Located deep in Patagonia‘s snow-capped hinterland, on the southern shore of Lago Argentino, El Calafate has become a key stopover for travelers headed to nearby Los Glaciares National Park. This icy wonderland is best known for the spectacular Perito Moreno glacier – a massive, shifting ice cap composed of dozens of smaller glaciers. While Los Glaciares may be the main draw card here, El Calafate has plenty of its own charms: it’s a fun, scenic destination offering a host of outdoor and adventure activities.
Argentina’s trekking capital, El Chalten, is a popular haven for outdoor enthusiasts. Hiking opportunities abound for both advanced and beginner trekkers. Just an hour’s walk from the town center and will have you trekking in Los Glaciares National Park, with views that range from great glaciers to towering rocky summits and rolling forests. Founded in 1985, the town got its name from the Tehuelche word meaning ‘mountain that smokes’, because of the clouds that persistently sit atop the great peaks of Mount Fitz Roy. If you’re lucky, you’ll catch a glimpse on your drive into town, or on a clear morning. We highly recommend the Laguna de Los Tres hike, a full day trip that rewards you with a picture-postcard mountain lake and the snowy backdrop of Fitz Roy peak.
The best time to visit Argentinean Patagonia is November to early March (summertime in the southern hemisphere). The parks will be much more crowded during the peak months of December – February, so we recommend visiting during the shoulder season months of November, early December and March for incredible weather and fewer people.
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