El Calafate – Parting with Patagonia

The last stop on our Patagonia adventure brought us to the enchanting town of El Calafate, Argentina. Surrounded by nature and teeming with charm, this lovely little spot dug its way into our hearts so deep that we visited twice! Set along a scenic backdrop with snow-capped mountains peeking in the distance, El Calafate is the perfect getaway year-round. Here, local legend dictates that anyone who eats wild calafate (the sweet berry for which the city is named) is sure to return to Patagonia. Knowing that we would soon be leaving the Patagonia region we made sure to take in every last bit of natural beauty this place had to offer, eating as many calafate berries as we could while vowing to return someday.

El Calafate lake
Welcome to El Calafate!

What to See in El Calafate

Perito Moreno Glacier

This is an absolute must when visiting the area. A short bus ride (about 1.5 hours) from El Calafate will bring you face to face with this impressive glacier inside Los Glaciares National Park. There are numerous attractions inside the park suitable for all budgets. Take a boat ride onto the lake to experience incredible views of the advancing glacier from all angles, or hike onto it while enjoying some whiskey on the rocks (the “rocks” fresh off the glacier, of course). Those on a tighter budget can skip all the extras and take a leisurely hike along the wooden platform, jaws agape as you slowly inch your way towards this stunner!

Manu and I splurged a bit and did the boat ride along with the hike (included in the park’s entrance fee). It was fun and I would recommend it since the trip was pleasant, we got fairly close to the glacier and had countless opportunities to get great pictures while onboard.

Entrance Fees (2016)

  • $330 Argentinian Pesos (ARS)- Foreigners
  • $250 ARS- Mercosur passport (we paid $200 in January and prices have gone up since)
  • $200 ARS- Argentinian passport


  • Pack a lunch and enjoy it in nature, the café and restaurant in the park are pricey.
Glaciares National Park front entrance
Glaciares National Park


Manu and Adriane in front of Perito Moreno
Ready to see Perito Moreno from the boat


Perito Moreno glacier
Hello Beautiful!


Picnic after the boat ride- Save money by packing a lunch
Picnic after the boat ride- Save money by packing a lunch


View of the glacier from the platform
The glacier from the platform


Perito Moreno glacier in the background
You can get great views of Perito Moreno along the hike – Watch and listen as the glacier shifts


Glacier from above
Glacier from above


Manu and Adriane in front of the glacier
Enjoying the incredible views!


Getting sentimental watching this amazing natural wonder...
Getting sentimental watching this amazing natural wonder…


Up close views of the glacier from the boat
Up close views from the boat


iceberg in the lake
Iceberg in the lake


Park map
Park map

Laguna Nimez

This bird sanctuary located on Lago Argentino is the perfect place for an afternoon stroll. The hike takes you around the lagoon passing a multitude of birds along the panoramic vista. You’ll also find calafate bushes along the hike (eat up)!

Laguna Nimez entrance
Laguna Nimez entrance


Terrific views along our hike
Terrific views along our hike


Enjoying the scenery in the lake
Enjoying the scenery


A bird feather up close. Bird watching is prime at this spot
Birds all around the lake


Lagoon map
Lagoon map

Paseo de los Artesanos

Talented artists from all around the region converge in this market to showcase their beautiful work. You can find everything here from knitted sweaters to hand carved trinkets.

Charming artisans market
Charming artisans market

Eat and Drink

AnandA Resto/Bar

This laid-back place in front of Laguna Nimez offers some great craft beers, huge sandwiches and mouthwatering empanadas. Sit back and enjoy lunch with a view.

Manu and Adriane sitting at a cafe in front of the lake
Lunch and views for days!
Lunch by the lake
Lunch by the lake


Viva la Pepa

  • Simple eatery with a good selection of tasty and healthy vegetarian meals.


Fresh local carrots
Fresh local food


  • A cozy spot to grab a sandwich or salad. They also have fresh natural juices and some brunch items.


Libro Bar

  • A bar with beer and books?! Sign me up. They have outdoor seating and an upstairs patio perfect for enjoying a few libations.
Librobar restaurant in calafate
Hanging out at Librobar

Colorful books as staircases at Librobar

Colorful chalk board at Librobar


  • Like the rest of Patagonia, food is expensive in El Calafate (we found this true in all of Argentina in general due to high inflation when we visited- but especially down South).
  • In Argentina it is customary for some restaurants to have a sort of cover charge per person known as a “cubierto”. This can seem quite annoying since you’re already paying for the food and drinks. If you’re on a budget look for places advertising “no cobramos cubierto”.


Jardin de los Presentes

We found this place last minute on Booking.com and got a great deal. When we arrived we found out they had overbooked our budget room so we were upgraded to the townhouse/cabin. Although it is a bit far from the center of town the breakfast was plentiful, the staff was friendly and it was a good value overall.


Once you arrive to the bus station try walking around town to find great last minute deals close to the main strip.

Jardin de Los Presentes cabin
Jardin de Los Presentes cabin


Jardin de Los Presentes cabin
Our cabin


Manu and Adriane with glacier in background
Thanks for all the great memories Patagonia! We will be back!