Bordered by large cattle estates with roaming gauchos, the duo-townships of El Calafate & El Chaltén are the gateway to Argentina’s fabled Los Glaciares National Park—a realm where mighty glaciers rumble off the Southern Patagonian Ice Field. Remote yet well-connected and serviced, this magical region possesses some of Latin America’s most epic and dynamic landscapes.
On the shores of Lake Argentino, El Calafate is the hub for tours out to one of Argentina’s most mesmerizing facades, Perito Moreno Glacier. It glows, grinds, and grumbles until it suddenly cracks and erupts. Within an instant, a millennium of dense iceberg calves off, plunging into the turquoise depths below, then disappears. Moments of unease later, an icy leviathan gradually emerges, rolls in triumph, and unleashes a powerful tsunami to assert its long-awaited liberty. Nothing makes quality whisky taste even better than unshackled ice. Elsewhere on a gentler note, the birdlife is surprisingly prolific with Magellanic woodpeckers, black-headed swans, and the elusive torrent duck.
Set back from Lake Viedma, El Chaltén is the mecca for several self-guided hikes into an ancient battleground between rock and ice. Here granite outcrops of the Andes thrust up against the pulverising ice sheet on the continent. While towering spires and jagged ridges may still prevail, tumbling scree slopes foreshadow their doom. Rivers and streams gush out from this thrilling arena carrying glacial flour, the milky blood of vanquished rock. Amidst this unfolding drama, the surrounding age-old Ñire and gnarled Lenga forests provide serenity. Here you may encounter soaring condors, pumas stalking wary guanacos, crafty grey foxes, or a scampering pygmy armadillo.
*Our specialist team created this Patagonian tour to inspire you. With Contours Travel, you have the flexibility to alter this itinerary to suit your timeframe and budget. Add or change any location, excursion, or accommodation.