There is little nightlife in El Calafate, but there is a very interesting place where you can eat, drink some wine and meet people "Borges and Alvarez" a cozy libro-bar located on the second floor of Avenida del Libertador. A bar consisting of two large areas, decorated with books and candles with wonderful view of the main street. You can buy books, an interesting compilation of works by Argentine writers, with some books by local authors on the history of Patagonia. Great place.
The long Spring and Summer days in Southern Patagonia, where it doesn't get dark until well past 10pm, leave plenty of time for an evening visit to an estancia - and you certainly get to see and do a lot in the hours before it gets dark and there's no doubt it is both a very professional enterprise and an entertaining way to while away a few hours.
22km from El Calafate, Estancia El Galpon is one of the oldest estancias in the region. The sheep raised these days are there to give the tourists an idea of the work that was once a way of life here, but before you hit the shearing shed, they lay on a huge High Tea of cakes and scones, home-baked bread and jams (Warning 1 - an equally lavish dinner is to follow) in the wide-windowed restaurant overlooking Lago Argentino. When everyone has had their fill, it's time to head out to the 100 year-old shearing shed (photo1) and the paddock (photo 2)where for the next hour or so sheep are the focus of the evening. (Warning 2 - be sure to bring your warmest jacket - it is COLD out there). More outdoor activity follows - a walk out to the lagoon (photo 3) for some bird-spotting and maybe a visit to the site of an ancient Indian settlement. By the time the group has made their way back to the restaurant, those teatime cakes will have been digested - just as well - a barbecue dinner awaits you with lamb, beef and chicken on the menu together with a great array of salads and home-made desserts. The evening ends with a small dance show featuring Patagonian folkloric dance (photos 4 and 5) and tango.
Yes, it is very touristy, but they do it well and we were certainly pleased we'd decided to go along.
Dress Code: Be sure to bring a hat and gloves as well as a warm jacket - by the time you've been out in the paddocks, walked down to the lagoon and made your way back to the house, you're going to be very cold if you've left them back in the hotel. Icy winds blow down from the Andes and across the lake (yes, they're icebergs you can see out there on the lake) and they will cut right through you.