El Calafate Favorites

  • Getting closer!
    Getting closer!
    by Constanza
  • It got quite near the Glacier, amazing!
    It got quite near the Glacier, amazing!
    by Constanza
  • Favorites
    by Constanza

Most Recent Favorites in El Calafate

  • xaver's Profile Photo

    Aeroport

    by xaver Written Jul 12, 2013

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    lake

    Favorite thing: Landing in El Calafate is an experience, I always chose the aisle side in the flight but this time I regretted, it seems really to land in the middle of nowhere, you see no airport, no city, nothing just a huge lake and some small hills around it.

    Fondest memory: The arrival, I really did not know what to expect, and all this ground withot one single house, fascinated me.

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  • vtveen's Profile Photo

    Information on the internet

    by vtveen Updated Sep 15, 2007

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    El Calafate - Av. Libertador / main street

    Favorite thing: To make it a little bit easier to find information on the internet about El Calafate some links:

    Turismo El Calafate
    El Calafate
    El Calafate
    lodging, eating, transport El Calafate
    transport
    Park National Los Glaciares

    Cootra (bus)
    Zaahj (bus)

    Aerolineas Argentinas
    LAN

    Weather information about Patagonia:
    weather

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  • TheWanderingCamel's Profile Photo

    Patagonian sheep

    by TheWanderingCamel Updated May 11, 2007

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Corriedale, merino ...
    4 more images

    Favorite thing: Sheep raising was Patagonia's main industry for many, many years. As well as Spanish(mainly Basque) and Welsh settlers who came to take up the vast tracts of land available to anyone willing to brave the harsh weather and empty spaces that make sheep-raising the only viable way to farm this land. Scots, English, even New Zealanders came and by 1937 Patagonia was one of the world's major wool producers - second only to Australia.

    A combination of over-grazing that lead to severe erosion problems and the development of man-made fibres that saw the price of wool plummet caused a massive decline in the industry through the last quarter of the 20th century. The final death blow came about 15 years ago when one of Chile's southern volcanoes erupted and the prevailing winds carried a massive cloud of volcanic ash over the Andes to be dumped on the struggling estancias of Patagonia. It seemed as though the days of the estancia were completey over. Less than one-fifth of the number of sheep that once grazed here remain and the number declines each year.

    For a few of the estancia, the boom in tourism has been an answer. Offering short visits or longer stays that enable their visitors to explore the steppes, woods and lakes of the region, go horse-riding, bird-watching and fishing, or just enjoy one of the ultimate getaways from the frantic modern world, some have been able to hang on but the logistics of distance, expense and infrastructure mean that this is really only a very small Band-Aid on a very big wound.

    Fondest memory: A visit to an estancia (we went to El Galpon, 22km from El Calafate) is a great way to learn some more about this passing way of life. Over the evening you'll be introduced to several different breeds of sheep ( merinos, south downs, corriedales and others -photo 1), watch a shearer at work (photo 2), meet the kelpie sheepdogs (photo 3) and admire how they and their shepherd-master work as a seamless team (photos 4 and 5 - click on the last photo and look for the white dot in the background - an iceberg making its magestic way down the lake).

    You can buy your own piece of the history of Patagonia's sheep industry in a sweater or scarf in one of the shops in El Calafate... and (vegetarians, stop reading) Patagonian lamb is delicious - there's something about lamb raised in places like this that makes it extra sweet and the way they cook it here - whole lambs roasted in front of an open fire - makes it just so tasty.

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  • TheWanderingCamel's Profile Photo

    Springtime in Patagonia

    by TheWanderingCamel Updated May 5, 2007

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Spring day in Paragonia
    3 more images

    Favorite thing: Winters in Patagonia are to be avoided unless you're a yeti or something similar (tales of the giants of Patagonia have been circulating ever since man first ventured here - Patagonia actually means "Big Foot") added to which most tourist services are closed down, and summers would seem to be somewhat overcrowded these days as the tourists come in droves and the National Parks and local restaurants struggle to keep up with the ever-increasing numbers. Autumn's probably not a bad time (March and early April) but we chose to come in fairly early Spring (the beginning of November) and it was lovely.

    The weather was great - dry every day and lots of sunshine (photo1). The heathy steppe was blooming with notro (Chilean fire bush - photo 2), calafate and other flowering shrubs. It warm enough to get around bare-headed and -handed during the day except when faced with the icy winds coming off the snouts of glaciers themselves (photo 3). Best of all, the numbers of tourists were still relatively low - about one-third of those that come in the height of the season (late November through February) we were told.

    I hate to think of what it must be like then! Even though the numbers of visitors allowed entry to the parks is controlled, the facilities - toilets, cafes - at the Perito Moreno Glacier viewing balcony area were overworked as it was and the picnic area and balcony viewing points were quite full enough. Bahia Onelli has a bigger restaurant and not as many visitors but even so, it must get very crowded as the season progresses (photo 4).

    Whatever time you decide to make the journey, apart from winter, booking in advance is really advisable - that's accommodation, flights and hire cars - as the numbers of tourists heading here are putting pressure on all the local facitities.

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  • TheWanderingCamel's Profile Photo

    Winged beauty

    by TheWanderingCamel Written May 5, 2007

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Black necked swans on Laguna de los P��jaros
    1 more image

    Favorite thing: Everyone who comes to South America wants to see a condor, so symbolic of the the Andes. We saw them every day whilst we were in Patagonia, soaring and sailing overhead, but didn't get a single decent photo. Out on the steppe we saw large groups of dun-feathered choique (small flightless birds, cousins to the emu-like rhea of the pampas) and buzzard eagles and we were fortunate enough to see, and hear a Magellanic woodpecker whilst we were having lunch at the Perito Moreno glacier where a whole flock of Patagonian sierra finch were hopping about and perching on branches all around the picnic ground.

    A walk out to Laguna de los Pajaros at El Galpon estancia led us to black-necked swans, a splendid heron and other waterfowl - grebes, geese and ducks and such, more of which we saw when we walked along to the Laguna Nimez about 1 km north of El Calafate's town centre. We didn't see any, but Chilean flamingoes migrate to these waters later in the summer each year. More than 40 different species of migrating birds make the lake their home at some time during the year, so even if you're not a twitcher, you'll find a pair of binoculars tucked into your bag will certainly get used.

    Related to:
    • Birdwatching
    • Eco-Tourism

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  • TheWanderingCamel's Profile Photo

    Eating the calafate

    by TheWanderingCamel Updated May 5, 2007

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Calafate syrup - delicious on icecream

    Favorite thing: You'll be told again and again tha if you eat the calafate berry you will return to Patagonia. Don't worry if you're not there when the bush is fruiting - you'll find plent of opportunities to eat the fruit of this member of the Berberis (barberry) family before you leave El Calafate - jams and preserves, icecreams, syrups, liqueurs, calafate-cream-filled chocolate, just about anything you can think of to do with a small blue berry, they'll do it!

    You might think the story is something thought up around the table at a local Chamber of Commerce meeting to push a local resource ... not so at all. The story is much older than the arrival of tourism in the area.

    A Tehuelche legend tells the tale of when the old woman, Koonex, was too ill and frail to make the annual trek north as winter approached, she knew she would have to stay behind in her tent where she would die before the winter was over. She asked the birds to stay with her but there was nothing for them to eat in the winter snow so Koonex turned herself into a calafate bush - thick with berries for their food and with sharp thorns to protect them from animals that might try to eat them. In Spring, when the tribe returned, she covered herself in golden flowers to welcome them and, as the fruits ripened on the bush, the Tehuelche found the berries to be delicious, and so began the custom to return each year to the place where the calafate grew.

    There are several hundred varieties of Berberis - the calafate is just one. Not all are edible but those that are a good source of vitamin C so they must have been a valuable addition to the restricted diet of the Tehuelche

    Related to:
    • Food and Dining

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  • TheWanderingCamel's Profile Photo

    Gartref i mewn Patagonia

    by TheWanderingCamel Updated May 5, 2007

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    A taste of the old country

    Favorite thing: That's Welsh for "at home in Patagonia", and that's just what the Welsh are after the 140 years since the first group of settlers arrived on the "Mimosa". They settled in the Chubut Valley, well to the north of El Calafate, but since when did a small matter of geography get in the way of a good marketing proposition?

    The Welsh have long been assimilated into the general mix that makes up the population of Patagonia, but their legacy lives on right through the province in a fondness for Welsh teas such as the one served at EL Galpon - I could have thought myself back on Mrs Morgan's farm near Llandovery when confronted with that feast - and the odd red dragon on a shop sign. You'll need to travel north from El Calafate to hear Welsh spoken or to find the stone cottages and chapels the settlers built in the traditions of home, and the Welsh Tea Houses of Gaiman are legendary, but all the foodie shops in El Calafate sell Waless (sic) cake, and very good it is too - moist, spicy and lightly fruited. They come in all sizes, a small one is the perfect size to pop into your lunch box before you head off to the glaciers for the day, and any Welsh friends at home will be enchanted to receive one as a home-coming gift.

    Related to:
    • Food and Dining

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  • Hiking near Perito Moreno

    by MariaLerner Written Nov 22, 2006

    Favorite thing: The highlight is the Perito Moreno Glacier.

    Fondest memory: There are a number of hiking roads that take off around the Glacier. You can enjoy scenery, and often get glimpses of the amazing glacier from different angles and vantage points. definitely plan to span a few extra hours exploring the surroundings when you visit. I would actually recommend spending the whole day in the park.

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  • Veghel's Profile Photo

    El Calafate, the village

    by Veghel Updated Sep 15, 2006
    El Calafate main street, view east
    2 more images

    Favorite thing: El Calafate is a very relaxed place to be. It's a small village with no more than 20,000 inhabitants, but is growing quickly after the opening of the airport about 10 years ago. There are many restaurants and it's simply a lively and nice place to be. It seemed to be very safe too.

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  • anabelsousa's Profile Photo

    An intelectual and fanny café!

    by anabelsousa Written Mar 12, 2005

    2.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: Go there for a coffe or a drink and the possibility to read a lot of excelent books ina warm place!

    "Borges and Alvarez", Paseo de los Gnomos ( Av. El Libertador 1003) (I'm not completelly sure)
    The owner is a friend of mine, Diego.

    Related to:
    • Beer Tasting

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  • anabelsousa's Profile Photo

    Tourist Info

    by anabelsousa Written Mar 12, 2005

    Favorite thing: Los Glaciares National Park
    Administrative center
    Av. del Libertador 1302
    Z9405AHG - El Calafate
    Santa Cruz Province - República Argentina

    Phone/Fax: 0054 (02902) 491-005/545/788/755
    parquenacional@losglaciares.com

    Tourism Secretary
    Information center
    Bus terminal
    Z9405AHG - El Calafate
    Santa Cruz Province - República Argentina

    0054 2902 491090
    info@calafate.com




    El Chaltén

    Development Commission of El Chaltén
    Av. M.M. de Güemes 21
    (9301) El Chaltén
    Santa Cruz Province - República Argentina

    0054 2962 493011
    estancias@interlink.com.ar

    Los Glaciares National Park
    Lago Viedma Department
    (9301) El Chaltén
    Santa Cruz Province- República Argentina

    0054 2962 493004

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  • perfectly_zen's Profile Photo

    Perito Moreno by boat

    by perfectly_zen Written Mar 31, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Perito Moreno from the boat

    Favorite thing: This is the view of Perito Moreno, seen from the boat.....the boat trip does not take more that an hour or less, and it costs 20 pesos (5 to 7 dollars). There are other boat trips through Canal de los Tempanos, where other glaciers can be seen...they can be arranged at El Calafate.

    Related to:
    • Backpacking
    • National/State Park

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  • perfectly_zen's Profile Photo

    Perito Moreno...so much ice!

    by perfectly_zen Written Mar 31, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: This pic was taken in the middle of the walk....that`s the nearest you can get from Perito Moreno on land, for safety reasons.....
    But if that?s not enough for you, there?s the ice climbing and trekking you can arrange at El Calafate, in safe parts of the glacier....people say it?s really worth it...

    Related to:
    • Backpacking
    • National/State Park

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  • perfectly_zen's Profile Photo

    Perito Moreno - 1 hour walk

    by perfectly_zen Written Mar 31, 2004

    3.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Perito Moreno

    Favorite thing: When you get to perito Moreno, thereýs an hour walk to get nearer to the glacier.....it?s not hard, and youýll enjoy it a lot, as youýll get at the margin of Canal de los Tempanos and very close to the icebergs....

    Related to:
    • National/State Park
    • Backpacking

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  • perfectly_zen's Profile Photo

    Perito Moreno

    by perfectly_zen Written Mar 31, 2004

    4.5 out of 5 starsHelpfulness

    Favorite thing: If you compare the first pics with this one it would be difficult to believe that they were taken in the same place, at the same day, just with a gap of an hour between them. Well, that´s Perito Moreno.....at that day the weather was not so good....but in El Calafate the sun did not leave for one moment, as we heard...
    That´s why it´s good to take a raincoat and coat with you....

    Related to:
    • National/State Park

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