The bus ride from Puerto Natales, Chile to El Calafate, Argentina, was all things considered, not too bad.
After just over an hour drive we stopped at the Chilean border control where the workers quickly shuttled us through stamping our exit passports. Just a short drive later we were on the Argentinian side entering; this took a little while longer in the cramped booth, but mostly went off without a hitch.
Another three and a half hours and we had made it to the quaint wooden houses of El Calafate on a beautifully sunny Christmas eve.
Once accommodated in a hostel and well fed we quickly followed the crowds into the one and only supermarket in town, that was about to close. We gathered some snacks and lunch supplies for the following day in the ravaged market, and then went to the information office to figure out plans for the next couple of days.
As everything closed for Christmas, we headed back to the hostel for a quiet evening and a well deserved laundry load.
|Glaciar Perito Moreno
Perito Moreno Glacier
The next morning we had a bit of a mix up with breakfast and were accidentally delegated to the kitchen for bread and butter. By the time it was cleared up, we quickly grabbed some juice and cake for the road and were off to get good seats for our tour to Perito Moreno Glacier.
We arrived at the park and had the whole day to view this impressive glacier from the many passarelas (walkways) on all sides. We stood and sat for hours staring at this immense chunk of ice, whose pieces would come crashing down in intervals.
The blue-ish brighttness extending as far as the eyes could see, kept us captivated until it was time to head back to town , slightly sunburned but very content. We ended the evening with a good pizza and good night’s sleep, ready for another adventure.
|breakage in action
|passarelas from above
|glacier, as far as the eye can see
Tips for Traveling to El Calafate
EL CALAFATE is a mall touristy town with loads of restaurants, hotels and tour operators that take you to Perito Moreno and northward.
Touring in El Calafate
Perito Moreno- THE reason to come to El Calafate, an amazing glacier and a Patagonian highlight, entrance to Parque Nacional Los Glaciares 75 ARS/person. Can be explored via various types of tours- anything from just a bus to get there, to a bus plus short boat tour, to ice trekking on the glacier.
Accommodations in El Calafate
Hostal del Glaciar Libertador– nice HI hostel a couple blocks from main tourist strip, variety of room types. Av. Libertador 587. Tel. 02902-492492
Dining in El Calafate
Ovejitas de la Patagonia– good local chocolate shop, try the hot chocolate! Located at Av. Libertador 1197, Tel. 02902-491-315.
Casablanca- good pizza on main road Av. Libertador 1202.
Viva La Pepa Creppes & Passion- good light meals- salad/sandwich/crepes, located at Emilio Amado 833.
Transportation in El Calafate
Cal Tur- one of three main bus companies. Runs tour to Perito Moreno (just a bus) at 10:00 or 13:45 for 100 ARS roundtrip. Buses to El Chalten at 8:00, 13:00 and 18:30 for 150 ARS roundtrip.(Both buses can be booked for 210 ARS). Seats are not assigned, get there early to grab a good seat.