El Calafate is a town in southern Argentina, located on the southern shore of Lake Argentino, in the southwestern province of Santa Cruz. It has over 4,000 permanent inhabitants and its main economic activity is the tourism industry, constantly expanding due to the proximity to the Perito Moreno Glacier. Its name comes from a thorny bush typical of southern Patagonia. In the spring has yellow flowers and purple fruits in summer. According to tradition, whoever eats this fruit always comes back to Patagonia.
The main altracción of El Calafate is the Glacier National Park. From Calafate you access the main glaciers of the southern section of the park. The most famous and spectacular glacier is the Perito Moreno, located an hour away from the city to the west. It can be reached by bus from the terminal or by hiring private transport services. For entry into Glacier National Park must pay a fee, whose value depends on whether the person in question is resident in Argentina or not.
An ice sheet or ice cap, a protected area covering 600,000 hectares. Among the 356 glaciers, the Perito Moreno is the most impressive, with a front of 5 km and a height of more than 60 meters above water level. Globally known for its breakup process, the front of the Perito Moreno Glacier, arriving at the coastal margin, shuts off the waters of Brazo Rico and produces a kind of reservoir where the water exceeds about 20 meters elevation., Causing the leak culminating with the expected rupture.
In the area visited the Perito Moreno Glacier is a network of walkways that allow one to contemplate the glacier about 100 meters. Not allowed to step outside of the runway and no hiking trails. During the 3 hour wait for the bus is usually the main attraction is to see the falling ice floes on Lake Argentino.
From a spring out catamarans sailing in the lake and approach the front of the glacier, reaching a position somewhat closer than from the runways, and offers a different perspective. The bus service goes to the dock area for those interested in the ride.
The lake tour all Glacier begins 50 km from El Calafate, embarks on Puerto Bandera and navigates 70 kms from the North Arm of Lake Argentina. Along the route, which crosses the mouth of the Devil and the North Arm, you can see amazing landscapes and variety of shapes and colors, in the huge icebergs that break off the majestic Glacier Upsala, the largest National Park. After passing through the front of the glacier is navigate to the Puerto Las Vacas Onelli Bay. There the catamaran stops for 3 hours to make a 800-meter walk through a forest and Patagonian Lengas Ñires to Lake Onelli.
At times the return is made entering the channel Spegazzini Glacier where you’ll also feel in the midst of mountains of ice in the presence of glaciers Heim, Dry Spegazzini whose walls boast record high between glaciers visited, reaching in some sectors of 125 meters.
All activity of the town developed around the Avenida Libertador, the main one there, along six blocks, there are the shops, the eateries, tourism agencies, business souvenirs and regional products and everything necessary for the tourist. El Calafate also has a large range of hotels that are concentrated in that area of the city. You can make a walk or riding to the edge of Round Bay. There is a wide beach inhabited by geese, black-necked swans and flamingos. But the main attraction of El Calafate lies in proximity to Glacier National Park.