AN ADVENTURE AMONG GLACIERS
El Calafate is a village where the inhabitants have made of hospitality a cult. It is a peaceful and picturesque settlement, a heaven of peace and vegetation, where the Patagonian beauty can be discovered. It is a place where steppes, mountains, lakes, woods and glaciers coexist with rich native flora and fauna.
Inhabited by 5000 thousand people, El Calafate is located on the southern bank of Lake Argentino, at the foot of the mountain under the same name, in the southwest of the province of Santa Cruz. El Calafate is the main access to the renowned Los Glaciares National Park, one of the most amazing parks in Argentina with blocks of thousand-year-old ice floating in the lakes.
El Calafate is named after a small bush typical of southern Patagonia, whose fruit (a kind of berry) is very much used in local confectionery, especially for jams. It tastes similar to blackberries although it is less sour. It is usually the main ingredient of cakes, pies, drinks and desserts, which are very difficult to resist.
According to the tradition, the person who eats calafate will come back for more. However reality shows that whoever visits El Calafate does not ever want to leave.
The settlement dates from 1913, when a Spanish immigrant (José Pantín) and his family set up a bar, a grocery store and accommodations near the mouth of El Calafate stream.
These facilities became a staging post in the journey between the Cordillera region and Río Gallegos. A few years later, other families followed the example and in 1927 El Calafate was officially founded.
At present, it is a very important tourist center and has gained both national and international significance since it is there where all the glacial circuits start: Viedma Glacier, Upsala Glacier, Onelli Glacier, Spegazzini Glacier, Mayo Glacier, Frías Glacier, and Perito Moreno Glacier known as "the eighth wonder of the world" and declared World Natural Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1981.
In the city, the main attractions are located along the main avenue, which is full of picturesque houses, shops, restaurants, hostels, public services and handicraft stores, among others.
If you are planning to visit the glaciers you cannot miss this small village and all the magic that its natural attractions offer. You cannot miss the opportunity of crossing the bridge that joins the most magic and unknown part of the Patagonian geography. You cannot miss the feeling you are already in heaven as you come in contact with these breathtaking ice blocks.