Sitting on the banks of Lago Argentino, the largest freshwater lake in the country, Calafate is a small frontier town at the heart Argentina’s Los Glaciares National Park. From its humble origins as a remote, regional trading centre for the wool industry, the town has grown to become one of the most important tourist hubs for exploring the surrounding wind-swept Patagonian steppe. However, the area’s highlight, without doubt, is the spectacular Perito Moreno Glacier, the largest and only advancing glacier outside the polar caps. Reached in an easy daytrip from town, wooden walkways lead down to various viewing platforms overlooking the ice while a small “safari nautico” boat takes visitors across the face of the glacier.
For the adventurous, the guided mini-trekking is unmissable! Further afield, numerous other glaciers, tongues from the great southern icefield, spill onto the lake, and regular boat trips take in the Upsala, Spegazzini, and Onelli Glaciers as well as distant cattle stations. Calafate is rich in gaucho heritage and no visit to the area is complete without an “asado” barbeque at a local estancia.