As the gateway to Los Glaciares National Park, El Calafate is an exquisite region in the Patagonia region of Argentina. Along with seeing awe-inspiring ice formations, travelers to this destination will discover abundant wildlife, luscious landscapes, and fascinating places such as the modern Glaciarium featuring stimulating exhibits and even an ice bar. When it comes to dining, the area is home to great restaurants serving local specialties such as grilled lamb and trout, and exceptional wines. CDC information for travelers. Hours/availability may have changed.

1.El Chalten

El Chalten
© Jam Travels/

Nature abounds in this Patagonian village that has the distinction of being the National Capital of Trekking in Argentina. Set in the Southern Andes at the foot of Cerro Chaltén mountain, which is also known as the Fitz Roy, the alluring destination entices active types with recreational pursuits, including self-guided treks. Beginners can explore the environments via a short and easy trek along Chorillo Del Salto, a three-hour excursion that eventually leads to a spectacular waterfall at the end. For travelers who prefer something more challenging, there are quite a few adventure outfitters in the area that offer a variety of experiences, including crossing the Southern Continental Patagonian ice.

Santa Cruz Province, Argentina, Phone: +54-029-62-49-30-04

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2.Glaciers around Lago Argentino

Glaciers around Lago Argentino
© Jalonso/

The Patagonian region around El Calafate is perhaps known for its striking glaciers. Local companies organize excursions for viewing the natural wonders including the Perito Moreno Glacier, which is about a two-hour drive from Lago Argentino. Along the way, there are plenty of photo ops with wildlife and gorgeous vistas. As for Perito Moreno, it has a frontage that spans three miles and soars 180 feet above the waters. Visitors to the site can view at their own pace as they stroll the series of boardwalks, or pasarellas. Closer to Lago Argentino, the Upsala Glacier also attracts nature enthusiasts who travel from near and far to get a glimpse of one of the longest glaciers in South America.

Santa Cruz Province, Argentina

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3.Laguna Nimez Reserva Natural Preserva

Laguna Nimez Reserva Natural Preserva
© Alisha/

Birders will have a beautiful time discovering all the different species and surrounding scenery at the Laguna Nimez Reserva Natural Preserva. Located along the lake north of El Calafate, this natural sanctuary is home to flamingos, ducks, songbirds, and so many other winged creatures. The parkland features prime viewing spots and trails amidst grasslands, marsh, and other vegetation, and typically takes a few hours to explore. There is a small admission fee.

Av. Costanera Presidente Nestor C Kirschner 207, El Calafate, Argentina, Phone: +54-29-66-42-23-65

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4.Centro de Interpretación Historica

Centro de Interpretación Historica
© Centro de Interpretación Histórica

One hundred million years of natural and human history are on display at the Centro de Interpretación Histórica. Located on the corner of Brown and Bonarelli not too far from the 9 de Julio Bridge, this fascinating place features a fine collection of objects and exhibits and showcases dinosaurs, mega mammals and humans of Southern Patagonia. Among the items that visitors will view are tools, weapons, wool and scientific artifacts. This cultural center is a great addition to any itinerary for travelers who are into evolution and want a glimpse into the past.

Av. brown 1175, Z9405 El Calafate, Santa Cruz, Argentina, Phone: +54-29-02-49-27-99

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© Glaciarium

A grand display of glaciers and Patagonian ice delights visitors at the Glaciarium – Glacier Interpretation Center. Along with cultural activities, entertainment and exhibits, this attraction highlights that natural wonders and history of the region. The experience stimulates the senses with multimedia programming, special effects and dazzling design that touch on a wide range of topics from explorers to the area, to science, climate change and actual ice formations including the Perito Moreno Glacier. Underneath, the GlacioBar is a must-see with its walls and furniture made of ice and a chill setting to enjoy drinks, snacks, and spirits.

RP11, Z9405 El Calafate, Santa Cruz, Phone: +54-29-02-49-79-12

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6.La Tablita

La Tablita
© La Tablita

Established in 1968, La Tablita is a legendary institution in El Calafate. Close to the main avenue, this inviting restaurant is known for stellar attentive service and an excellent menu, showcasing the flavors of Argentina. While many say that the Patagonia lamb is the best in the region, there are certainly other dishes worth trying, including savory main courses from Trout in Lemon Sauce to empanadas, and succulent steaks. An extensive wine selection offers the perfect pairing for any meal, while the whiskey room stands out as a fabulous place to unwind pre- or post-dinner.

Cnel. Rosales 26, El Calafate, Santa Cruz, Argentina, Phone: +54-29-02-49-10-65

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7.La Posta

La Posta
© La Posta

Whether diners are craving Patagonian lamb or trout grilled just right or hearty pasta, La Posta delivers enticing dishes, including organic vegetables from its garden. The warm atmosphere provides an inviting setting to enjoy other specialties and an impressive selection of vino from Argentina. Set in the Hotel Posada Los Alamos, this refined restaurant also offers access to an intimate wine cave for tastings and other events.

Ing. Guatti 1135, El Calafate, Santa Cruz, Argentina, Phone: +43-90-22-49-11-44

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8.Mi Rancho

Mi Rancho
© Mi Rancho

Set in a cozy brick house from the 1940s, the intimate Mi Rancho satisfies guest after guest with attentive service and savory cuisine. While space is on the small side, the flavors are big, with diners raving over the Osso Bucco, grilled tenderloin steaks, risotto, home-baked bread, and indulgent desserts. Given its popularity, it is advisable to make reservations ahead of time to ensure a table.

Gdor. Moyano 1089, El Calafate, Argentina, Phone: +54-29-02-49-05-40

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8 Best Things to Do in El Calafate, Argentina

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