: low

Duration: full day

Guide: shared English/Spanish speaking guide

Transfer: shared vehicle and motorboat

Includes: transfers + entrance ticket to Glaciers National Park

 

 

 

Insider's Tip 1: This is a highly complementary tour to the visit to the Perito Moreno glacier (which you should do, preferrably with the glacier trekking included) as you will see 3 different glaciers. There is another glaciers navigation tour which will take you only to the Upsala glacier. We suggest that you take the navigation tour which takes you to the Upsala, Onelli and Spegazzini glaciers. Bear in mind that the Spegazzini cannot be visited from approximately June to September.

 

Insider's Tip 2: Try to get a seat next to the window on the tour vehicle. The views and landscapes on the way to the poart are awe-inspiring! This way you will be able to take photos of these beautiful sights you will see along the way.

 

Insider's Tip 3: The boat does a stop in Onelly bay where there is a restaurant to have lunch. However, we suggest that you order at your hotel a lunch box for this tours. This way, you will be able to trek to the lake of Onelli bay and admire the beautiful icebers and glaciers views (and have lunch in front of that spectacular natural panorama) while the other tourists are in the restaurant having lunch.

 

Insider's Tip 4: In any adventure activity how you dress can make a big difference on whether you have a great time or not. If you feel uncomfortable, too cold or too hot most probably your tour experience won't be as good. We suggest for this tour:

 

1. Bringing a waterproof windbreaker jacket. Not only will you be protected from water, but you will also be able to stand on the outer deck of the boat, take better photos, and enjoy better views of the attractions without freezing or getting completely soaked. If it rains during your tour, you will definitely be happy to have your waterproof jacket

 

2. Bring a small bag or backpack that you can carry during the tours, where you can take your personal stuff.

 

3. Be sure to include a warm cap or hat (i.e.: wool or synthetic fiber) to keep your ears warm when it is cold and windy.

 

4. It has proved very useful to dress in many layers of clothes to be better prepared for sudden changes of temperature. Although usually temperature is stable, the strong Patagonian winds can instantly start and end within a 60 minutes period, making you very cold if you don’t have your windbreaker jacket or any proper clothing with you. Moreover, while your body temperature will rapidly increase while having fun in our outdoor activities, it will go down as fast when you are relaxing afterwards. We call this dressing technique the “onion technique” because it is based on wearing several different layers of clothing that you can take off and comfortably carry with you, and then put on again.

 

5. Bring your favorite pair of gloves while trekking on the glacier. While walking on uneven surfaces or on glaciers it is not unlikely to slip and fall. If you do, gloves will protect your hands from ice or rough surfaces. Moreover, if wind is strong, gloves will keep your hands warm. Although many people don't know it and many tour companies don't advice about this, gloves are mandatory for the trekking tour on the Perito Moreno Glacier.

 

Insider's Tip 5: When booking any tour in Los Glaciares National Park ask the tour company if the entrance ticket to the National Park is included in the tour price so to avoid any unexpected extra fee.

 

Need more travel tips and advice? Contact us

 
 
click on photos to enlarge
El Calafate Perito moreno aerial view

El Calafate periot moreno glacier wall

el calfate tourist taking images of perito moreno

Perito Moreno Glacier's Exciting Close-Up Navigation

This boat excursion which departs from the Puerto Moreno pier, opposite to the glacier and about 1 quarter mile (2 kilometers) from the boardwalks, is a spectacular and unique way to get as close as possible the mighty Perito Moreno Glacier.

We start navigating through the "Canal de los Témpanos" up to the glacier and in front of the north wall of the glacier, which is also called the "rupture wall", where you will see some ruptures of the glacier. From this close-up view you will enjoy the Glacier Perito Moreno at water level, allowing you to see the gigantic magnitude of its peaks and towers (180 feet - 60 meters over the lake level).

After our navigation we will return to the panoramic boardwalks that overlook the Perito Moreno Glacier.

Difficulty: Easy

Duration: 50 minutes. This tour is done with the visit to the panoramic boardwalks that overlook the Perito Moreno Glacier.

Transfer: shared motorboat.

 

 

Insider's Tip : Try to get a seat next to the window on the tour vehicle. The views and landscapes on the way to the Perito Moreno Glacier are awe-inspiring! This way you will be able to take photos of these beautiful sights you will see along the way.

 

Insider's Tip 2: In any adventure activity how you dress can make a big difference on whether you have a great time or not. If you feel uncomfortable, too cold or too hot most probably your tour experience won't be as good. We suggest for this tour:

 

1. Bringing a waterproof windbreaker jacket. Not only will you be protected from water, but you will also be able to stand on the outer deck of the boat, take better photos, and enjoy better views of the attractions without freezing or getting completely soaked. If it rains during your tour, you will definitely be happy to have your waterproof jacket

 

2. Bring a small bag or backpack that you can carry during the tours, where you can take your personal stuff.

 

3. Be sure to include a warm cap or hat (i.e.: wool or synthetic fiber) to keep your ears warm when it is cold and windy.

 

4. It has proved very useful to dress in many layers of clothes to be better prepared for sudden changes of temperature. Although usually temperature is stable, the strong Patagonian winds can instantly start and end within a 60 minutes period, making you very cold if you don’t have your windbreaker jacket or any proper clothing with you. Moreover, while your body temperature will rapidly increase while having fun in our outdoor activities, it will go down as fast when you are relaxing afterwards. We call this dressing technique the “onion technique” because it is based on wearing several different layers of clothing that you can take off and comfortably carry with you, and then put on again.

 

Insider's Tip 3: When booking any tour in Los Glaciares National Park ask the tour company if the entrance ticket to the National Park is included in the tour price so to avoid any unexpected extra fee..

 

Need more travel tips and advice? Contact us

 
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