El Calafate is a popular tourist town in southern Argentina, it is part of the Patagonian region and is the gateway to Perito Moreno Glacier, Los Glaciares National Park, and stunning trekking in El Chalten. There are buses and flights to El Calafate from as far north as Buenos Aires, in the south from Ushuaia and also buses from Torres del Paine in Chile. A trip out to Perito Moreno Glacier is a must which can be done on a tour or simply by catching the bus out for a few hours.
Perito Moreno Glacier is one of only a few patagonian glaciers that are still advancing. This glacier is in a constant state of movement which gives its visitors a spectacular show every single day when sections, sometimes quite large sections, break-off and crash into the water below. On occasion the glacier has been know to make landfall and dam the water on the western side of the glacier which then builds ups and eventually creates a land-bridge and then that bridge eventually collapses.
The shape of the valley and the general area make access and viewing of this glacier very easy, there is a road right up to its face. A substantial boardwalk has been constructed along the shore opposite the face of the glacier which gives you a front row seat to all the action but at a safe distance. If the boardwalk isn’t enough then you can head out onto the ice on a tour with Hielo & Aventura. We did the Mini Ice option which was OK but I wouldn’t really recommend it, the Big Ice option would be much better as you get to spend a lot more time on the ice and see a more remote area. Other companies also offer similar trips in the El Chalten region and they also include ice climbing.
The only thing to see in El Calafate is the glacier so the following day we caught one of the many daily buses to El Chalten, 3 hours away.