EL CALAFATE VILLAGE
El Calafate is a small and friendly village with a stable population of over 4.000 inhabitants and a floating one of around 3.500 people. Its streets have a special charm, characterized by low, warm and rustic houses with sloping roofs, contrasting with a blue scenery that mixes up with the sky.
Those who come to El Calafate for the first time are surprised by the aspect of the village, because it looks like an oasis in the middle of the Patagonian desert. Surrounded by an area dominated by the coirón and the winds, its inhabitants have managed to plant poplars, pines and willows thus providing the village with a natural decoration.
Among the wide variety of attractions El Calafate has to offer, is the main avenue, with plenty of picturesque houses, stores, restaurants, inns, public services and craft stores.
PLACES TO VISIT
"Santa Teresita" Chapel
Within "Estancia Santa Rita", this was the first house built in the area.
This hill located south of the village, behind the chapel, offers an excellent view of the village.
"El Calafate" Municipal Museum
Located at the corner of Libertador San Martín Avenue and Arroyo Calafate, this museum shows zoology, botany and paleontology collections as well as objects belonging to the tehuelche. In the evenings, during high season (November to March), documentaries and slides showing the incredible moment when ice blocks of Moreno Glacier plunge into the water are presented at various locations. Opening Hours: Monday to Friday, from 2 p.m. to 8 p.m.
It is an ornithological reserve only 1 kilometer away from the town center.
In order to get there one should go up to the park administrative division ("intendencia") and from there continue until one reaches a small suspension bridge over Calafate river.
To the north of such bridge, across some strawberry plantations, one finally gets to the lake. During the journey various indigenous bird species may be observed: flamingoes, ducks, Silvery Grebes, Black-necked Swans, avutardas and thrushes.
On the way back to the bridge and toward the right, there is an ideal spot for a picnic, next to a winding stream of clear water, surrounded by willows and poplars.
Finally, one may walk around the lagoon to find a small peaceful beach where to enjoy the beauty of dusk and dawns during summer time. In winter the lagoon turns into a natural ice-skating rink.
To the south of the city and after skirting "La Loma", one gets to Calafate River. It is a winding stream of water, narrowed by multicolored walls forming small pools over prairies full of flowers. From this point one gets a good sight of Mt. Calafate.
El Calafate is not only enjoyable during daytime. There is an attractive range of places to go in the evening, including discotheques, pubs, tanguerias (tango bars), nightclubs and casinos.