Patagonia: The Argentina Side

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Two spectacular destinations to visit in Argentine Patagonia are the Perito Moreno Glacier, a 19-mile-long ice mass, and Mount Fitz Roy, a trekker’s paradise known for its spiky granite towers.

The way to get to both the Perito Moreno Glacier and Mount Fitz Roy is to fly to the small tourist town of El Calafate. It’s a three-hour flight from Buenos Aires. Otherwise, El Calafate is a six-hour drive from Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park. An hour from El Calafate is Perito Moreno Glacier, in Glaciers National Park, a unesco World Heritage site. Easy walkways take travelers right up to the face of the glacier. (Seeing a glacier in Chilean Patagonia, by comparison, requires a boat ride or a several-hour hike.) A two-hour guided ice walk on the glacier while wearing crampons can be arranged from August to May. There are also boat rides to the park’s other glaciers, such as Upsala and Spegazzini.

El Calafate, on the southern shore of Argentina’s biggest lake, Argentino Lake, is home to backpacker hostels and a couple of three and four-star hotels. Head instead 25 minutes into the countryside to Eolo lodge (rooms from $770; Ruta Provincial 11, km. 23; 54-11/4700-0075; Of its 17 rooms, book a Corner Suite. Stays here can be combined with a night at Estancia Cristina (rooms from $7,280; Av. Libertador 1037; 54/2902-491133;, a 20-room former ranch reached by a three-hour boat ride.

A three-and-a-half-hour drive north of El Calafate is the hiking capital, El Chaltén, a village backing up to Mount Fitz Roy. The town is a base camp for the world’s top climbers, but there are also more accessible hiking trails, such as the popular full-day trek to Cerro Torre. Los Cerros (rooms from $160; San Martin 260; 54-11/ 5236-9092; is an acceptable boutique hotel in El Chaltén with views of its town and mountains.