Best Tours near El Calafate: Estancia Cristina

For those seeking a luxurious experience without compromise, Estancia Cristina is the perfect destination. Immerse yourself in the stunning scenery of Los Glaciares National Park while enjoying excellent food, impeccable service, and beautifully refurbished buildings to unwind in. Accessible solely by boat, your visit to Estancia Cristina is both a stylish and pioneering adventure, allowing you to explore the heart of Patagonia in ultimate comfort.

About Estancia Cristina

Nestled in an ideal location, Estancia Cristina provides the perfect base for exploring a variety of landscapes. While excursions may be slightly shorter in duration than those offered by other estancias, they still provide ample opportunity to enjoy the outdoors before returning to the lodge or wandering the on-site museum housed in the historic sheep shearing shed. Choose from guided horseback riding, 4×4 adventures, and treks to the Upsala Glacier and Fossil Canyon, or opt to blaze your own trail with a few self-guided options available.

Our two favorite full day tours in Estancia Cristina are:

Discovery 4×4 Full Day Tour

Upon arrival at the shores near Estancia Cristina, the Discovery group is greeted by our specialized driver-guides and ushered into our sturdy 4×4 vehicles for a journey into the wilderness. The vehicles will climb up the Feruglio Mountains, covering a distance of 9.5km while offering breathtaking views of the surroundings, before arriving at an elevated area for parking. From here, guests will embark on a 20-minute trek over terrain shaped by glacial erosion, leading us to the Upsala Glacier Lookout – an exclusive viewing point accessible only from Estancia Cristina. Visitors will have ample time to marvel at the Upsala Glacier, Lake Guillermo, and the Southern Patagonian Ice Field before heading back to the lodge for a well-deserved lunch break lasting about an hour. In the afternoon, guests will visit the Costumbrista Museum located in the old shearing shed on the estate to learn about the history of the Masters family and their pioneering adventures in Patagonia. Finally, a guided tour of Estancia Cristina’s estate will take visitors to the Caterina River, the waterwheel, the chapel, and other notable areas.

Overall, the Estancia Cristina Tour offers a unique and unforgettable way to experience the natural beauty and rich history of Patagonia, while enjoying the warm hospitality of one of the region’s most iconic ranches.

Canadon de los Fosiles Trek
Available: from October 1 to April 30

After disembarking at the Estancia Cristina pier, you will reach the estancia and then set off to discover the Upsala Glacier. Traveling by 4×4 vehicles along a 7 miles track, you will arrive at the Upsala Continental Ice Shelter. This shelter was established in 1959 as a base for exploration expeditions in the ice zones and as a fallback option in case of adverse weather conditions. A leisurely 30-minute walk along an uncomplicated, eroded terrain from the shelter will take you to a breathtaking viewing point that will leave you in awe – the Upsala Glacier!
The Fossil Canyon trek is a moderately challenging 3-hour hike that traverses eroded terrain, leading back to Estancia Cristina and ultimately to the boat that will return you to Puerto Punta Bandera.
The trail descends through the canyon and into the valley of the river, which was once a glacial valley, evident from the surrounding terrain. The eroded terrain, fractured rock formations, immense walls carved by the glaciers that once covered the area, and varying rock colors resulting from exposure to the elements, all provide an awe-inspiring sight. The vegetation that seeks to find its place in this sculpted landscape adds a unique touch to the overall scenery.
It is an incredibly rewarding and interesting day in Patagonia. Descending into the river valley and walking along the river, passing through grazing fields, lagoons, and forests of ñires, it is an impressive experience in terms of the natural beauty and biodiversity that can be found in the region.
Arriving at Estancia Cristina at the end of the trail also sounds like a great achievement, as if it were a reward for the effort of the hike and an opportunity to relax and enjoy the life of the estancia. Undoubtedly, it is a complete and unforgettable day in Patagonia.

*Bear in mind that the physical demand and the challenging terrain indicate a minimum age of 12 for this activity, and it is not recommended for people with back, hip, ankle or knee pains.

Please note that due to high demand, the tour has limited availability. It is crucial to make your reservation well in advance to secure your spot, and we highly recommend booking several months ahead to ensure you don't miss out on this popular tour.

Don’t miss out on the chance to experience the beauty of nature like never before. CONTACT US today to book your tour and embark on an unforgettable journey.


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