Located in the Southern Patagonian Ice Field and surrounded by glaciers and lakes, the city is not only the Perito Moreno Glacier. If you are looking for things to do in El Calafate in 4 days, we have designed this itinerary to leave nothing out.
Located in the southwest of the province of Santa Cruz, El Calafate is a city located on the shores of Lake Argentino where part of the great ice mass called Southern Patagonian Ice Field is located.
Although its main protagonist is the Perito Moreno glacier, there are many others to see such as the Upsala or Spegazzini. Los Glaciares National Park is home to all these natural wonders, some of which can be observed from viewpoints on the shores of the lake, and others navigating through huge blocks of ice floating on the water, such as the Upsala.
In any case, the images you will take with you from El Calafate will be unforgettable, especially if you hike on the Perito Moreno glacier.
To organize your visit, we have made a day-by-day itinerary of what to do in El Calafate in 4 days. Let’s find out!
📜 TABLE OF CONTENTS
Summary – El Calafate Itinerary in 4 days:
- Day 1: Visit the Perito Moreno Glacier.
- Day 2: Excursion to the Upsala and Spegazzini glaciers.
- Day 3: Hike on the Perito Moreno Glacier.
- Day 4: Visit to Estancia Cristina
Many tourists take advantage of their trip to El Calafate to visit El Chaltén, the national capital of trekking. If you want to know what’s in this beautiful town, check out our article on things to do in El Chaltén.
Day 1: Visit the Perito Moreno Glacier
The main activity to do in El Calafate in 4 days is the visit to the Perito Moreno Glacier. This huge block of ice is more than 60 meters high, something imposing. Although due to climate change most of the glaciers are retreating, at least so far the Perito Moreno remains in its full extent.
To observe the Perito Moreno glacier you must pay the entrance fee to Los Glaciares National Park. There are two ways to view the glacier up close, both of which are a must for us:
- Along the wooden walkways on the shores of Lake Argentino: from the viewpoints you have a perfect panoramic view of the glacier wall.
- Sailing on Lake Argentino: next to the footbridges there is a dock where the boats leave and approach the ice wall. The visual changes a lot, since you have the glacier closer and the roar of the ice detachments can be heard very loudly.
📷 Book here the excursion to visit the Perito Moreno Glacier. These excursions include the transfer and a guide, but not the entrance fee to the national park. In addition, navigation on the Rico Arm can be booked as an option.
You can also book the round trip bus to visit Perito Moreno at your own pace.
🔝 Take a look at our article to see if this is your visit the Perito Moreno glacier if this is your only intention. There you will find more detailed information with prices and the best time to visit.
Day 2: Excursion to the Upsala and Spegazzini glaciers
As we mentioned before, in Los Glaciares National Park there are more ice masses to see. Sailing along one of the arms of Lake Argentino, dodging large masses of ice detached by the glaciers, you will reach the Upsala and Spegazzini glaciers.
The excursion is worthwhile from the moment the boat departs from Puerto Bandera and begins to go inland. The turquoise blue color of the lake and the reflection of the ice masses on the water is a spectacle.
One of the main protagonists of the day is the Spegazzini glacier, the highest in the area, whose ice mass seems to get lost in the horizon. The boat will stop to take pictures and even take a short walk surrounded by nature in its purest state.
To visit the Upsala Glacier, you must take a boat in Puerto Bandera. You can go there on your own or hire one of the excursions to visit these glaciers.
🔝 Take a look at our article to see the Upsala Glacier and other glaciers.
Day 3: Perito Moreno glacier hike, a must in El Calafate in 4 days
The best adventure to do in El Calafate in 4 days is the walk on the ice mass of the Perito Moreno glacier. Although it requires some physical effort, you can choose to do a small stretch of an hour and a half, or live the great adventure in the so-called Big Ice, a trekking on the ice for three and a half hours.
In order to plan the Perito Moreno Glacier hike, the following should be taken into account:
- The minitrekking takes place from August to the end of May and is suitable for people from 10 to 65 years old.
- The Big Ice or grand tour runs from September 15 to the end of May and is suitable for people from 18 to 50 years old.
In both cases, trekking cannot be done by people with cardiovascular problems, pregnant women, people who are overweight, people with respiratory problems such as asthma and people with physical disabilities.
Needless to say, the adrenaline rush when walking on the huge mass of ice is total. Along the way you will observe deep crevasses and the constant roar of the ice. There are not many places in the world to live this adventure!
📷 Book here the trekking on the Perito Moreno Glacier, an adventure among blue lagoons, crevasses and sinkholes. The excursion is guided by a specialized guide and the company provides crampons, harnesses and helmets.
After the hike, the best thing to do is to return to the city and live another experience. The Ice Bar awaits you to immerse yourself in the world of the Yeti, with temperatures reaching 20 degrees below zero. Wearing gloves and a coat, there will be time to take pictures and have a drink. Of course, you have to hurry before the drink freezes!
📷 Book here your ticket to the Ice Bar, a different experience to live in El Calafate.
Day 4: Visit to Estancia Cristina
The large rural estancias have been very important in the history of Argentine Patagonia, and today they continue to play an important role in the region.
These large houses located in lonely and inhospitable places, but surrounded by a landscape of forests, lakes and high snow-capped mountains, have served as a base for raising animals, mainly sheep.
Estancia Cristina was built at the beginning of the 20th century, on the edge of Lake Argentino. Its owners lived for many years under extreme climatic conditions, raising their livestock. Currently, the enclosure is only used for tourist purposes and you can visit the old rooms of the ranch, such as the chapel.
During the excursion, you can choose to eat the classic Patagonian lamb, a true delicacy.
📷 Book here the excursion to Estancia Cristina which includes navigation on Lake Argentino and a walk through Patagonian forests. For the more adventurous, you can opt for a 4×4 tour in the vicinity of the ranch.
Practical information for travel to El Calafate
If you are looking for where to stay in El Calafate, excursions to do in the city and how to get from the airport to downtown, we leave you useful information on these topics.
- Door to door transfers, to and from the airport and your hotel. Perfect if you are traveling in a group or family, with lots of luggage, do not want to change money at the airport and want to travel comfortably and quietly.
- Where to stay in El Calafate: recommended accommodations.
- Rent a car to tour El Calafate on your own.
- Excursions in El Calafate: in addition to the excursions already mentioned throughout the article and the Free Tours, check these pages for the best experiences for your trip:
Excursions in Civitatis.
Excursions in Get Your Guide.
Discounts and useful resources to save on your trip
- Cheap flights with Skyscanner
- Rent a car with Auto Europe
- Interrail Pass
- Eurail Pass
- Train Tickets with OMIO
- Bus tickets with OMIO
- Ferry tickets with OMIO
- Asia tickets with 12Go
Activities and Tours
– Comparison of Travel Insurance 2023 –
Others for your trip
For your travel blog
- Hosting with Webempresa
(25% discount with the code “gracias25”)
- Web translation plugin with WPML
More articles about Patagonia Argentina
- 10 Things to Do in Trelew and Surroundings
- 12 Things to Do in Ushuaia, at the End of the World
- 17 Best Places to Visit in Patagonia Argentina (Must-See + Map)
- 7 Things to Do in Bariloche in Summer
- 8 Things to Do in San Martín de Los Andes
- Bariloche in 4 days, the best travel itinerary
- Best Beaches in Southern Argentina
- Best Hotels in El Calafate: Where to Stay
- El Chaltén in 3 Days, Travel Itinerary
- Guide to the Best Trekkings in El Chaltén
- How to Do the Route of the 7 Lakes in Patagonia Argentina
- How to Get From Bariloche Airport to the Center of the City
- How to Get From El Calafate Airport to the City
- How to get from Ushuaia airport to downtown
- Perito Moreno Glacier: How to Get There and Things to Do
- The Best Things to Do in Villa la Angostura
- The Best Tours in Bariloche
- The Best Tours in San Martin de Los Andes
- The Best Tours in Ushuaia: Mountains, Lakes, Sailing and More
- Things to Do in Bariloche: The Best Activities
- Things to Do in El Bolsón in One Day (And Lago Puelo)
- Things to Do in El Calafate, Glaciers and Much More
- Things to Do in Esquel in 2 or 3 Days (And in Trevelin)
- Things to Do in Las Grutas Argentina, Beach and Surroundings
- Things to Do in Puerto Madryn: Sea, Whales and More
- Upsala Glacier Tour and Other Glaciers
- Ushuaia in 4 days, the best travel itinerary
- Where to Go on Summer Holidays in Patagonia
- Where to Stay In Bariloche: Cabins and Hotels
- Where to Stay in San Martín de Los Andes
- Where to Stay in Ushuaia, the Best Options
- Where to Stay in Villa la Angostura, the Best Options
Leave a Reply