El Calafate, Argentina 🇦🇷 Gringo’s Guide
Part #3 from my trip to Patagonia...
El Calafate, Argentina was the third stop on my whirlwind tour of Patagonia.
After enjoying lovely lake views in Bariloche and some of the best hiking in the world around El Chalten, I wasn’t sure what to expect from El Calafate.
But I knew one thing…
I was ready for a little more amenities and faster Internet speeds than El Chalten had to offer. Just a gringo looking for a few modern conveniences while being in the middle of nowhere in Patagonia.
Luckily, El Calafate didn’t disappoint in this regard. While the wifi isn’t great, there’s enough Internet speed to get some remote work done here too — which is different than El Chalten.
Plus, there’s some damn cool thing to do here, including Perito Moreno in all her glory!
While there’s no denying Perito Moreno draws the tourists in, there’s much more to El Calafate than that stunning glacier. The small town/city in Argentinian Patagonia offers the perfect balance of wild nature and some modern amenities.
I thoroughly enjoyed my week here exploring the nature all around the city during the day and eating at the damn good restaurants by night.
Enough of my fluff, though.
Below you’ll find everything you need to know about El Calafate, Argentina 🇦🇷
How to Get to El Calafate, Argentina 🇦🇷
El Calafate, Argentina is truly in the middle of nowhere.
This isn’t a ‘hop, skip, or jump away’ type of place. This is a small mountain town in the heart of Patagonia. You’ll be forced to fly into here from an airport in Argentina — unless you have a car.
Or you want to take an awful bus trip through the mountains. Not recommended, but I’ll detail it for you anyway.
The bus from Bariloche that travels to it takes nearly 20+ hours on a bus. Not my cup of tea, and of course, the bus seems to be seasonal.
If for some reason you want to ride in a bus for 20+ hours, click here for more information about Bariloche-El Calafate. You’ll need to understand some Spanish to book here, but the gist of it is you’ll be spending a full day and night on the bus.
For the rest of us, taking a flight to El Calafate is far more preferable — as the flight is only one-hour and 45 minutes from Bariloche.
From Buenos Aires, you’re looking at a three-hour flight. Usually these flights cost about $150-200 one-way. You’ll can also find direct flights to El Calafate from these airports in Argentina:
AEP (Aeroparque Jorge Newbery, Buenos Aires)
EZE (Ezeiza, Buenos Aires)
BRC (Bariloche, Río Negro)
COR (Córdoba, Córdoba)
ROS (Rosario, Santa Fe)
REL (Trelew, Chubut)
USH (Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego)
Most of these flights cost $75-200 USD one-way and take anywhere from 1-3 hours in the air. With bus tickets costing $75-125 per person between major cities in Patagonia, you’re almost always better off booking the flight. You’ll save so much time, energy, and hassle.
Driving is also an option. You can get to Calafate by car from any city in Argentina, but again, you’ll be spending at least a half day driving in doing so. Not cool!
Understanding El Calafate Weather & Seasons
Since El Calafate is in the heart of Argentinian Patagonia, it would behoove you to look at some weather data before booking any flights. Why? Because winter will be brutal here.
I came during the tail-end of the summer months and the town certainly wasn’t warm. plus, one of my tours almost got rained out, but we were able to hide in a tent for 30 minutes until the rain stopped.
So make sure you check the weather before booking any tours too.
The absolute best months to visit El Calafate, Argentina are December through March.
This is because the temperatures will be the warmest, there’s no chance of snow, and you’ll have more things to do. Honestly, this is the ONLY time to come to El Calafate in the opinion of your humble author.
It should also be noted that El Calafate is not a winter sports destination like Bariloche and Ushuaia — so there’s really no reason to visit in the dead of winter.
Oh, and November is the windiest month from what I heard, and the wind is no joke in Patagonia. So I’d recommend avoiding coming before December.
You can avoid some of the crowds by visiting during March and April, but it could be a little colder starting in April. Here’s a detailed climate graphic to help you understand more about El Calafate weather: