Best Tours near El Calafate: Estancia Cristina

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.


Best tours in El Calafate: Full Day tour to Perito Moreno Glacier and navigation along Argentino Lake

Best tours in El Calafate: Full Day tour to Perito Moreno Glacier and navigation along Argentino Lake

Experience a complete day trip to Los Glaciares National Park, which includes round-trip transportation from El Calafate, a walk on the walkways in front of the Perito Moreno Glacier, and a scenic boat tour on Argentino Lake. You’ll have the opportunity to witness the glacier’s magnificent icefalls from several viewpoints, some reaching as high as 70 meters. For those seeking a closer encounter with the glacier, there’s an optional hour-long boat tour available. Additionally, visitors can explore the national park on foot with a range of hiking trails suited for all levels of fitness, from easy strolls to challenging hikes through rugged terrain.

The Nautical Safari tour offers more than just an exciting adventure, it’s also a chance to learn about the science and history behind the glacier. The knowledgeable guides onboard the boat provide fascinating information about the formation and behavior of glaciers, enriching your experience.

The tour is available year-round, but the best time to visit the Perito Moreno Glacier and Los Glaciares National Park is from October to March when the weather is warmer and the glacier is more active. However, visiting during the winter months (June to August) can also be a magical experience, as the glacier is covered in snow and ice, offering a unique and different beauty.

Please note that in the southern hemisphere, the months of June to August are part of the winter season. Many places within the national park and excursions do not operate during that period. The Patagonia season starts in October and ends in April, with the best months to travel to Patagonia being October to March.

How the tour develops…

The full-day tour to Perito Moreno Glacier and the Navigation along Argentino Lake is a popular excursion in Patagonia, Argentina. This tour provides a unique and thrilling way to experience one of the world’s most spectacular natural wonders – the Perito Moreno Glacier.

The tour begins early in the morning with a pick-up from your hotel in El Calafate, a small town located near the glacier (80 kilometers away). From there, you will head to Los Glaciares National Park, where the Perito Moreno Glacier is located.

Upon arrival at the park, you will have the opportunity to walk along the boardwalks and observation platforms to admire the glacier from different angles. The Perito Moreno Glacier is one of the few glaciers in the world that is still advancing, and its impressive size and bright blue color make it a breathtaking sight.

After spending some time exploring the glacier on foot, you will board a comfortable and modern boat that takes them across the turquoise waters of Lake Rico towards the glacier. The boat ride lasts approximately sixty minutes, and visitors can take in the stunning panoramic views of the glacier from the comfort of their seats.

As the boat approaches the glacier, passengers are treated to a breathtaking view of the massive ice formation. The boat gets as close as possible to the glacier, providing visitors with an up-close and personal encounter with the ice. The tour also includes a stop at the Mirador footbridge, which offers spectacular views of the glacier and its surroundings.

Overall, the full-day tour to Perito Moreno Glacier and the Navigation along Argentino Lake is a must-do experience for anyone visiting Patagonia. It offers a unique opportunity to witness some of the world’s most spectacular natural wonders up close, and to appreciate the beauty and power of nature.

Bear in mind that this is a full-day tour, so you won’t be able to complete it in half a day. Pick up from 7 am and return to your hotel in El Calafate around 6 pm.

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 opportunity to witness the awe-inspiring glaciers from a unique perspective. CONTACT US NOW  to reserve your spot on our unforgettable glacier navigation tour

Mayo Spirit Trekking Tour ( Sailing and Trek)

Mayo Spirit Trekking Tour ( Sailing and Trek)

This is an ideal tour for those who want to visit an underexplored area of the national park and outside the traditional touristic circuit.

Mayo Spirt Trek combines trekking in Los Glaciares National Park with a boat ride through the South Arm of Lake Argentino visiting the Cero Mayo and Cerro Negro glaciers and the Perito Moreno balconies. The only way to access this area is by boat because these glaciers are located within Cerro Mayo of Lake Argentino.

In case of booking the tour with transfer from El Calafate, you wil bel picked you up at your hotel at 8:00 a.m. and take you to the Port of Punta Bandera from where you will sail through the Canal de los Tempanos to enter the Seno Mayo of Lake Argentino.

There you disembark at Toro Bay and, accompanied by a guide, will have a 15 minutes interpretive hike without difficulty through the Andean Patagonian Forest until reaching a stream, which is fed by a waterfall, from where you can see a huge formation of calcareous rocks. You will remain in this place enjoying the landscape until you return to the boat that will take you to the next stop.

Departing from Toro Bay, the boat tour continues through the Cerro Mayo of Lake Argentino from where you can see the hanging glaciers of Cerro Mayo and Cero Negro.

Then, you disembark and start a 25 minutes hike traveling approximately 1,000 meters within the Andean Patagonian Forest. In the trek you follow the path of a stream until you reach a stone wall from where you can see the hanging glaciers Mayo and Negro while you enjoy panoramic views of a wonderful and scape that will leave you amazed.

You will remain for a while in this place appreciating the Cerro Mayo and Cerro Blanco to, then, return to the boat that will take you to the north wall of the Perito Moreno Glacier.

Upon arrival at this glacier, you will disembark at the dock located at the beginning of the Perito Moreno balconies. You will have two hours in this destination where you can walk along the viewing platforms.

There are several viewing platforms that offer incredible views of the glacier. You can walk along them and take in the stunning scenery and witness the awe-inspiring Perito Moreno Glacier and hear the ice crack and groan as it moves. The glacier is massive, stretching over 19 miles long and 3 miles wide.

Return to the boat and back to Puerto Bandera to, then, head towards to your hotel in Calafate ( ETA: 6 pm)

Bear in mind that this is a full-day tour, so you won’t be able to complete it in half a day. Pick up from 8 am and return to your hotel in El Calafate around 6 pm.

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.

To reserve your spot on this unforgettable tour, CONTACT US NOW

Our local experts are highly knowledgeable about the tours in El Chalten and will provide you with all the necessary information to ensure a seamless and enjoyable experience.

Also, Patagonia’s weather can be unpredictable, so it’s always better to be over-prepared than under-prepared. Don’t forget to pack a waterproof jacket and pants to keep you dry in the rain. Look for materials that are breathable, so you don’t overheat during physical activity.

If you want to learn more about what to pack to travel to Patagonia, find our packing list HERE

Best Tours in El Calafate: Glaciar Gourmet Tour

Best Tours in El Calafate: Glaciar Gourmet Tour

The Glaciers Gourmet Tour in Patagonia is a truly unique and unforgettable experience that combines adventure, nature, and gastronomy. It’s perfect for foodies and nature enthusiasts alike, offering a chance to explore the beauty of Patagonia while savoring some of the region’s most delicious food and drink.

This tour stands out due to its exceptional features and offerings: It’s the only tour within Los Glaciares national park that allows you to see the Upsala, Spegazzini and Perito Moreno glaciers in one day.

This tour is my absolute favorite. It’s an unique experience that combines the natural beauty of the region’s glaciers with a gourmet lunch experience.

Not only will you be able to navigate the Argentine lake and admire the most magnificent glaciers in Patagonia, but you will also be able to trek through the Patagonian forest. In addition, this excursion has the option of having lunch, typical Patagonian dishes cooked by a local chef.

What makes this tour different from the other tours?

One aspect that differences this tour from other similar is that it includes a 1-hour hike in the forest within the Canal Spegazzini, the visit to the Upsala, Spegazzini and Perito Moreno glaciers in the same day and a 4-step gourmet lunch if the Premium deck optional service is added to the booking.

The boat has a capacity of 200 people distributed in two decks (the main deck with 180 passengers capacity and the upper deck with 16 passengers capacity). The private deck is reserved for those passengers who booked the gourmet service and will savor a 4-course menu for lunch.

Gourmet Glaciers sails the waters of Lake Argentino in front of over 50 meters high walls, ancient deep blue ice and majestic icebergs, while enjoying nature in all its magnitude.

The tour develops in the following way:

The tour starts at your hotel where you will be picked up at around 7am to head towards Punta Bandera port where your ship is docked. Port Punta Bandera is located 47 km (30 miles) from El Calafate and you will embark at 8:30am. The ship departs at 8:45am and sails the Argentino Lake towards the Upsala canal. The Upsala Glacier is impressive, and visitors will witness the glacier’s many ice formations and colors. The glacier’s turquoise blue color is due to the way light refracts through the ice, creating a stunning and unique experience.

At Puesto de las Vacas, the ship will come to port, and passengers will disembark for a hiking adventure. Once back on the boat, the sailing resumes and the ship continues to the Perito Moreno Glacier while the 4-step lunch will be served at the Premium deck.

The boat’s Premium lounge is equipped with its own kitchen, toilet and private sun deck and is characterized by offering a four-step tasting menu presented by the chef on board. The great virtue of this cruise are the four exterior sun decks that allow you to comfortably contemplate the majesty of the glaciers and landscapes.

The tour offers a culinary experience that showcases the best of Patagonian cuisine, with fresh seafood, succulent meats, and locally grown produce. Some tours even include wine tastings, where visitors can sample Argentina’s famous Malbec and other varietals.

The menu changes according to the availability of fresh and seasonal ingredients. We understand that some clients may have dietary restrictions or require kosher options, and we are happy to accommodate these requests if you contact us in advance.

Following a stunning cruise past the Perito Moreno glacier, the tour will conclude with a return to port at Punta Bandera. Then, you’ll make your way back to your hotel in El Calafate.

Please bear in mind that this is a full-day tour, so you won't be able to complete it in half a day. Pick up from 7 am and return to your hotel in El Calafate around 6 pm.

Don’t miss out on the opportunity to witness the awe-inspiring glaciers from a unique perspective  CONTACT US NOW  to reserve your spot on our unforgettable glacier navigation tour


Everything you need to know to plan a trip to the 7th continent

Everything you need to know to plan a trip to the 7th continent

If you’re planning to visit Antarctica for the first time, know that no matter how much research you do, the trip will be full of surprises, likely surpassing any expectations you have. Still, there are a few things you need to know before going to Antarctica so that you have a successful, stress-free trip.

Here are our recommendations and important considerations:

Planning and preparation:

A trip to Antarctica requires planning and preparation, including obtaining appropriate gear, arranging travel insurance, and getting medical clearance. By booking in advance, you have more time to prepare for your trip and ensure that everything is in order before you depart.

Booking a trip to Antarctica should be done well in advance due to several reasons:

It can ensure availability, provide flexibility in scheduling, and allow ample time for preparation and planning. It can also potentially save you money and ensure a smoother travel experience. You can also get the best deals, cabins, and the opportunity to participate in other activities with limited capacities, like camping, kayaking, among others.

I recommend planning your trip a season ahead of your intended travel season. For example, if you’re thinking of traveling in the 2023/24 season, start planning your trip a year ahead.

Limited availability: There are only a limited number of ships and cabins available for tourism in Antarctica, and they book up quickly, especially during peak season. Some trips are only available once a year or for a limited time, so it’s essential to book early to ensure availability.

Weather conditions: The weather in Antarctica is unpredictable, and ships may have to change their routes or schedules due to weather conditions. Booking in advance can help you secure a spot on a ship and increase the chances of finding a suitable departure date that works for you.

Travel arrangements: A trip to Antarctica usually involves several travel arrangements, including flights, accommodations, and transportation to the embarkation point. By booking in advance, you can secure your travel arrangements and potentially save money on flights and accommodations.

Permits and visas: Travel to Antarctica requires permits and visas, which can take some time to process. By booking in advance, you can ensure that you have enough time to obtain the necessary permits and visas before your trip.

Can you plan your trip last-minute? Yes, you can, but you’re limited to what’s available. Antarctica cruises are very popular, so availability might be very limited. Additionally, there may not be any capacity for offshore activities for last-minute bookings.

When planning your trip, it is important to schedule your flights to your departure port to arrive at least a day before the ship’s departure to avoid missing it due to unforeseen delays.

How long do Antarctica trips last?

The most common Antarctica expeditions last approximately nine to eleven days, including five full days of exploration in Antarctica and about one and a half to two days at sea crossing the beautiful Drake Passage if you’re sailing from Ushuaia.

If you’re looking to reach the Antarctic Circle, you’ll be looking at 14 to 16-day trips, but other journeys extend beyond those days to up to 30+ days, to include even more islands and destinations.

For those short on time, there’s also the option of “flying and cruising.” You could fly to King George Island, skipping the famous Drake Passage’s crossing, and begin your 5-9 day’s journey from there.

It’s important to note that the duration of your trip will also depend on factors such as weather, ice conditions, and other logistical factors. Be sure to research the specific itinerary and trip details when planning your Antarctica adventure.

When is the Best Time to Go to Antarctica?

The best time to visit Antarctica is during the Southern Hemisphere’s summer months, which run from November to early March. During this time, the weather is milder, and the days are longer, allowing for more exploration and activities. Here are some reasons why visiting Antarctica during the summer months is the best option:

Weather: Although the weather in Antarctica is still cold during the summer months, it is milder and more stable than during the winter. The temperature typically hovers around -10 to 0 degrees Celsius (14 to 32 degrees Fahrenheit) during the summer.

Wildlife: During the summer months, Antarctica’s wildlife is at its most active, with penguins, seals, and whales coming to the surface to feed and breed. This provides the best opportunities for wildlife viewing and photography.

Ice conditions: During the summer months, the sea ice around Antarctica starts to melt, allowing ships to navigate more freely and reach more remote locations.

Activities: Many activities, such as kayaking, camping, and hiking, are only available during the summer months when conditions are milder and daylight hours are longer.

Research stations: Some research stations in Antarctica are only accessible during the summer months, providing a unique opportunity to visit and learn about the scientific work being done in the region.

It’s worth noting that even during the summer months, the weather in Antarctica can be unpredictable, and delays or changes to itineraries can occur. However, overall, the summer months are the best time to visit Antarctica for a more enjoyable and adventurous experience.

Should You Pick an Expedition Ship or a Cruise?

The decision to choose an expedition ship or a cruise to Antarctica largely depends on your personal preferences and travel goals. Here are some factors to consider when deciding between an expedition ship or a cruise:

Itinerary and activities: Expedition ships generally offer more adventurous itineraries and activities, such as kayaking, camping, and hiking, while cruises focus more on sightseeing and lectures. Consider what type of activities and experiences you want to have in Antarctica.

Ship size: Expedition ships are generally smaller and more nimble than cruise ships, allowing them to access more remote and off-the-beaten-path locations. However, larger cruise ships may offer more amenities and comforts, such as larger cabins and more extensive dining options.

Time and budget: Expeditions tend to be longer and more expensive than cruises, due to their more extensive itineraries and activities. Consider your available time and budget when deciding between an expedition or a cruise.

Expertise and education: Expedition ships usually have a team of experts on board, such as naturalists, historians, and scientists, who provide in-depth lectures and insights about the Antarctic environment. Cruises may offer educational programs as well, but not to the same extent as expedition ships.

Comfort level: Expedition ships often have more basic accommodations and facilities than cruise ships, as they focus more on adventure and exploration than luxury. Consider your comfort level and willingness to forgo some comforts for the sake of adventure.

Ultimately, the choice between an expedition ship or a cruise to Antarctica depends on your travel preferences and goals. Consider the factors listed above and research your options thoroughly before making a decision.

CONTACT US  if you want to know about other expeditions to Antarctica for 2024 and 2025.

Don’t forget to prep for Buenos Aires

If your trip involves a couple of days, predeparture, in Buenos Aires, make sure to bring lighter layers. The city is hot at the time of year when most Antarctic cruises take place, with temperatures ranging from 70 to 80 degrees. Remember to bring a universal adapter. It’s good to have a few pesos on hand, but many places accept U.S. dollars—and credit cards are widely accepted in hotels and restaurants. Your cruise line will typically offer a packaged experience, but even 24 hours is enough time to explore on your own in a more local way