“El Calafate / Perito Moreno .... What a beauty!!”
My wife and I visited Argentina (B.A., Bariloche, El Calafate and Ushuaia) for our honeymoon (October 2005).
From Bariloche (my previous review) we flew to El Calafate. If you have made reservation with a travel agency, they will come to pick you up. If you are the adventurous / spontaneous type and didn’t make reservations, you have 2 options. Take a taxi or a shuttle, the shuttle is about 5 dollars cheaper, maybe less, the only problem is that they make multiple stops to drop off passengers. We learned our lesson and took a taxi on the way back. It takes about 20 minutes to get to the city from the airport, therefore if you want to go by your own schedule, take a taxi. It allows you more time to go shopping or relax. People complained to us that they were picked up 2 hours before their flight, while we left 40 minutes before our flight.
We stayed in El Calafate 3 days and 2 nights. I thought it was more than plenty; unless you plan to take a horse back ridding tour to Perito Moreno. We stayed in “Posada Los Alamos”, a very nice hotel, we got a chance to see “Calafate Parque Hotel” and it seemed a very nice hotel. Los Alamos has a golf course across the street from the hotel as well as their restaurant where a complementary breakfast is served every day. At check in the hotel provides each guest with a voucher for a complementary drink. The bellboys at the hotel were very courteous; they wait at the curb to help their guests with their bags.
The first day we tour the town; there is only one main street, Av. Libertador where most of the shops and restaurants are. 2 good restaurants that we tried were “La Vaca Atada” (good trout) and Ricks Café. Now if you want to get the most for your dollar, go to Rick’s café it is a “tenedor abierto” in other words ALL you can eat “Parrilla”. They had great choices, “Biffe de Chorizo”, lamb, sausage and rabbit. It cost us $20 (59 Pesos) for 1 buffet, 1 regular plate (pasta) and a bottle of wine.
For Perito Moreno, all tours leave really early in the morning since it is located far from the city, about 2 hours… it depends how many people are in your tour. We chose the mini-trekking with a 2 hour stop at the rails. It cost about $100 with the Park entrance fee. (Make sure to ask if your tour includes the fee). I am not sure if the $100 were per person or for the 2 of us. The bus first stops for pictures in front of the “Los Notros” hotel. It is a very beautiful hotel with an incredible view, they charge about $1,000 a night but it includes everything… The bus then takes you to the rails where you get to see the glacier up close… I have been to 3 other glaciers (Peru, Alaska and Ushuaia) and this one is the best by far!!!. The picture does not come close to the real beauty of the glacier. Pieces of ice fall all the time which makes a very loud noise, very similar to thunder, the bigger the pieces the bigger the noise and the splash.
After the rails the bus takes you to a boat which first takes you very close to the glacier, as it maneuvers through small icebergs you get to see how high the glacier really is (200 feet). After the ride the boat takes you to land where groups are formed with multiple guides (English and Spanish). The guides will give you and help you put on the spikes to climb the glacier. The hike last about 2 hours, bring your camera and food. We brought cookies and mix of nuts with raisins, don’t worry about water, the glacier water is very good. The one thing the tour gave us on top of the glacier was water, chocolate and scotch. The hike is not that difficult. A 70yr old man made it… granted, he had his own guide and in some instances he had to crawl… but at the end he made it. I hope I can do that at 70.
I hope that this information was helpful. If I ever go back, I heard that there is a 2 day horse back ridding tour that starts from El Calafate and it goes all the way to Perito Moreno. If anyone has done it, please post.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.