As our plane was landing in El Calafate I was absolutely speechless. I was amazed at the beauty of Patagonia and couldn’t believe how gorgeous the area around the airport was. We walked outside and 50 MPH winds smacked us in the face right away and our taxi was shaking and weaving from side to side trying to fight against the wind!
We arrived at our hotel, La Cantera, which was a quaint boutique hotel done in a lodge style reminiscent of Northern Wisconsin. Our room was enormous, had a view of Lago Argentino, and the beds were super comfortable. After settling in, my mom and I went into town for lunch at a place that had salads, sandwiches and crepes. We were battling the winds the entire time and I knew we were in for a rough couple of days. After lunch we went to the Glaciarium… half museum that explains all about glaciers and half ice bar (below).
You see, Calafate is a big tourist destination because of (and only because of) Perito Moreno glacier. The ice bar was super expensive and you could only go for 20 minutes, so we skipped it and learned about how glaciers are formed. Being from a snowy climate I didn’t think I’d be that impressed with a huge thing of ice, but it was fascinating to learn about how they are formed (and how snow vs. ice vs. sleet vs. hail come to be).
Since we were in Calafate for four days we were able to do a lot, including a mini-trek on the glacier. We approached the glacier by boat and I was absolutely stunned at how beautiful it was.
This day will forever be known as “The day I almost died” by my mom. (… it wasn’t that bad, but I’ll let the photos speak for themselves):
The Perito Moreno Glacier is one of only three Patagonian glaciers that is growing and it is bigger than the city of Buenos Aires! Woah! It was incredible and beautiful and I loved the sounds of huge chunks of ice falling off and splashing into the water. Being able to visit this amazing place will always be one of my favorite memories… even though my mom thinks she almost died (she didn’t). Love you, mom!
In addition to the glacier, we took a day trip to Torres del Paine National Park in Chile. It is about 4 hours from El Calafate so you can actually go there and back in one day! Torres del Paine has long been a dream of mine to see and it finally came true! We boarded literally the strangest vehicle I had ever seen and set off through the super ugly Patagonian countryside. Eventually we entered Chile and then the National Park and I was left speechless at some of the views we came across that day…
El Calafate is an awesome destination because it allows a really unique look at natural landscapes that don’t exist almost anywhere else! After a few days there we set off for the airport again and arrived in Trelew, a city on the costal side of Patagonia, a few hours later.