After my two days in Ushuaia I flew up to El Calafate. El Calafate exists basically for 2 reasons. The new airport is there and it’s the gateway to Parque Nacional de las Glacieres, El Chalten and the famous Perito Moreno Glacier. This is really the only reason to visit El Calafate. Here is how to visit Perito Moreno from El Calafate.
If you’re like me and don’t like tours you can arrange your own trip to Perito Moreno from El Calafate. Very simply just go to the bus station in El Calafate and choose a time and bus company to bring you to the glacier and back. I went on the 9am bus returning at 4pm. This was more time than needed but it was cool because I got to see different weather periods.
I rode with Cal Tur mainly because their times worked out well for me as I also bought my ticket to El Chalten from them as well. They were fine, the bus was decent and then I was on my own at the glacier.
Obviously you can also take a tour where they’ll pick you up at your hotel in El Calafate and do everything for you. It’ll cost you an extra $50 or so but you won’t have to think at all.
You also have options to do glacier hikes. There’s 2 options; a big ice hike or a mini version. They’re more or less the same with the former simply having more time on ice. I chose not to do it because it was way overpriced. Plus, I’ve done several glacier walks and climbs before so I didn’t need to do it.
The ride to and from El Calafate is about 80 minutes. On entry you’ll need to pay 500 pesos cash or about $32. This is separate from your bus tickets.
Seeing Perito Moreno in person is a bit of a dream. As someone who has seen many glaciers, Perito Moreno was the best I’ve ever seen. I thought it was much better than what I recently saw in Glacier Bay National Park in Alaska or any I’ve seen in New Zealand, Canada, Iceland or Greenland.
Back in El Calafate, the town is passable as a tourist town with a bunch of tourist shops, a casino and mediocre restaurants. It’s easy to spend a day or two in El Calafate but beyond the glacier there isn’t much to keep you.
I stayed at the America Del Sur hostel. Yes I am too old to stay in hostels but it was only one night and I had a private double room and bathroom so it wasn’t that bad. I booked it because I was short on time and was alone so it would be easy to meet people and ask questions. It was a very pleasant stay and I would stay there again if I ever went back.
So that’s basically it for how to get to Perito Moreno from El Calafate. There’s not much to it. It’s definitely worth doing but I wouldn’t linger too long in town. Get yourself up to El Chalten to do some epic trekking!