LOS GLACIARES NATIONAL PARK
FLORA AND FAUNA
Apart from the mountains and glaciers, the Sub-Antarctic forests with colorful-flowered trees such as the lenga, the coihue, the shrub-like notro or ciruelillo and the calafate are well worth seeing.
The forest is home to the huemul which goes down from the higher prairies in search of food and shelter in winter time.
The Magellanic Woodpecker, the Austral Parakeet, the Green-backed Firecrown, the Lesser Rhea (choique) and the Andean condor are some of the bird species in this area.
There is a wide variety of aquatic birds such as the Black-necked Swan, and also ducks such as the Andean Ruddy Duck and the Torrent Duck.
Toward the east, the Andes develop into the Patagonian plateau and the forest into the steppe. The steppe is home to guanacos, gray foxes and Patagonian skunks. Among the birds, the Lesser Rhea is the great runner in the area.
For the last 3000 years, the Lake Argentino area was inhabited by groups of skillful collector-hunters who were able to make the most of the land and space in the steppes and in the forests at heights varying from 200 to 1100 mt above sea level.
The economy, which was mainly based on guanaco raising, was complemented by other produce according to the time year.
Diggings and research in archaeological sites have revealed the presence of material coming from the Pacific Ocean, which would indicate a connection between both areas in the past.
The National Park's "Intendencia" is in El Calafate, which together with El Chalten, provides accommodations in inns, lodgings and cabins. There are camping grounds near Lake Viedma and Lake Argentino in El Chalten area.
Sailing tours on Lake Argentino leave from Punta Bandera toward Onelli Bay and Upsala Glacier, being the paths over Perito Moreno Glacier the most relevant points: walk over one of the glacier's edges.
Lake Onelli, full of small icebergs from three glaciers, can be reached by the 800 mt path from the catamaran wharf.
Land trip to Lake Roca: leaving early in the morning when plenty of eagles, Caracaras and condors can be seen. Trekking in the park and excursion to Lake Del Desierto (outside the park) from El Chalten.
Sport-fishing of different species introduced in Lake Roca, Lake Viedma, Lake Argentino and Las Vueltas River is another popular attraction.
Other options in the area:
Other activities in the area (from El Calafate):
- Perito Moreno Glacier: It can be reached along the Rico Arm track. Along the road there are vantage points and footbridges from where you can see the magnificent glacier.
- Track to Rio Blanco base camp: Starting at the rangers headquarters in Lake Viedma, across Fitz Roy River and through lenga forests. De Los Tres Lagoon can be reached from the base camp in Mt Chalten. It is a 4-hour trip.
- Mt Chalten (Fitz Roy) is climbed every year by experts from all over the world.
- Track to the lagoon and Mt Torre base camp: Starting at the rangers headquarters in Lake Viedma, along a path by the Fitz Roy River and through a lenga forest to Lake Torre. It is a 6-hour round trip and covers a distance of approximately 15 km.
- Sheep herding and shearing as well as horse-rides to Perito Moreno (21 km) are offered at "Estancia Alice" (El Galpon).
- Guided tours to Punta Gualichu cave paintings across Lake Argentino (10 km). The place can be reached by car or on horseback which are organized from El Calafate.
- Country holidays in ranches: Alta Vista (33km), Nibepo Aike (60 km) and Helsingfors (150 km on the shores of Lake Viedma)
- Brown Sea-trout and Steelhead Trout fishing at "Estancia Guer Aike" (Truchaike) 200 km, near Rio Gallegos
- From El Chalten to Tres Lagos, then to Lake San Martin, along Chalia River: cave paintings can be seen in "La Cueva de las Manos".