El Calafate, Patagonia
Adventurous trip to El Calafate, Patagonia, Argentina
Big Ice tour, Perito Moreno Glacier, El Calafate
On Thursday evening we left from Amsterdam to fly our passengers to Buenos Aires, Argentina. On Friday morning after a thirteen hour flight we arrived. At the International Airport me and three others of the crew changed from our uniform into comfy clothes. As we had to wait for our connecting flight to the South of Argentina, called Patagonia. As we just had two nights available we chose for El Calafate. A cute little town, known for the glacier Perito Moreno nearby.
When we arrived we took a taxi from the Airoport to America del Sur Hostel (http://americahostel.com.ar/home_calafate_english.html), a very nice looking hostel, clean and near to the city centre with breakfast included in the price. Here you can arrange your tours as well, although I recommend booking the tour up front as there’s a maximum amount of people assigned on a tour.
For the tour to the Perito Moreno Glacier we booked at Hielo y Aventura (http://www.hieloyaventura.com/). For the real experience we chose for the Big Ice tour, although you can also choose for the mini trekking. The names already explain the differences.
One important side note here: the minimum age to do the Big Ice tour is 18 year and the maximum is 50 years old.
- First you have to walk a steep climb up a hill to reach the entrance for the ice hike, this is the hardest part of the trek. Very doable to be honest! Then they will give you your crampons, the iron things for underneath your walking shoes, which make you able to walk on the ice without it being too slippery. Being on the glacier was a whole new experience for me, it’s very impressing and overwhelming. One of the most adventurous and memorable thing I have done in my life! Very recommendable.
- Wear layers, as the temperature is very variable
- Bring your own lunch, water not necessary. Just bring a flask, you can fill the bottle with water from the glacier.
- Bring super comfy walking shoes. Preferably higher ones around the ankle as the crampons will be attached to the shoe with some strings which can be uncomfortable when you will wear low sneakers.
Horseback riding, El Calafate
At the America del Sur Hostel they offer more tours. As our flight left on Monday evening we felt like another tour on Monday during the day. Due to our time limit we were only able to choose for the horseback riding.
So they picked us up from the hostel in the morning and drove us into the wilderness where there was a cute little estancia, they call it, a little farm so to speak.
They saddle the horses for you and then you will make this little walk to the lake next to the mountains. It’s nothing more than just crossing the immense piece of ground. But still it is very nice to sit on a horse in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by snowy mountains, glaciers and nothing but silence. If you are more experienced the give you the chance to do more than just walking, like gallop and a little competition between the horses. Super cool and relaxing tour for the day of our flight I have to say.
After the horseback riding they arrange a nice little lunch for their customers, bife de lomo. Super Argentinean of course.
All and all, a nice get a away from the city! Enjoy!