Perito Moreno Glacier is one of the most incredible sights in Argentine Patagonia, and one of the top places to visit in South America. Located in Los Glaciares National Park, this is likely the most famous glacier in the world, and for many good reasons.
Is Perito Moreno Glacier Worth Visiting?
Perito Moreno is probably one of the most popular tourist attractions in Argentina, and for a good reason. Unless you are obsessed about staying out of the tourist trail, I wholeheartedly recommend you visit as it is simply magnificent – indeed a must-see! In fact, I honestly think you should visit in any case and include it in your Argentina itinerary.
The area of Perito Moreno is so vast, there are so many view points and balconies, that even on a very busy day you’ll hardly feel it is crowded. Chances are you’ll be too concentrated admiring the glacier, listening to its ice walls cracking and crushing into the lake, producing a thunder-like noise, and trying to keep warm.
Yes, visiting Perito Moreno Glacier (Glaciar Perito Moreno, as it is called locally) can actually be costly. As of right now, the entry fee to Los Glaciares National Park is 800 ARS (Argentinian Pesos), which at the current exchange rate is around $12 USD. To that, you’ll likely have to add the cost of transportation and of other activities – unless you go on a Perito Moreno Glacier tour that covers all the costs.
These are some of the best guided tours of Perito Moreno and the National Park – they are best pre-booked a bit in advance, and usually include hotel pick-up and drop-off:
GOOD TO KNOW: Another really cool glacier to visit is Viedma, which is more easily reached from Chaltén. Visiting usually implies a boat trip, ice-climbing, and impressive views of Cerro Huemul.
GOOD TO KNOW: From El Calafate you can also reach Spegazzini and Upsala glaciers. The latter one can be seen during visits of Estancia Cristina, if you opt for the hike.
There is no doubt that Perito Moreno is an incredible sight
Some Background Information On Perito Moreno Glacier
Let me start by sharing some Perito Moreno glacier facts!
Perito Moreno is named after Francisco Moreno, who played a vital role in protecting Argentina’s interests during the endless border disputes with Chile.
It is located at around 80 km, and at around one and a half hour drive from El Calafate, and at 74 meters above the Lago Argentino. Make sure not to confuse it with Perito Moreno town, which is a 12 hours drive north!
The area is part of the Southern Patagonian Ice field (Campo de Hielo Sur), known to be the third largest frozen body of freshwater in the world. In fact, the glacier is huge: 30 km in length, 5 km in width and a whopping surface of 250 square km.
Los Glaciares National Park, of which this natural wonder is part, was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1981. This is a truly unique place: it’s one of the most active glaciers in the world. Thought to be one of the very few growing glaciers in the world (as opposed to the majority, which are receding), in fact Perito Moreno is stable: every day it grows a bit, but loses a bit as well. In other words, the glacier’s size is pretty much stable.
Every 4 to 5 years, the glacier reaches the other side of Lago Argentino, where there’s a small peninsula known as “Magallanes Peninsula,” thus forming a natural dam that separates the two parts of the lake. As a result, the level of the water on the part of the lake known as Brazo Rico raises up to 30 meters, with an increased pressure on the ice wall, which causes the breaking and dropping of massive icebers in the Canal de Los Tempanos.
What’s certain is that this is one of the most unique places in the world, and a must for anybody traveling to Argentina.
TIP: Make sure to visit the Glaciarium in El Calafate before your trip to the glaciar. It will give you lots of good background information on the dynamics of Patagonian glaciers.
Check out my post “A Guide To The Greatest Things To Do In Argentina.”
The awe-inspiring views of Perito Moreno as seen from the balconies
Everything You Need To Know Before Visiting Perito Moreno Glacier
When to visit Perito Moreno
The best time of year to visit Perito Moreno and the National Park is in the summer, between November and March – that will be high season in Argentina, and that’s when you’ll have the highest chances of a sunny day. Sunny days are thought to be the best to experience the ice cracking and falling into the lake with its thundering noise.
Having said so, fall in the area is splendid, with the red leaves striking against the white and blue of the glacier, giving it a special glow. The fall is also significantly less crowded, so you may have a more solitary experience than if you visit in the summer.
I have been to Perito Moreno twice on two different trips to Argentina, and both times I experienced it the weather was overcast and it rained most of the time. Though seeing Perito Moreno glow in all its glory under the sun would definitely add to the experience, I recommend going even if the weather broadcast isn’t the best. I can assure you the sight is going to be breathtaking all the same – and you will be able to see and hear the ice cracking – though perhaps not as often.
Whether you visit on a sunny or rainy day, keep in mind that Patagonian weather can be quite unpredictable: I recommend layering up and carrying rain proof gear.
Make sure to hang around long enough to see Perito Moreno ice cracking and falling into the lake!
How To Get To Perito Moreno
The best access point to Perito Moreno is El Calafate, a small town of around 25000 people in the Santa Cruz province, that is connected to Buenos Aires, Bariloche in Patagonia, and Ushuaia, in Tierra del Fuego, via direct flights with Aerolinas Argentina and a few other companies.
You can also travel to El Calafate by bus from Torres del Paine and Puerto Natales, in Chile – it’s a scenic 3 hours drive from Torres del Paine, and a smooth 6 hours drive from Puerto Natales.
El Calafate is also connected to El Chaltén, which is just 3 hours north (by the way, this is the best access point to hike around Mount Fitz Roy); to San Carlos de Bariloche – but it’s a 24 hour bus ride; and to Puerto Madryn – which is 20 hours away.
Once in El Calafate, accessing Perito Moreno and Los Glaciares is actually very easy, and you have several options, depending on your budget and your travel style.
Independently, by car or bus
You can rent a car directly from El Calafate airport and drive around. Check out the prices of car rental here.
Buses to the National Park leave regularly from the bus station located in Jean Marmoz 104. The ticket costs around 800 ARS (around $20 USD). Buses leave at 8:30 or 9:00 am, depending on the company, and if you make it to the terminal well in advance you can buy tickets on the same day.
Buses going back to El Calafate leave at 4:00 pm from the same spot where they drop people off. CalTur also has buses that leave from town at 1:00 pm and go back at 7:30 pm.
Once at the entrance, cars, buses and even private tours have to stop to get tickets to the park.
As I have said previously, the entrance fee for Los Glaciares National Park is of 800 ARS. Make sure to bring cash as credit cards are not accepted. This ticket will allow you to walk around the many balconies and view points to admire Perito Moreno. Make sure to pick a map of the area, as there are several trails to follow, all of them well marked.
Optional activities include a boat ride that takes you right under the glacier and even an ice hike on Perito Moreno itself. You can opt to do the boat trip and just show up for the boat, but you have to join a guided expedition if you intend to go on the ice trek. More about the boat ride and the ice trek later.
If you plan to visit Perito Moreno independently make sure to bring your own lunch, unless you plan to eat at the rather expensive cafeteria on the site. Keep in mind that outside food is not allowed in the cafeteria – there are a few benches on the viewpoints, but if it’s a rainy, cold day eating out isn’t exactly a good idea.
A Perito Moreno Glacier tour usually goes to the viewpoints – some also include the boat trip or the ice trek
On a guided tour
The main benefit of joining a tour of Perito Moreno is that it is easy: you’ll only have to worry to make it back to the same shuttle that dropped you off. Pretty much none of the guided tours is inclusive of the entrance fee to the park, so make sure to carry enough cash for that even if you have already paid.
Tours vary in length and quality: most cover just the basic, taking you to Curva de los Suspiros for the best distant views of the glacier, the balconies and, at most, including a packed lunch of sort. You’ll have a guide, but to be fair the information you get on the boards is enough to get by.
The best Perito Moreno tours are those that include a boat ride and / or take you for an ice trek. Make sure to pre-book them, especially if you are traveling in the peak-season.
Guided tours of Patagonia that also go to Perito Moreno:
If you prefer to take the edge off organizing a trip to this part of the world and would like to leave this task to the experts, you can even join a guided group tour of Argentina that includes a visit of Perito Moreno. Here are some of the best tours:
- Patagonia Hiking: perfect for active travelers who enjoy nature, this 9 days tour includes stops at El Calafate with visit of Perito Moreno Glacier, and at El Chalten, to hike Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre.
- Argentina Multisport: the best tour if you are looking for adventure. It includes activities such as rafting, cycling and trekking, and obviously a visit to Perito Moreno.
- Hike Patagonia In Depth: if hiking is your thing, this is the trip for you. You may be camping on some nights – no better way to experience this part of the country!
- Best of Patagonia: a 13 days trip that takes you to all the best places to visit.
- 6 Day tour of Patagonia: a good compromise if you have limited time in the region.
- Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego: a fantastic hiking trip that also takes you to the end of the world, between Argentina and Chile. You’ll be hiking Perito Moreno and even Laguna Esmeralda.
Boat tours on Lake Argentino and Perito Moreno Glacier
Perito Moreno boat tours are probably as touristy as it gets – picture a guide almost robotically giving facts about the glacier to a less than interested audience, a photographer on board ready to snap photos of passengers with the glacier in the background, for a hefty fee, and so on. But honestly, the view is so beautiful that it is worth putting up with everything.
Boats depart from Bajo de las Sombras and go well under the glacier, on the northern side, keeping a distance of around 100 meters from the wall itself, and you’ll get an incredible view of it from below: you’ll see the ice crack and fall into the lake, you’ll get close up photos. Tours typically last around 90 minutes and usually include a snack and a drink (can be anything, but whiskey on glacier rocks is probably the best option on this occasion).
The following tours include a boat ride to the glacier. They must be pre
If you are after a more adventurous experience and aren’t bothered by the cold, you can even go on a Perito Moreno kayak experience.
On an ice trek you get close and personal with Perito Moreno
Perito Moreno Glacier Hike
I didn’t go on an ice trek of Perito Moreno on my first trip to Argentina, but I did last time I visited and I am glad, as it actually was a lot of fun. It hardly is a private experience, with several people on the tour. But it’s fun, and you’ll be so concentrated on walking with the crampons and on admiring the glacier that you’ll hardly realize there are others around.
The Perito Moreno mini trekking tour usually start from the southern banks of the lake, where you’ll take a 20 minutes boat ride to the base camp – that’s in an of itself a treat, as you’ll get very close to the glacier, for incredible photos.
Once at the camp, you’ll join a group for a short walk through the forest until a small stand where the tour guide will help you wear the crampons, which are necessary to walk on the ice.
The mini trekking lasts around 90 minutes (unless you go on the Big Ice, which goes on for several hours). It is a very easy walk during which you’ll see the many cracks, seracs, the small caves and you’ll even have a chance to taste the freezing cold but delicious glacier water. At the end of the tour, you’ll be offered a whiskey on the (Perito Moreno Glacier) rocks.
The overall mini trekking experience is incredible, and the views (and photos) you’ll get absolutely jaw-dropping. It’s an expensive thing to do, but honestly worth every penny.
The Big ice trek on Perito Moreno Glacier is a must-do for adventure lovers. It’s a full-day trip that will let you get up-close and personal with the glacier, for a truly unique experience. You can book it here.
Planning to hike more while in Argentina? Check out my posts:
You need to be properly equipped to trek on Perito Moreno
What to wear for your Perito Moreno Glacier tour
I can’t talk for others, really, but both times I have visited Perito Moreno Glacier I found it to be incredibly cold. Perhaps, on a sunny day, it is not nearly as cold. Anyways, my advice is to make sure to layer up and to carry an extra layer of warm clothes and rain proof gear just in case.
Interestingly enough, it is colder on the balconies overviewing the glacier than on an actual Perito Moreno Glacier ice trek.
These are some essential items to wear when visiting Perito Moreno:
- A snow jacket– make sure it is also rain proof
- A thermal shirt and thermal underwear.
- Thick hiking socks.
- A good t-shirt and a nice thick fleece.
- Hiking pants, best if waterproof.
- A beanie, a scarf and gloves (best if ski gloves.) Gloves will be needed for the Perito Moreno Glacier ice trek as well.
- A good pair of waterproof hiking boots – these will be required if you intend to do the ice trek, as you’ll need some footwear where the crampons can be tied up.
- Sunglasses – necessary on a sunny day.
- You may also want to take some hand warmers (I even put them in my shoes at times!).
Make sure to carry a good camera and lens (I use a Nikon D3300 and on this occasion I used a 18-105 mm lens). A good smartphone will also have a good camera – I am a fan of iPhone X.
Keep in mind that if you don’t have enough warm clothes for your visit to Perito Moreno, several shops in El Calafate rent out jackets and pants for a very reasonable price (around $10 USD per piece per day).
Make sure to read my posts:
A beautiful view of Perito Moreno Glacier
Where to stay in El Calafate
Calafate is packed with excellent accommodation options. These are some of the best places to stay in El Calafate:
For more information about El Calafate, check out my post “A Complete Guide To El Calafate, Argentina.”
Other practical information
I always recommend buying a good travel insurance on any trip. Make sure to get one even for your trip to South America. Check out the prices of travel insurance here.
Have you ever visited Perito Moreno? How was your experience? Do you have any other facts to add to this ultimate guide?
Pin It For Later!
Coming up with an Argentina itinerary is no easy thing. There is so much to see and do in this vast country, that I’d dare say a lifetime is not enough. You will be forced to hop on more planes you wished, ride buses for long hours, but trust me: it is all worth it.
Having visited many times and still dreaming of the incredible landscapes of Patagonia, I can only say this will be the trip of a lifetime; one you will never forget and – in fact – you will want to repeat it.
A perfect Argentina itinerary will have to include Buenos Aires, the magnificent peaks of the Andes, plenty of wildlife viewing opportunities, but also adventure, wine tasting, and indigenous cultures. You will be admiring glaciers; marveling at the roar of Iguazu Falls; sipping Malbec while savoring the tastiest beef.
In this post, I create two great itineraries based on the amount of time you may be able to spend in the country. Continue reading to discover your perfect Argentina itinerary.
A Perfect Argentina Itinerary
Argentina Itinerary #1: Buenos Aires, Patagonia and Mendoza
10 to 14 days in Argentina itinerary
I always say that if you are a first timer in a country, you should start with the most popular attractions. Pick this Argentina itinerary if it is your first time there. If you have 10 days, stick to this itinerary religiously and don’t dare adding any more places to it – you simply won’t have time. If you have more than 10 days in Argentina, you can opt for a different itinerary as one of those highlighted below, or just add a day in Buenos Aires, one in El Calafate and one in El Chalten.
I am not a big fan of Mendoza but if you think you will want to hike in the region, also add a day to it!
Alternatively, you can simply add an extra stop in Puerto Madryn.
In short, this is what your Argentina itinerary will look like:
2 nights in Buenos Aires
2 nights in El Calafate
3 nights in El Chalten
3 nights in Mendoza
Buenos Aires is, inevitably, the first stop of any Argentina itinerary. Known as the Paris of South America, the city is packed with interesting sights and things to do, and there is a multitude of good restaurants and bars and an incredible nightlife.
This Argentina itinerary allows you to spend two full days in the city. These are enough to get a good feel for it and tickle your interest in the capital, but if you have 2 weeks in Argentina definitely add an extra night.
Whether you visit the classic sights of Buenos Aires or not is up to you. I recommend doing that on the first day, and on the second one look for something a bit more alternative to do.
Make sure to read my post 32 Unmissable Things To Do In Buenos Aires.
On your first day in Buenos Aires, hit all the must-sees. Places like the Casa Rosada and Plaza de Mayo, La Boca and El Caminito, Recoleta Cemetery and finally the lovely Puerto Madero are among the top attractions in town.
In order to discover the history, culture and overall vibe of the city and (with that) even of the country you should join a guided street art tour. I recommend picking one with a local guide that is also incredible a local artist such as those run by Graffiti Mundo.
You will walk around Palermo, one of the most lively barrios of Buenos Aires, and learn the various murals came to life, what their meaning is, and how they have contributed to change in the city. Although street art may not be for all, this tour puts everything in context and by the end of it you will feel like you have learned a great deal about the city.
If a street art tour is not enough to appreciate the culture of Buenos Aires, a “dinner” at The Argentine Experience will provide one further push. Through food and wine, the friendly hosts help guests understand the incredibly diverse heritage of the city. Guests are involved in activities such as making empanadas (one of the local staples) and learning the basics of the local sign language; and all the while get to enjoy a fabulous dinner cooked using strictly local products, and accompanied with various local wines.
CHECK OUT THE BEST TOURS OF BUENOS AIRES HERE
Dog walkers in Buenos Aires – they can walk up to 10 dogs each!
Practical information about Buenos Aires
Where to sleep
Hotel Clasico – a small boutique hotel in the heart of Palermo Soho, it features comfortable rooms and a stylish environment. The area is packed with good bars and restaurants.
For more ideas, read my post A Complete Guide To Where To Stay In Buenos Aires.
CHECK OUT THE BEST HOTEL DEALS IN BUENOS AIRES HERE
Where to eat
Bellagamba Bodegon – a favorite of locals, this eatery serves some of the best milanesas in town.
La Popular del Soho – a typical parrilla where you can expect to have some of the best steaks in town.
Lo de Jesus – a nice upper-scale restaurant that gets regularly packed with locals and tourists alike. It’s right inside a shop called La Malbequeria – the name is good enough an explanation for the wine selection you can expect!
Where to drink
Patagonia – a craft beer company that can be found all over the country; there is one in Palermo Soho that has a lovely garden.
Growlers – another pub pretty much in front of Patagonia.
Boticario – a super quirky pub located in what used to be a pharmacy. It’s very vintage, and the atmosphere is unique yet friendly.
Buenos Aires public transportation system is quite efficient. Make sure to get a SUBTE card that allows you to ride buses and subway. It’s a top up card that you touch in every time you want to travel.
Alternatively, cabs are fairly cheap – especially if you can share the costs with other people.
Uber is illegal in Argentina, but you can download the app Cabify which works pretty much the same way.
El Calafate is the second stop on this Argentina itinerary
The second stop on this Argentina itinerary is El Calafate. You can travel to El Calafate by plane from Buenos Aires.
This nice small town located on the shores of Lake Argentino is the best access point to visit Perito Moreno Glacier, and is home to a multitude of excellent restaurants where to taste the best Argentian asado (mixed grill).
El Calafate is a nice place to explore. A walk along the lake is the perfect occasion to admire the incredible local bird life, with pink flamingos living in the lagoon, battling the wind which blows strong in this part of the country. Laguna Nimez is an even better place for birdwatching.
For more information about the city, read my post A Complete Guide To El Calafate Argentina.
Yet, Perito Moreno Glacier steals the show of this part of this Argentina itinerary. Plan a full day for your visit, on tour that is classic and adventurous at the same time. Plan to walk along the balconies and explore the various viewpoints to the glacier to admire the glacier as the ice cracks and falls in the freezing waters of Lake Argentino, with a thunder-like sound.
But then go on a boat tour to the northern wall of the glacier and then full frontal to actually walk on the glacier.
The best guided tours will take you to the southern part of Lake Argentino, where you’ll board a catamaran that will take you as close to the southern wall of Perito Moreno Glacier as possible, for even more stunning views and incredible photo opportunities, and then drop you off at the southern base of the glacier.
There, you’ll meet a local guide that will help you wear crampons and will take you on a short but rewarding hike on the ice, showing you the best cracks and creases, allowing you to taste glacier water and finally offering you a shot of whiskey on Perito Moreno rocks.
For more about the glacier, read my post A Complete Guide To Perito Moreno Glacier.
These are some of the best guided tours of Perito Moreno Glacier and Los Glaciares National Park:
Going on a glacier hike is a lot of fun!
Practical information about El Calafate
Where to sleep
Hotel Esplendor – a fantastic boutique hotel located on a hill and with beautiful views of the lake. Rooms are incredibly large and comfortable, and the overall place is very stylish. There is an on site spa and a restaurant that serves delicious food.
CHECK OUT THE BEST HOTEL DEALS IN EL CALAFATE HERE
Where to eat
La Tablita – known as the best restaurant in El Calafate, this literally is an institution. It serves the best asado, fantastic steaks and has a huge selection of wines.
Where to drink
Borges y Alvares – a lovely small café and bar with plenty of books on display and a great selection of drinks (mostly beer and wine).
Cerveceria Chopen – a nice craft beer pub. Ask for the beer sample before placing your order.
El Calafate is walker friendly, and small enough for visitors to walk from one place to the other. The occasional taxi drives by and you can haul it from the street.
El Chalten is usually the favorite stop on any Argentina Itinerary
El Chalten is the third stop on this Argentina itinerary, and the one that you will end up enjoying the most. You can get there by bus from El Calafate – it’s a 3 hours journey.
To be honest, the town is nothing special – houses and hotels built in complete disregard of any architectural style, set around two main roads; a few restaurants (excellent for the most part) and (for some unknown reason) more than enough breweries (all of them offering happy hour, which is good news for the hikers); a handful of shops and just two ATMs (hardly sufficient during peak season).
Make sure to read my post An Excellent Guide To El Chalten.
It’s what’s around El Chalten that makes it the highlight of any trip to Argentina. Indeed, El Chalten is right at the base of Cerro Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre. These can be seen from a long distance, as the bus from El Calafate approaches El Chalten first on Ruta 40 and then on Ruta 23.
Needless to say, if you visit El Chalten you are in for a real hiking extravaganza. As per this Argentina itinerary, you will hike the trails to Laguna Torre, at the base of Cerro Torre, and to Laguna de los Tres, at the base of Cerro Fitz Roy. These are quite long hikes on very well marked trails, but don’t go alone as you will need encouragement along the way (check out why I never recommend hiking alone).
For more information about the hikes, read my posts A Complete Guide To Hiking To Laguna Torre and A Guide To Hiking Around Fitz Roy, In El Chalten.
At Laguna Torre with 3 more girls on my trip of Argentina – it was great to meet other likeminded travelers!
Practical information about El Chalten
Where to sleep
Estancia La Quinta – a lovely hotel a bit outside of El Chalten. It’s a good walk to town (around 55 minutes) or a few minutes drive by taxi (at the time of writing, a ride to town costs $400 Argentinian Pesos). Rooms are plain but incredibly comfortable and the settings absolutely gorgeous.
CHECK OUT THE BEST HOTEL DEALS IN EL CHALTEN HERE
Where to eat
Maffia – a nice eatery that serves home made pasta – approved by Italians.
Ahonikenk – prepares some Argentinian staples including a good milanesa.
Mathilda – a lovely café with good salads and sandwiches, and drinks that go from your choice of coffee to craft beer.
Where to drink
La Vineria – a bit after the entrance of town, it has good draft beers and an excellent selection of wines.
Cerveceria Artesanal – the best pub in El Chalten.
El Chalten is tiny, so unless you are staying out of town ie at Estancia La Quinta, there won’t be any need to hire a taxi. If needed, several companies can be called and booked.
No better place to end a trip to Argentina than Mendoza
Mendoza is the perfect place to wrap up an incredible trip to Argentina, celebrating with wine and delicious food in the lovely surroundings of vineyards and Andean peaks. You can get there by plane from El Calafate, via Buenos Aires.
If the rest of this Argentina itinerary is all about adventure and adrenaline, in Mendoza it is all about taking it slowly.
Once in Mendoza you should visit the nicest bodegas (vineyard) in the region – all of them have fabulous restaurants attached.
You can go biking and even go horse riding through the vineyards and have a chance to try several wines and to learn about the process of wine making and bottling, and gorge on a 7 courses lunch – accompanied by yet more wine. Make sure to buy lots of wine to bring home, as it costs a real steal!
Check out my posts A Guide To The Most Fun Things To Do In Mendoza, Argentina and 13 Fantastic Wineries In Mendoza for more ideas.
A lovely bike ride through the vineyards – and lots of wine drinking!
Practical information about Mendoza
Where to sleep
Posada el Encuentro – tucked away in a small alley in Chacras de Coria, one of the nicest areas a bit outside Mendoza, this nice boutique hotel exudes countryside charm.
CHECK OUT THE BEST HOTEL DEALS IN MENDOZA HERE
Where to eat
The best places to eat in Mendoza are actually the fantastic bodegas you will visit during your wine tours. There, you will have your good share of local specialties such as empanadas and the best cuts of meat.
Vegan or vegetarian? Head to Cuenco, right outside the center of Mendoza. They have delicious fresh vegan food at more than reasonable prices.
Where to drink
Should the wine you have at the bodegas not be enough, you can pop in one of the many lovely bars and pubs on Chacras de Coria main street. Patagonia is guaranteed to have good beer.
As in any big city in Argentina, the public transportation system works quite well. You can also count on a good and fairly cheap taxi service.
Do you have more time?
If you have 14 full days in Argentina, you may want to add an extra stop in Puerto Madryn in between Buenos Aires and El Calafate. This is an excellent place for wildlife spotting – you can go to the penguin reserve in Punta Tombo, explore Peninsula Valdes and even go on a boat trip to admire dolphins and other marine life. You can read more about it in the next section below.
Time to plan your trip to Argentina!
Argentina itinerary #2: Buenos Aires, Puerto Madryn, Patagonia, Salta and Iguazu
3 to 4 weeks in Argentina itinerary
This Argentina itinerary won’t take you to Mendoza, but you will get to spend more time in Patagonia and also make it to the north of the country, in the region of the Quebradas and in the magnificent Iguazu.
Here is what your 3 weeks in Argentina will look like:
3 nights in Buenos Aires
3 nights in Puerto Madryn
4 or 5 nights in Ushuaia
3 nights in El Calafate
3 nights in El Chalten
3 nights in Iguazu
1 night in Buenos Aires
For this itinerary you will have 3 nights in Buenos. Check out my tips above for what to see and do in the city, and ideas on where to stay.
The second leg of this Argentina itinerary will take you to Puerto Madryn. You can get there by plane from Buenos Aires.
This small coastal town in Chubut is one of the best places in the country for wildlife watching, and you should plan to stay enough time to visit the Peninsula Valdes, a UNESCO World Heritage Site where you will spot a colony of elephant seals, and Punta Tombo, famous for being one of the largest penguin colonies in the world. Depending on the season, Puerto Madryn is also the perfect starting point for whale watching.
For more activities, make sure to check out my post A Complete Guide To Puerto Madryn, Argentina.
Practical information about Puerto Madryn
Where to sleep
You will find a good selection of places to stay in Puerto Madryn. I recommend staying at either Hi Patagonia Hostel, if you have a backpacker’s budget and are looking for an easygoing place, or at Hotel Piren for rooms with a view.
CHECK OUT THE BEST HOTEL DEALS IN PUERTO MADRYN HERE
Where to eat and drink
The best places to eat in Puerto Madryn are En Mis Fuegos, which is a bit of a romantic spot, and Cantina El Nautico, the best place in town for seafood. Giuseppe makes great pizza and pasta.
Puerto Madryn is fairly small. You may want to rent a car to get out of town on day trips, or join guided tours.
Ushuaia and Tierra del Fuego are absolutely stunning
Ushuaia and Tierra del Fuego
If someone dares to tell you that 5 days in Tierra del Fuego are too many, tell them that Claudia told you otherwise. Honestly guys, this place is THE THING, so unique, so southernmost, so different from anything else and I am sure you will fall in love with it as much as I did.
Ushuaia is the perfect access point to explore the region, enjoy the local wildlife, learn about the difficult by charming living conditions of the area, and to remain in awe of the magnificent nature.
Make sure to factor in a full day to explore Tierra del Fuego National Park, as it is quite vast and there are lots of hiking trails, viewpoints, and interesting landmarks. You can consider joining this Tierra del Fuego & the End of the World Train tour.
You can dedicate half day for a cruise on the Beagle Channel to admire local wildlife – various species of penguins, sea lions and if you are lucky you will also get to spot whales. Then you can go on a hike to Laguna Esmeralda (this trekking tour goes to Laguna Esmeralda).
These are the best boat tours of Beagle Channel:
Another day will be needed to visit Cabo San Pablo, a truly remote place where you will likely be the only one around. You can book a tour here.
Other things you can do in Tierra del Fuego include fishing and eating king crabs; visiting the beautiful Lago Escondido; walking to Martial Glacier and visiting a local estancia (farm). There are many in the region, but most of them are rather touristy. If you are in search for a local one, head to Estancia Rolito, which is still family run.
For more about Ushuaia and Tierra del Fuego, read my posts Everything You Need To Know About Ushuaia Patagonia and A Complete Guide To Hiking Laguna Esmeralda.
Guided tours are an excellent way of discovering Ushuaia, Patagonia
Practical information about Ushuaia
Where to sleep
You will find a good selection of places to stay in Ushuaia. Oshovia is a good boutique hotel with nice rooms. Hostel Yakush is perfect for backpackers.
CHECK OUT THE BEST HOTEL DEALS IN USHUAIA HERE
Where to eat and drink
Rincon Gourmet – a bit outside of the city center, in Andorra, you will find the private house of a local chef turned who loves cooking with local ingredients and changes his menu daily based on what he finds on the market. It’s expensive but delicious.
Ramos Generales – located on Maipú, the main street, it is a cozy place that attracts both locals and tourists. There is an adjoint bakery.
Viejo Marino – also on Maipú, it’s the best place to try local seafood. There often is a line so try to make reservations.
The Birra – a small local brewery that serves great beer on tap. They also have burgers.
There is a public transportation system in Ushuaia which you can use to reach some landmarks such as the starting point of the hike to Laguna Esmeralda. Other than that, you are better off using cabs or guided tours.
El Calafate and El Chalten
You can travel to El Chalten by plane from Ushuaia. There occasionally are direct flights.
Make sure to read my tips above for the best things to see and do in El Calafate and El Chalten.
When in Argentina, visiting Iguazu Falls is a must!
From El Calafate, you can fly to Iguazu via Buenos Aires. This will be a full day of traveling.
The magnificent Iguazu Falls are located on the border between Argentina and Brazil, and as per this Argentina itinerary, you will have enough time to visit both sides. The Brazilian side tends to be very panoramic, while the Argentine one is packed with action as you will be seeing the waterfalls from a variety of perspectives, including going right under them on a boat trip.
Make sure to read my post Everything You Need To Know Before Visiting Iguazu Falls Argentina.
This guided tour of the falls from Puerto Iguazu goes to Argentina and Brazil side and is perfect if you are short on time. You can also opt for this full moon walking tour Argentina falls. Otherwise, you can easily visit on your own!
Practical information about Iguazu
Where to sleep and eat in Iguazu
There are some excellent accommodation options in Iguazu. My favorite is Jasy Hotel, a nice hotel with very large rooms, a great restaurant and a bar serving excellent cocktails, and a small but nice pool.
CHECK OUT THE BEST HOTEL DEALS IN IGUAZU HERE
The public transportation system in Iguazu works quite well and you can definitely count on it to reach the national park and access the waterfalls, on both sides of the border.
Do you have more time?
If you have 4 or 5 extra days to spare Argentina, I recommend heading to Salta. You can fly there directly from Iguazu. I think it is much better if you rent a car for this last leg of your Argentina itinerary, as it really is the best way to explore the area of the Quebradas.
Salta is a lovely colonial town that has much of an indigenous feel, and a great access point to Rio Juramento, a perfect location for rafting and ziplining, and to access the beautiful Quebradas.
Make sure to read my post A Complete Guide To Salta Argentina.
Further Information To Plan Your Trip To Argentina
The best time to visit Argentina
Argentina is a huge country with several climates and temperatures that can vary a lot depending on where you go. For the purpose of this itineraries, you are probably better off traveling between October and April, so between spring and the beginning of fall, when days are long and you have chances of better weather in Patagonia. Keep in mind that Buenos Aires and even Mendoza are terribly hot and sticky during the summer, whereas Iguazu has tropical weather.
How to get to Argentina
The starting point of this Argentina itinerary is always Buenos Aires. You will be flying into Ezeiza International Airport, which is at about 20 km out of town. Buenos Aires is a terribly busy city, so depending on where you are staying in town it may take you up to two hours to get there!
Flying to Argentina from North America and Europe isn’t cheap. The best flight deals are likely going to be on Air Canada from North America and on Alitalia (via Rome) or Iberia (via Madrid) from Europe. Keep in mind that flights are truly long, so you may want to splurge on a comfortable seat.
How to move around Argentina
A country as big as Argentina will require a combination of various transportation modes. The good news is that domestic flights in Argentina aren’t terribly expensive if you book them in advance. The only issue is that most of the time you will have to fly through Buenos Aires (Pistarini Domestic Airport) to catch a connecting flight to your final destination. The best deals are usually on Norwegian (which actually has really good service) and Aerolinas Argentinas. Latam has some good deals too.
If you are in no rush, you may want to opt for the occasional bus ride. Keep in mind that distances are such that at times you may be spending 20+ hours on a bus, but the good news is that buses are usually very comfortable, with fully reclining seats and an entertainment system, and they will also share some (basic) meals. You should book your bus seats in advance.
Driving in Argentina can be challenging. The distances are terribly long, and in Patagonia the wind is so powerful that you’ll feel your car may take off any time. Having said so, a road trip through Argentina can also be a fun experience, especially if you can break down your trip and visit more places along the way. I have driven myself in the northern provinces (Salta and the Quebradas) and had a blast. Keep in mind that lot of rental companies will apply limitations on the number of km you can cover!
What to pack
Make sure to pack smartly, as Buenos Aires and Mendoza tend to get very hot in the summer, but Patagonia is mostly windy and chilly. Carry some good layers for Patagonia, as the weather tends to be unpredictable, it may rain and it is (unsurprisingly) freezing cold on Perito Moreno Glacier. Hiking boots are a must, as well as sun block!
To help you plan your trip to Argentina make to read my other posts:
Legal Disclaimer: I was a guest of Flash Pack during my last trip to Argentina and I wish to thank them for the incredible experience. Needless to say, the opinions expressed in this post remain my own.
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I love Buenos Aires. There are so many things to do in Buenos Aires that a lifetime wouldn’t be enough for me to go through them. So much I love it, that after having been there three times I realized that I could live there. I feel incredibly comfortable there – perhaps the fact that I speak Spanish fluently and that I can easily pass for Argentinian helps a bit (interestingly enough, the only other place where this regularly happens is Tel Aviv!).
This is to say, I think visiting Argentina without taking the time to properly explore Buenos Aires (or Baires, as the Porteños call it) would take out from the overall experience of the country.
Check out my posts A Guide To The Greatest Things To Do In Argentina and A Flash Pack’s Argentina Itinerary for a more complete guide about the country.
Buenos Aires is the beating heart of Argentina, not to mention its political, economic and cultural centre. It’s a city that offers a lot in terms of places to visit and activities. It’s as charming as the most beautiful European capitals (they even call it “the Paris of South America”), but it has that warm, welcoming vibe that only South American cities have. It’s easy to fall in love with it.
For more about the actual Paris and other cities to visit in France, read my posts “33 Incredible Places To Visit In Paris” and “A Guide To The 5 Best Cities To Visit In France.”
On any given tour of Buenos Aires you’ll notice that this is a city where old meets new – right next door: gorgeous colonial buildings sit right next to modern skyscrapers. There are some beautiful city parks, and so many museums. The large boulevards give way to tiny cobbled alleys – as in many other cities in South America.
There are many cafés where the locals enjoy drinking coffee and eat medialunas (a medialuna is pretty similar to a small croissant); there are a multitude of bars and clubs; milongas to practice tango; restaurants and budget eateries; boutiques and flea markets. And since Argentinians are literally obsessed with futból, the Bombonera is the ultimate place to enjoy a great football match.
In this post, I highlight everything you should do in Buenos Aires that is fun, budget friendly and that is simply unmissable.
These are some of the best guided tours of Buenos Aires:
You may also want to opt for this hop-on, hop-off tourist bus tour that will take you around the main landmarks in town.
Walking along the busy Microcentro is one of the things to do in Buenos Aires
32 Great Things To Do In Buenos Aires
Walk around Microcentro
One of the unmissable things to do in Buenos Aires is to walk in its the commercial heart. This is where the trendy locals can be seen in the morning, all dressed up on their way to work or jumping from one business meeting to the other. The main street here is Avenida Corrientes – probably one of the longest streets in town as it runs all the way from Puerto Madero to Chacarita, where you’ll find a lesser-known (yet interesting to explore) cemetery, the largest in Argentina. This large avenue is named after the city that first supported the country’s independence.
It’s not the most charming area of the city – all large boulevards and crossroads. But here, you’ll get to see the famous Obelisco, and the building of the Ministry of Health, which has a huge steel image of Eva Peron on both its north and south side.
Spend some time in Plaza de Mayo
Not too far, exploring Plaza de Mayo is another must-do in Buenos Aires, not only because it is splendid, but also for its symbolic value. At the center of the square, the Pirámide de Mayo is the oldest national monument in the city, whose construction was ordered in 1811 to celebrate the Mayo Revolution.
But there’s more. You see, I am a former human rights lawyer, so to me visiting the square where the mothers of the desaparecidos – the victims of the Argentinian dictatorship – meet regularly to demand justice for the victims of the regime and to protest against the violations of human rights committed by the dictatorship is almost a rite of passage.
I happened there during the demonstrations a few times, and it is a touching, intense experience. If you have an opportunity, join a demonstration: is what to do in Buenos Aires if you care about human rights.
One of the symbols of Buenos Aires, the Casa Rosada is a must-see
Visit the Catedral Metropolitana and the Casa Rosada
Right in front of Plaza de Mayo there are the beautiful Catedral Metropolitana and the Casa Rosada, one of the symbols of Buenos Aires! Casa Rosada is the seat of the Argentinian President, and the political heart of the city. There often are some interesting art exhibit in the garden, and during the summer months people enjoy eating their lunch in the park right outside. This is one of the most sights in Buenos Aires.
Attend Opera at Teatro Colón
For a different night out, attend an opera show at Teatro Colón, considered to be one of the best opera houses in the world by National Geographic. If you just want to visit the splendid theater – which opened in May 1908 – you can go on a guided tour. Tours in English run daily at 11:00 am, 1:00 and 3:00 pm; they last 50 minutes and cost 1400 Argentine Pesos (around $20 USD).
Pass by Plaza San Martin
This is one of the city’s oldest squares and chances are you will pass by it at least once when in town. It’s where a battle against the British invasion took place in 1807. It’s named after the general who took a major role in the country’s fight for independence.
Admire Palacio Barolo
Located in Monserrat neighborhood, this building was designed for businessman Barolo by Italian architect Mario Palanti. It was inaugurated in 1923, and back then it was the tallest building in South America. Make sure to observe the references to Dante’s Divine Comedy in the architecture, beginning with the division of the building into three sections – heaven, hell and purgatory. The twin building is Palacio Salvo and it is one of the most notable buildings in Montevideo.
Browsing the stalls at Feria de San Telmo
Shop at the Feria de San Telmo
The most charming barrios of Buenos Aires are San Telmo and La Boca. San Telmo used to be somewhat a posh area where the rich used to live but then, after an epidemic of yellow fever in 1870, they moved to Recoleta. In the last few years, it has become an incredibly popular place to hang out, packed with artists and bohémien. It is known for its Sunday antiques market and for the lively Feria de San Telmo (the local market).
Walking around San Telmo, especially on Sundays during the feria, is one of the unmissable and fun things to do in Buenos Aires (and there are lots of good shopping opportunities). The area has a good local feel, there isn’t as much traffic as in the center of town. And if you hang around long enough, you can even see a tango show in Plaza Dorrego.
GOOD TO KNOW: A truly cool place to visit in San Telmo is El Zanjón de Granados. It’s a series of tunnels, cisterns built in the mid 18th century built above a river tributary to fend for what later on became the city’s latest settlement. You can go on guided tours from Mondays to Fridays and on Sundays. They last 50 minutes and cost 1000 Argentine Pesos (little over $14 USD) and for English speakers start at 12:00, 2:00 and 3:00 pm.
Visit Costanera Sur Ecological Reserve
One of the best things to do in Buenos Aires, and particularly family-friendly if you want to spend some time busy in outdoor activities, is heading to this reserve which – despite being located near the center of town – will give you a respite from chaos. Close to Puerto Madero (you can see the high rise building from there), you will find several walking trails and three lagoons, and lots of opportunities to admire wildlife and local flora.
The area was declared a reserve in 1986 and it was recognized as an Important Bird Area by BirdLife International in 2005.
GOOD TO KNOW: Another nice garden to visit in Buenos Aires is Paseo el Rosedal, a 4 hectares garden where you will be able to admire a multitude of roses. It’s located in Avenida Presidente Pedro Montt and it is free to visit.
Visiting La Boca is one of the unmissable things to do in Buenos Aires
Go to La Boca
La Boca is a major tourist attraction with its colorful and iconic Caminito and a must-visit. Walking a bit more into it, there are some interesting finds too. Besides, La Boca is where the Bombonera, Boca Juniors impressive stadium, is located. It’s one of those places in Buenos Aires you shouldn’t miss, but keep in mind that, aside from the few streets that are packed with tourists such as Caminito, this tends to be a dodgy area – even locals will warn you to steer away from the non-touristy areas.
You can book a guided walking tour of La Boca in English here.
Visit Recoleta Cemetery
Visiting Recoleta is one of the most pleasant things to do in Buenos Aires. This is where the wealthy locals moved after the yellow fever epidemic of 1870. I particularly enjoy Avenida Alvear with its villas and shops. Recoleta is also home to the famous historic Cementerio de Recoleta, where lots of famous Argentinians are buried – first and foremost Evita Peron.
You can take a guided tour of Recoleta Cemetery if you want to make sense of all the tombs. Book it here.
Visit El Ateneo Grand Splendid bookshop
If you are looking for more unique things to do, head to this incredible bookshop located in Recoleta. Often referred to as the world’s most beautiful bookstore, you will quickly realize this ought to be true! A master of 20th century craftsmanship, the building was actually inaugurated as a theater in 1919, and became a bookstore only at the beginning of the 21st century. If you are into photography, you will have a blast here thanks to the great lighting.
Things you come across when walking around town!
Walk around Palermo
This part of the capital is a good place to hang out and walk around. It gets crowded on Sundays, when locals go to one of the many parks and they can be seen drinking their mate – a bitter infusion made of yerba mate which they love (they even take the thermos, mate and cup and bombilla, which is the straw they use to drink it, on their travels!). Personally I never acquired a taste for mate, but the social experience of sharing it is one of the nicest things to do in Buenos Aires.
The Floralis Genérica is a must-see
Marvel at the Floralis Genérica
Located in Plaza Naciones Unidas, this massive metal flower sculpture became a symbol of the city and a gift by artist Eduardo Catalano. It was created in 2002 and placed at the center of a beautiful park. The statue, which is 23 meters high, is designed so that the petals open every morning at 8:00 am and closes at sunset, so if you pass by at different times you will have a different perspective.
Walk along the river in Puerto Madero
I am a Puerto Madero kind of girl and that is where I love to go for a walk any time I am in Buenos Aires. Lots of locals enjoy running along the waterfront. There are excellent restaurants and pubs along the river, and some interesting art galleries. It’s one of the coolest places in Buenos Aires.
Puente de la Mujer, in Puerto Madero, is a must see
Admire the Puente de la Mujer
The famous Puente de la Mujer, a bridge planned by architect Calatrava, is Puerto Madero’s trademark and an unmissable sight. Make sure to stop for a photo. Going to see it at night, when it is beautifully illuminated, is one of the top things to do in Buenos Aires.
Visit the Museo de Bellas Artes and Museum of Latin American Art
When the weather is not good, one of the nicest things to do in Buenos Aires is visiting the museums. I recommend going to the Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes, whose exhibit includes pieces of painters such as Renoir, Monet, Picasso and Gauguin; the Museum of Modern Art and the excellent Museum of Latin American Art (MALBA).
MALBA is located in a beautiful modern building in Palermo neighborhood. It has a collection of pieces by the most prominent contemporary and historical artists of Latin America, such as Frida Kahlo. There are occasional temporary exhibitions which are very interesting.
GOOD TO KNOW: Another cool museum to visit is the Museum of Decorative Arts of Quinquela Martín, which is located in what was once the house of the painter which gives it its name, in the area of La Boca.
Fun during a street art tour
Take a street art tour of Palermo
Buenos Aires is thriving with street art. The best place to see interesting street art pieces is Palermo Hollywood. I recommend going on a guided tour, with a good guide that will explain the historical, social and political reasons behind each mural; the technique used and who will put everything in context to give you a better understanding of Argentinian history and way of life.
These are some of the best street art tours of Buenos Aires:
GOOD TO KNOW: The best street art tours in town are given by Graffitimundo, with tours guided by local street artists and the organization run by a non-profit with the aim of supporting this form of art.
Hang out in Plaza Serrano
Plaza Serrano is in the heart of Palermo Hollywood. It’s a lovely, airy square surrounded by nice cafés, pubs and lots of shops, and there is a market at weekends where you can buy lots of nice souvenirs at a real steal. It’s a nice place to hang out – allegedly, one of the most local things to do in Buenos Aires.
Enjoying an icy cold craft beer is one of the things to do in Buenos Aires in the summer
Enjoy a craft beer
During my first trip to Argentina, I missed having a good craft beer. Things changed since then and now Buenos Aires is packed with excellent breweries. Some chain ones like Patagonia can be found all over the country. Others are smaller. Either way, having a good craft beer is one of the things to do in Buenos Aires. If you happen to be there in the summer, you’ll literally find them one after the other, each packed with a good mix of locals and tourists. It’s fun!
A good place to get Malbec!
Or a glass of Malbec
Malbec is produced in the region of Mendoza, where you can visit the various vineyards and go on wine tasting tours. If you don’t have time to go to Mendoza, the next best thing is to find a good winery in Buenos Aires and pick a good bottle. It’s best done in good company and with a good steak!
GOOD TO KNOW: Argentina’s favorite after meal drink is Fernet. And the most popular cocktail is Fernet and Cola.
Tango in Plaza Dorrego, San Telmo
Dance tango in a Milonga
Buenos Aires is (together with Montevideo) one of the birthplaces of tango. I am not a dancer at all, but I find tango incredibly sensual and passionate and I enjoy watching the shows. There are many milongas in Buenos Aires – places where tango is danced.
Some are so famous that they are more like theaters and even require advanced bookings – such is Café Tortoni for example; others are smaller and give a much more intimate feel. I like it either way. Needless to say, watching a tango show is one of the unmissable things to do in Buenos Aires.
Other good places to go for a tango show are La Viruta and Café Angelito.
You can even take a private tango class.
GOOD TO KNOW: If you are looking for something more modern, look for a boliche (nightclub). The best boliches in town are Bayside, in Punta Carrasco, Rose in Rio, on Rafael Obligado, Jet Lounge, also on Obligado. Crobar, on Avenica Cnel. Marcelino E. Freyre, and Niceto, on Niceto Vega, are also good options. Don’t bother showing up before 2:00 am!
Watch a fútbol match at La Bombonera
I have always been under the impression that nobody could be more obsessed with football than the Italians, or the Spaniards. Then I went to Argentina and realized Italians are amateurs. People in Argentina take fútbol really seriously and the best way to understand how importantly they take it is to watch a game with them.
And for an even better experience, watch one live at Bombonera, the famous stadium in La Boca – not far from El Caminito. Here, the vibe is incredible, lively. For a real treat, try to get a ticket for the superclásico – Boca Juniors v. River Plate. It’s one of the coolest things to do in Buenos Aires.
If you aren’t in Buenos Aires during the championship, you can still opt for a guided tour of the stadium. Here are a couple of good options:
There even is a Diego Armando Maradona themed tour. You can book it here.
Watching a polo match is one of the things to do in Buenos Aires
Watch a polo match
Did you know that one of the national sports of Argentina is polo? You can go for a lesson, though I should warn you it is very expensive. Alternatively, you can go to a polo match at Campo Argentino de Polo. Games usually take place between September and November.
These tours all include polo lessons:
Eat a good asado
Vegans and vegetarians have a hard life in Argentina (though watch this space, there is an increasing trend in restaurants that only serve vegan and vegetarian food in Buenos Aires). As a proper capital, Buenos Aires has an incredible array of excellent restaurants. Fine Italian dining, sushi, pizzerias, Vietnamese food – name it: Buenos Aires has it all.
Yet, one of the best things to do in Buenos Aires, and that the locals truly enjoy, is eating a proper asado, a mixed grill with several kinds of meat: from the unmissable beef (the favorite local cut is bife de chorizo) to chicken, pork and lamb. Those who enjoy meat should never leave Buenos Aires without having tried it.
There are plenty of restaurants around town where to have asado. Locals typically go to places called “bodegon” – which are a bit cheaper than the restaurants tourists seem to prefer. A good bodegon usually serves other traditional dishes too, such as milanesa – a dish of breaded then fried meat that the Argentinians inherited from their Italian ancestors.
Trying empanadas is a must in Buenos Aires
Gorge on empanadas
Few things are as delicious and as satisfying as empanadas, and eating them is what to do in Buenos Aires if you are craving comfort food. These are made with a bready kind of dough which is then filled with a variety of things – they can be nice and simple such as the ones with ham and cheese; they can have chicken and onions; beef and there even are vegetarian versions with eggplant, zucchini and pumpkin.
Locals can distinguish the various kinds by the way they are closed. I haven’t been able to learn yet! My favorite place to eat empanadas is in San Telmo Market, at La Panaderia. There is always a line, but it’s worth waiting. Accompany with a cold beer for even better results.
Try dulche de leche and alfajores
I may be killed next time I am in Buenos Aires, but I admit I actually do not really like dulche de leche – a very thick, sticky spread made with condensed milk and heaps of sugar. Besides, I am lactose intolerant so I really can’t eat it. Having said so, locals swear by it, and enjoy alfajores – a cookie sandwich with dulce de leche in the center. Trying it is one of the things to do in Buenos Aires.
Have dinner at Peron Peron
This is more than a restaurant: it’s a proper cultural experience. This nice restaurant opened a few years ago in Palermo Hollywood. It’s (obviously) run by Peronistas – supporters and fans of this prominent political figure. Inside, there are photos of Evita and Juan Peron anywhere – but rather than feeling overwhelming, you’ll feel entertained and actually, the place is very cozy.
At about every hour a song is played, the Peronistas anthem, and all locals sing it. It’s quite a show. Oh and food is actually delicious (I tried the empanadas de ossobuco and the milanesa), portions are generous and the prices reasonable. Make sure to reserve a table if you go with friends.
GOOD TO KNOW: Another really cool place to enjoy a glass of wine, eat local food and generally chill in a sophisticated atmosphere is Floreria Atlántico, located on Arroyo 872.
Spend a night at The Argentine Experience
If you want to learn a bit more about Argentinian culture in a fun way and while eating delicious food, spending a night at The Argentine Experience is one of the unmissable things to do in Buenos Aires.
The lovely hosts will introduce you to local sign language and basic slang; they’ll teach you how to prepare excellent empanadas; and they’ll help you order the best steak you’ll have in Buenos Aires. All of this while pouring excellent wine into your glass.
You can book The Argentine Experience here.
Experience the life of a gaucho
If you like horses and the idea of getting out of the city, one of the things to do in Buenos Aires is going on a gaucho experience. You’ll go riding, enjoy a fabulous meal and drink lots of wine in a gorgeous setting.
These are some good gaucho experiences:
El Tigre is a lovely place for a day trip
Get out of town in El Tigre
Buenos Aires does get overwhelming, especially in the summer months when the heat is pretty much unbearable. One of the best things to do in Buenos Aires is getting out of town. I recommend going to El Tigre, a lovely small city at about 35 km from Buenos Aires, in Buenos Aires Province that can be reached on an easy train ride from Retiro train station and where it is possible to take boat tours around the river delta.
These are some of the best guided day trips to El Tigre
Spend your Sunday at Feria de Mataderos
One of the coolest things to do in Buenos Aires on a Sunday is going to the Feria de Mataderos. You will find it in the western borders of the city. The feria was founded 20 years ago in an area where slaughterhouses were located. Go there to experience traditional dances and costumes and a nice open air market, as well as delicious local street food.
The best way to get there is to hope on like E of the metro all the way to the western edge of the city and from there catch a taxi.
Go on a day trip to Colonia del Sacramento
This small city in Uruguay, which can be reached by a quick (1 hour) ferry ride, makes for a great day trip. Walking around Colonia feels like stepping back in time. Imagine beautiful cobbled alleys with flowers pouring outside gardens onto the streets; a gorgeous lighthouse with spectacular views over the Rio de la Plata, and vintage cars scattered around town. It’s no wonder that it is a UNESCO world heritage site.
These are some good day trips:
Check out my post “25 Cool Things To Do In Montevideo.”
GOOD TO KNOW: If you have the means to do it, you may also want to go on a day trip to Iguazu Falls. I honestly don’t recommend it as it deserves way more time, and it’s too costly to do it in just one day, but if you want you can book it here.
At San Telmo Market you’ll find local shops and lots of good food
Practical Information About Buenos Aires
Where to stay in Buenos Aires
There is an abundant choice of good places to stay in Buenos Aires. You should pick your place based on the kind of experience you want, and the area where you want to spend most of your time. I like Palermo, so I usually head there. Here is a short selection of places to stay in Buenos Aires:
Make sure to check out my post “A Complete Guide To Where To Stay In Buenos Aires.”
Getting in and around Buenos Aires
Buenos Aires has two airports. Ministro Pistarini International Airport and it is known as Ezeiza. It’s located at about 1 hour drive from the center of town, and very well connected to the rest of the world. Aeroparque Jorgue Newbery, locally known as Aeroparque, is located in Palermo and connects Buenos Aires to the rest of the country, though there also are some international flights.
To get from Ezeiza International Airport to Buenos Aires city center, you have the option of getting the Tienda Leon bus that takes you from the terminal to various stops around the center of town, from where you’ll have to walk to your accommodation, or take a taxi. Alternatively, you can take a taxi or book your airport transfer.
These are the best transfer services from the airport:
The best and cheapest way to move around Buenos Aires is by public transportation. Buses and subway are efficient and easy to use, and connect the various neighborhoods. You need to get a SUBTE card to be able to use the public transportation, and regularly top it up with credit.
Taxis are easy to get, and they aren’t expensive. Uber is illegal in Argentina, though some people still use it. It’s better if you actually download the app Cabify which allows you to order a cab telling you the price you’ll be paying by credit card. It’s very easy to use – it works pretty much like Uber.
Have you ever been to Buenos Aires? What are the things to do in Buenos Aires that you enjoyed the most?
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Puerto Madryn, Argentina is a major wildlife destination in South America. This a mid-sized town, located on the east coast of the country, in the province of Chubut – which is part of Patagonia – is one of the best places to visit in the country. I wholeheartedly recommend adding it to your Argentina itinerary.
Are you planning a trip to Argentina? Make sure to read my posts “A Guide To The Greatest Things To Do In Argentina” and “A Flash Pack’s Argentina Itinerary.”
Though Puerto Madryn has some beautiful beaches (don’t expect palm trees and clear turquoise waters – this is Patagonia after all, which is the contrary of tropical), the major attraction in this part of Argentina is the thriving marine life.
Between May and December Puerto Madryn is a great place to spot Southern Right Whales. On a lucky day you may be able to spot them from the shore. But even in the summer months, when it is not whale-watching season, there are plenty of things to do in Puerto Madryn. Indeed, a trip to the nearby Peninsula Valdés or to Punta Tombo, or even just a boat tour along the bay will provide endless opportunities to spot more species.
In this post, I highlight all the best things to do in Puerto Madryn, Argentina, and provide some practical tips to organize your trip there.
The penguin colony of Punta Tombo is a must
13 Fabulous Things To Do In Puerto Madryn, Argentina
Go whale watching
The first thing that comes to mind when thinking of Puerto Madryn is the Southern Right Whales. These can be seen in the winter and spring months, which in the southern hemisphere go from May to December. The peak season to spot them is between June and November (much like in South Africa), when whales come to the bay to give birth and teach their calves how to swim before moving to other parts of the ocean.
Whales can be spotted from the shore at El Doradillo beach, which is at about 30 minutes from the city. On a very lucky day you may even see them from the beach in town. Alternatively, you can opt for a boat tour for higher chances to spot these huge, beautiful animals.
These are the best whale watching tours in Puerto Madryn:
Go dolphin watching in Puerto Rawson
There’s nothing better than seeing dolphins in their natural environment (rather than at a dolphinarium, which is one of the most irresponsible things a tourist can do).
Care to become a more responsible traveler? Check out my post “The Complete Guide To Becoming A More Responsible Traveler.”
Puerto Madryn is a fantastic place to admire Commerson’s dolphins. These are black and white dolphins often called “panda dolphins” or “skunk dolphins.” They are smaller than the typical dolphin and are only found in this part of the world. Boat tours to go dolphin watching usually take place in Puerto Rawson and Golfo Nuevo.
Tours normally last around 90 minutes, and you’ll get to see dolphins playing and swimming near the boat (it’s like if they challenged it to play!), while the guide will be providing plenty of information about these mammals as well as other animals you may be spotting.
These cuties are fun to swim with!
Dive or snorkel with the sea lions
Though sea lions can get a bit aggressive when on land, they are truly cute when in the water. They can be seen in various spots around Puerto Madryn, but if you fancy snorkeling or even diving with them, head to Punta Loma where a colony of around 600 lives, protected from the orcas that also live along this coast.
Sea lions live in the area of Punta Loma year round – so you’ll have a chance to see them and swim with them regardless of the time of year you visit.
Lobo Larsen is the best company in town that organizes sea lion snorkeling or diving expeditions. These are some good tours that can be booked online:
Take a selfie with penguins – as long as you don’t get too close!
Visit the penguin colony in Punta Tombo
There’s little doubt that one of the top things to do in Puerto Madryn is visiting the penguin colony in Punta Tombo Natural Reserve. Once you get in the reserve, you’ll literally be surrounded by them. Guides will tell you not to walk in front of them or not to get too close to them – but worry not! There are so many, that chances are they will be the ones walking in front of you and you’ll have plenty of excellent photo opportunities.
The penguins you’ll see in Punta Tombo are the Magellanic ones. The best time to see them is between September and April, when they get to the are to mate and give birth. Depending on the time of year you visit, you’ll get to see lots of young (very cute) ones.
TIP: For as cute as they are, penguins have a very strong beak and they surely hurt when they bite! Avoid touching them or getting too close.
These are some excellent tours of Punta Tombo:
Explore Peninsula Valdes
One of the best places to spot wildlife near Puerto Madryn is Peninsula Valdes. There is a good reason that this is a UNESCO World Heritage Site! Located at around 77 km from town, a trip to Peninsula Valdes normally includes several stops to beaches in the area and to admire the colonies of elephant seals and the former lighthouse (now a hotel) of Punta Delgada. You’ll also see some penguins in Punta Norte (though not nearly as many as in Punta Tombo).
These are some of the best tours of Peninsula Valdes:
Not a tropical beach, but Puerto Pyramides is lovely
Hang out in Puerto Pyramides
Most people visit Puerto Pyramides during their day tour of Peninsula Valdes. However, this tiny town – no more than a village, really – which is surrounded by pyramid-shaped cliffs (hence its name) is a nice place to hang out for a day or two. It has a couple of cool bars and cafés, a super nice beach where it is safe to swim (and the water is actually quite warm in the summer) and it is a departing point for hikes and diving expeditions; not to mention it is an excellent whale watching location.
The only downside when you are at the beach is that – much like the rest of Patagonia – it is super windy here. So chances are you’ll be covered in sand.
Make sure to read my post “30 Things You Should Consider Before Traveling To Patagonia.”
Punta Loma Reserve is a nice place to visit
Visit Punta Loma Nature Reserve
Not far from Puerto Madryn there is a protected nature reserve with a large colony of sea lions, called Punta Loma. You can go snorkel or dive with them (as I have said before) but even you don’t, make sure to visit Punta Loma as it is the only permanent sea lion colony of South America, with around 600 lobos marinos (actually, this translates into sea wolves). These live in a beautiful pebble beach and you can see them from a lookout point.
These are some guided tours that go to Punta Loma:
There are a couple of good beaches in Puerto Madryn
Relax at the beach
Fair enough, Patagonia is hardly famous for its beaches. But if you visit in the peak of the summer, you may get some really hot days (it was 32 degrees Celsius when I visited Puerto Madryn) and then, the beaches in town will be more than enough to get a breath of fresh air and cool down. Besides, it is an excellent place to spot locals drinking mate, kite or windsurfing, or just relaxing.
Depending on when you go, you’ll be able to view a concert. Otherwise, there are plenty of bars, pubs and restaurants around.
Other than the one in town, the best beaches around Puerto Madryn are El Doradillo and Playa Parana.
Visit an estancia
Scattered around Patagonia there are many estancias (ranches). If you ask me, the best are the ones around Tierra del Fuego or around El Calafate. However, there are a few good ones also close to Puerto Madryn where you can enjoy a day admiring the local wildlife, horseback riding, checking out the livestock and having a fabulous asado. Among the best estancias in the area there are Estancia San José, Estancia Rincon Chico (which actually is in Peninsula Valdes) and Estancia San Lorenzo.
Are you going to Tierra del Fuego? Make sure to read my post “Everything You Need To Know About Ushuaia, Patagonia.” For more information about El Calafate, read my post “A Complete Guide To El Calafate, Argentina.”
Further out, one of the most popular ranches, Estancia San Lorenzo, will allow you to combine your visit with a trip to the penguin colonies. This tour goes to a local ranch and has the add on of El Pedral penguin colony.
Visit the Museo Provincial de Ciencias Naturales y Oceanografico
This small museum is a nice introduction to the nature and history of Puerto Madryn and Chubut. You’ll find plenty of information on the southern right whales found in this area; on other marine mammals and even on the history of the Welsh settlers who founded the town. It’s in one of the oldest buildings in town, a few minutes walk from the city center and admission is free – worth visiting.
Visit Trelew and Gaiman
Most of the towns in Chubut were founded by Welsh settlers. One of the nicest things to do in Puerto Madryn, Argentina, is taking a day trip to discover them. Trelew is at about one hour from Puerto Madryn
Trelew has an interesting paleontology museum (more about that later); whereas Gaiman is a farming village that was founded in the 1800s with plenty of historic buildings and even a lovely Welsh tea shop. If you crave a good cup of tea with bread, jam, cakes and what not, make sure to stop at the Casa de Te Ty Gwyn.
You can go to Trelew and Gaiman on a guided tour from Puerto Madryn. These are a couple of good options:
Visit the Museum of Paleontology Egidio Feruglio
The best place to see fossils in Patagonia is actually in Trelew, not far from Puerto Madryn, at the Paleontology Museum. There are a couple of different exhibitions and – depending on the time of your visit – you may even be able to see the largest dinosaur ever found – which was discovered near Trelew.
There are many excellent restaurants in Puerto Madryn, which is especially a great place to try the famous Argentine steaks or lambs (or even better asado). However, you’ll also find lots of seafood and Italian food options (much like in the rest of Argentina).
Among the best restaurants in Puerto Madryn, I recommend En Mis Fuegos, a lovely romantic spot – I didn’t visit on a date but my sister when with her (then boyfriend, now) husband and loved it. Another place to try is Cantina El Nautico, especially good for seafood (make sure to try the shrimps). Giuseppe is the best place for pizza and pasta at reasonable prices.
A view of town from the sea
Practical Information To Organize Your Trip To Puerto Madryn, Argentina
Where to stay in Puerto Madryn
There are a few good places to stay in Puerto Madryn, for all tastes and budget. I opted to stay at a hostel when I visited, and had a fantastic experience meeting people I am still friends with. Alternatively, there are some good hotels and even small apartments you can rent.
This is a selection of the best places to stay in town:
When to visit Puerto Madryn
Any time is a good time to visit Puerto Madryn, and no matter when you go you’ll be able to see beautiful wildlife. Having said so, do organize your trip in time to see the animals you are more keen on. Whales are best seen between May and December, whereas penguins between September and April. Elephant seals can be seen year round.
How to get to Puerto Madryn
The easiest and fastest way to get to Puerto Madryn is to fly to Trelew, which is at about 55 km, and then take the bus or a private shuttle. You can book your airport transfer here.
Alternatively, you can fly to Bahia Blanca and then take the bus (it’s around 10 hours), or bus it all the way from Buenos Aires (around 20 hours). There are also daily buses to El Calafate. The trips are very long, but at least the buses are very comfortable.
Are you also visiting Buenos Aires? Make sure to read my posts “25 Unmissable Things To Do In Buenos Aires” and “A Complete Guide To Where To Stay In Buenos Aires.”
How to move around Puerto Madryn and Chubut
You may want to rent a car for the duration of your stay in the area, but car rental in Argentina can be quite tricky, with lots of restrictions on the distances you can cover. Anyways, the best thing is to enquire. You can do so here.
Alternatively, the best way to around is to join the guided tours that regularly leave from town.
Guided tours of Argentina that also go to Puerto Madryn
If you prefer leaving the organization bits to the experts, you may want to join a guided tour of Argentina. There are some very good ones that also go to Puerto Madryn.
Other useful information
As with any other place you may be visiting, make sure to get a good insurance before your trip. You can do so here. Don’t forget to read my post “Why You Need A Good Travel Insurance.”
For more readings about Puerto Madryn and Argentina, you may consult one of these books:
Finally, make sure to check out my post “Hiking Gear And More: The Perfect Patagonia Packing List.”
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El Chalten is – quite simply – one of the places you should never skip during a trip to Argentina. This tiny town considered to be a climbing paradise counts around 1600 inhabitants, though apparently no more than 400 people live there year round. The population inevitably swells with the presence of tourists in the summer months – they travel all the way to this remote location as it is the getaway to some of the best hikes in Patagonia.
Make sure to check out my posts “A Flash Pack’s Argentina Itinerary” and “A Guide To The Greatest Things To Do In Argentina.”
The name El Chalten means “smoking mountain” in the Aoniken language, and it used to be the actual name of Mount Fitz Roy, referring tot he clouds that normally forma round the peaks in the region. The town was founded in 1985 to keep watch of an area that was highly disputed between Argentina and Chile.
In this post, I highlight all the things that you should see and do in El Chalten, and share some tips to make the most of this incredible place.
There’s little doubt that hiking is the best thing to do in El Chalten
10 Things To See And Do In El Chalten
Hike to the Condor Lookout
El Chalten is all about hiking, and you should head out on a trail as soon as you get there. The walk to the Condor look out is an easy one, with a gradual yet steady ascent but very short (no more than 2 km there and back). With the incredible views of the mountains and Lake Viedma, this is the perfect introduction to what this part of Patagonia has to offer.
The trail is at the southern entrance of town. The best time of day to hike to the Condor Lookout is sunrise, when you have a chance to admire the peaks glow in a beautiful, pink light. However, it’s also a great walk to do if you have a couple of hours to kill when you have just arrived in El Chalten, Patagonia, and don’t have enough time for a longer hike.
The hike to Laguna Torre is one of the best you can start from El Chalten
Hike to Laguna Torre
The hike to Laguna Torre is one of the best you can do while in El Chalten. It’s a moderate trek that goes to the base of Cerro Torre, were you’ll get incredible views of the mountains.
The overall hike takes between 5 and 7 hours, depending on how often you stop and on whether or not you walk all the way to Mirador Maestri, from where you have even better views of the glaciers. The trail starts at the northern entrance of El Chalten, and it’s initially very steep for about 2 km, after which it becomes a very easy ascent. The only really difficult bit is the 2 km to Mirador Maestri, for the terrain is unsteady and the trail harder to follow.
Check out my post “A Complete Guide To Hiking To Laguna Torre.”
You can easily hike to Laguna Torre independently. If you’d rather join a guided hike, there are several that depart from El Chalten every day. These are the best ones:
The incredible view at Laguna de Los Tres is one of the best in El Chalten
Hike to Laguna de Los Tres
One of the absolutely unmissable things to do in El Chalten is hiking to Laguna de Los Tres, at the base of Mount Fitz Roy. This is one of the most rewarding hikes in Patagonia, with incredible views throughout – starting with those you get from Mirador Piedras Blancas and Laguna Capri, to those you finally have once you reach the lake.
There are two starting points to this trail: one is in town, at the northern side, and you’ll have to walk to the lake and back on the same trail; the other is at Hostaria El Pilar, at about 12 km north of town (you’ll need to get there by taxi, and the ride is about $1200 Argentinian Pesos), and after reaching the lagoon you’ll walk on the same trail that goes back to town.
It’s an easy to moderate hike for the most part. However, after Campamento Poincenot camping site, the hike becomes strenuous with a one km that goes all the way to the lake. This km is a steady 40% incline on rocky terrain, incredibly hard to walk up and just has hard to walk back down – making this one of the hardest hikes in the area of El Chalten.
For more information on the hike to Laguna de Los Tres, read my post “A Guide To Hiking Around Fitz Roy, In El Chalten.”
The trail to Laguna de Los Tres is very well marked and easy to follow and you can hike independently. If you like the idea of joining a group, several guided treks depart from El Chalten every day. These are some of them:
If you are toying with the idea of hiking Laguna de Los Tres and Laguna Torre together, you can actually go on a 2-day hiking tour. These are the best ones:
Hike the Huemul Circuit
Not far from El Chalten, the Huemul Circuit is one of the most incredible, yet challenging hikes in Patagonia. This hike will take the best of four days, during which you’ll have to cross river, climb over mountain passes, and camp – all in exchange for incredible views of the Southern Patagonia Ice Field.
Check out my post “Hiking In Patagonia: 16 Incredible Trails.”
Unlike the majority of hikes in Patagonia, you can’t walk this trail independently. In fact, the trail isn’t well marked and you will need a local guide to help you navigate the area, cross the river, etc. Make sure you are properly equipped for it, and ask for information in El Chalten before agreeing to do it. You can book your guided Huemul Circuit here.
Chorrillo del Salto is a must when in El Chalten!
Relax at Chorrillo del Salto
One of places you absolutely should not miss while in El Chalten, Patagonia, is Chorrillo del Salto. This beautiful waterfall has a series of small natural pools with crystal clear water – though the water, much like in the rest of Patagonia, is freezing. The views from there are absolutely splendid, and it’s a very quiet place too.
To get to Chorrillo del Salto, you have to follow the trail to Laguna de Los Tres from El Chalten, and once you get to the sign marking km 5 of the trail take a detour right. There is no real trail to get there, but it’s fairly easy and all you have to do is follow the roar of the water.
TIP: you can actually go to Chorrillo del Salto when hiking to Laguna de Los Tres. It’s a perfect place for a break!
Go on an ice trek on Viedma Glacier
Ice trekking is a lot of fun. The most popular place to do it in Argentina is Perito Moreno Glacier, near El Calafate. The good news is that you can actually do it elsewhere too – and closer to El Chalten. This is obviously not something you can do on your own – you need a guide that tells you exactly where to step, and a company that rents you all the gear you will need to walk on ice, such as crampons.
It’s a fun way to get a better understanding of the life and look of a glacier, and to listen to its cracks.
Curious to know what an ice trek is like? Check out my post “A Complete Guide To Perito Moreno Glacier.” If you are visiting El Calafate, also make sure to read my post “A Complete Guide To El Calafate.”
Visit La Leona Petrified Forest
The landscape of Patagonia is incredibly varied, and you can get a good idea of this if you visit La Leona Petrified Forest. At about half way between El Chalten and El Calafate, along Ruta 40, this is a place to admire beautiful dry and sandy rock formations, as well as the local wildlife (especially guanacos) and fossils.
You can only visit La Leona Petrified Forest on a guided tour, because it is located in private land. You can enquire in town to find out more.
In El Chalten, you can go running with the best views in the world!
Rafting isn’t the first thing that comes to mind when traveling to Patagonia, but it’s one of the most fun things to do in El Chalten. There, you can go white water rafting on rivers that are glacier tributaries and get a good dose of adrenaline. Several companies in El Chalten organize rafting expeditions on Rio de las Vueltas, on III and IV class rapids. You’ll be given all the equipment and there will be a photographer racing down the river on a kayak to snap photos of you.
Get a much deserved massage
Is there anything better than getting a massage after a long hike? (Well, ok, there is to me: a pint of cold beer – but more on that later). The good news is that El Chalten has a couple of spas where you can get a professional massage, spend some time in the sauna, in the jacuzzi, and even do cold therapy leg treatments which are very effecting into restoring you! The place to go is Spa Yaten.
Drink craft beer
Yes – one of the best things to do in El Chalten after a long hike is having a good beer. There is nothing better to restore your much needed salts and minerals. The good news is that despite being so small, El Chalten has a few good pubs where you can enjoy a craft beer. The even better news is that most of them observe some sort of happy hour, so your pint will turn out quite inexpensive.
The best place for a good beer in El Chalten is La Cerveceria. It’s a lovely pub that brews its own beer, with a nice beer garden and where you can also get very earthy portions of stews and other local specialties. In other words, it’s the place to go after a hike.
In El Chalten, you get incredible views throughout
Practical Information About El Chalten
When to visit El Chalten
Summer is by far the best time to visit El Chalten – make sure to go between the end of November and the end of March. If you prefer traveling in the shoulder season, you can head there in October or in April, but keep in mind that many businesses and even trails may be closed then. Make sure to call in advance to double check.
Do keep in mind that even in the summer months the weather in Patagonia remains unpredictable: you can expect wind, rain and in the worst case scenario even snow at any time. Make sure to check the weather before you head out. You can do so here.
Unless you have a very tight schedule, I suggest you stay in El Chalten for a week or more, so that you can wait for good weather conditions to hike to Laguna de Los Tres or Laguna Torre. Make sure to also pack adequately for your trip to Patagonia.
Make sure to read my post “30 Things You Should Consider Before Traveling To Patagonia” and make good use of my post “Hiking Gear And More: The Perfect Patagonia Packing List.”
Guided tours of Patagonia that also go to El Chalten
If you are tight on time, don’t feel like planning a trip around Patagonia but still want to go to El Chalten, it may be a good idea to consider a guided tour. This way, you’ll have a guide to help you navigate the trails, and someone that takes care of all the accommodation and transportation bookings.
These are some of the best tours of Patagonia that go to El Chalten:
How to get to El Chalten
The nearest airport to El Chalten is that of El Calafate, which has direct flights from Buenos Aires and Ushuaia via Aerolinas Argentina, and connecting flights from a number of other places in the country. It then takes about 3 hours to travel from El Calafate to El Chalten.
There are regular buses between El Calafate and El Chalten. These depart from the main terminal, on Julio Argentino Roca in El Calafate, at 8:00 am and 6:00 pm and, during peak season, also at 1:00 pm. The best companies are Chalten Travel and Caltur. A one way bus ride costs around $20.
If you like the idea of having your own car, make sure to pick a car at El Calafate airport. Check out the prices of car rental here. Keep in mind that the only place you can stop along the way for fuel, toilets and food is Estancia La Leona. Quite frankly, the food is so bad that you may as well skip that.
The incredible views at Laguna Torre
ATMs in El Chalten
I wholeheartedly recommend you plan your trip to El Chalten and budget for it in advance as much as possible, and withdraw cash in El Calafate, before arriving. There are only two ATMs in town, located by the bus terminal. With the amount of visitors, these are often out of money and out of service. Cash is king in El Chalten, so budget your cash wisely.
Internet in El Chalten
Internet is hardly a thing in El Chalten. Even the best of the Argertinian SIM cards will get you any service, and though most hotels and restaurants have wifi, the service is inconsistent at best. Make sure to warn family and friends before going; set up an out of office reply in case someone tries to reach you for work reasons; and by all means do not schedule work conferences or e-meetings while you are there – you’ll spend most of the time being frustrated for the poor service while you should actually be hiking!
Where to stay and eat in El Chalten
El Chalten has some good accommodation options and a few good restaurants and breweries. Most places are closed between the end of April and the beginning of October.
These are some of the best places to stay in El Chalten:
Most bars, restaurants and bars in El Chalten offer happy hour and usually get packed between 5:00 and 8:00 pm, when people come back after a day of hiking. These are the best places grab a bite in El Chalten:
- Maffìa – a simple eatery where you may have to share your table with other people. They still make home made pasta and sauces. Good enough even for Italians, it has earthy portions and fair prices.
- Ahonikenk – at the entrance of town, it offers Argentine staples such as milanesa with very big portions and fair prices.
- Curcuma – the only completely vegan restaurant in town.
- La Vineria – excellent place for draft beers and wines.
- Cerveceria Artesanal – the best pub and brewery in El Chalten.
- Mathilda – a lovely café with refreshing salads and drinks.
Other useful information
Make sure to get a good travel insurance for your trip to Patagonia. Click here to get a good insurance deal.
Have you been to El Chalten? What did you like the most about it?
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