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El Calafate is a charming resort town on the shore of Lago Argentino and is a base for exploring Los Glaciares National Park and the impressive Perito Moreno Glacier.

Los Glaciares National Park covers a total area of 600,000 hectares of southwestern Argentina and was declared a UNESCO Natural Heritage Site in 1981. The area is home to fauna from the sub-Antarctic steppe and woods, with over 100 species of birds inhabiting the forest and steppe. These include: lesser rhea, Andean condor, torrent duck, white-throated caracara, yellow-bridled and black throated finch. There are important groups of condors and black-chested buzzard eagle in the north of the park. Rarer sightings occur of yellow-winged blackbird, spectacled tyrant, many-coloured rush tyrant.

Located in the Austral Andes, bordering Chile, some 40% of this magnificent park is covered by giant ice fields, with 47 major glaciers; of which 13 flow east descending into the park to feed the two big lakes, Lake Viedma in the north and Lago Argentino in the south. There are also about 190 smaller glaciers that are not connected to the ice fields. Just east of the ice fields are areas of southern beech forest and further east the Patagonian steppe with shrub vegetation.

El Calafate was established in 1913 as a stopover on the Patagonia Trail. and its International airport receives direct flights from Buenos Aires, Trelew, Puerto Natales (Chile) and other regional destinations.

View suggested itinerary

Key info

  • Ideal for viewing: Andean condor, black-faced ibis, black-necked swan, Chilean flamingo, torrent duck
  • Where: Santa Cruz Province, Argentina

Wildlife trips

This wildlife location is featured in the following itinerary:

Wild Patagonia

Enjoy the best of Argentina and Chile, with stunning scenery and burgeoning wildlife at Torres del Paine and spectacular glaciers around Calafate. The trip culminates in two days at Valdes Peninsula, home to species such as the northern right whale, magellanic penguin and elephant seal.

  • When to go: Oct-Apr
  • Duration inc. flights: 18 days
  • Price inc. flights: From £5,095 pp
  • Trip type: Tailor-made trip idea
Suggested accommodation is shown below. Please contact us for further recommendations.

Eolo Lodge

This deluxe estancia-style lodge is located between El Calafate and Perito Moreno glacier, on a 3,000 hectare estate with wonderful views over Lago Argentino. The property has 17 suites, all with different views, and offers activities such as wildlife and bird watching, star gazing, walking and horse riding.