Blogs from El Calafate, Santa Cruz, Argentina, South America


South America » Argentina » Santa Cruz » El Calafate January 28th 2019

This morning we fly 350 miles north to El Calafate, a town on the edge of the Patagonian ice field. We arrive at the airport in plenty of time, which is good because it is now that we learn that Aerolineas Argentinas has a 15 kg luggage limit – not 23 kg as indicated on our booking form. After checking in, we have to wait in a long queue to pay our excess baggage fees. But first, the old man has an argument with the check in clerk, followed by an argument with the excess baggage clerk, rounded off with an argument with the supervisor. We board our flight, I’m hoping it’s calmer then our arrival when I genuinely thought I was going to star in the sequel to Alive! The next 3 weeks of our ... read more
Landing in El Calafate
Malvinas memorial
Flamingos on Lago Argentino

South America » Argentina » Santa Cruz » El Calafate October 16th 2018

Today was a bit of a rest day with just one activity planned. We woke up in time to have breakfast and finish packing our bags before checking out at 10am. We left our bags at the hotel for the day as we were informed last night that a driver would pick us up at 6:15pm for the airport transfer. The activity today was to visit the Glaciarium which is a museum dedicated to glaciers as suggested by its name. There is a complimentary mini-bus transfer that leaves on the hour. As we got there early we looked around a free open air museum dedicated to explorers of the Patagonian region with figures sculptured by an artist. It was also like a small botanical garden with typical plants and trees of the region. It was a ... read more

South America » Argentina » Santa Cruz » El Calafate October 15th 2018

Woke up at 5:15am, had breakfast and packed our bags and walked the 15 minutes to the bus station and got there at 6:30am. This gave me an hour to hike to the Mirador Los Condors for a view of El Chalten with the mountains behind. However, it didn’t look promising as the clouds hadn’t cleared and there was light rain, so pur first bit of bad luck concerning the weather. I still did the hike anyway and didn’t quite make it to the top as I was worried I wouldn’t make the bus in time and the weather hadn’t cleared so it wasn’t worthwhile. Oh well, you can’t win them all and at least we did sight Mt Fitzroy in silhouette last night. Our bus back to El Calafate stopped at the same rest stop ... read more

South America » Argentina » Santa Cruz » El Calafate October 13th 2018

Today is a travelling day. Woke up this morning at 7:15 and finished packing before walking to restaurant for breakfast. Our room 60 is the second last room on the western side and the restaurant is located at the extreme eastern side of the hotel so actually a bit of a walk as the hotel is long and skinny so that all rooms have a nice view. The bus left around 9:20 and had to back track towards Punta Arenas to reach the border crossing. We were traveling with Joseph, Marta, Darlene(Boston) , Angeliqua (Texas), Arnie and Benny from Israel. The bus stopped just before the border crossing at a cafeteria/tourist shop for about 60 minutes even though the driver told us 20-30 minutes. We were all looking for the driver but he had disappeared but ... read more

South America » Argentina » Santa Cruz » El Calafate April 19th 2018

Na een bewogen nacht in het hotel in Los Horquetas gaan we weer op weg. Het eerste stuk weg is kaarsrecht en we kunnen lekker doorrijden. Daarna snijden we een stuk af over een onverharde weg (70km), waar helemaal geen verkeer is. We passeren alleen een vrachtwagen met een enorme houten kist, die hebben we al eerder gezien. Wat erin zit, een dinosaurus, een olifant, we weten het niet. We rijden over kale heuvels en langs kleine meertjes, er zijn wel veel guanaco’s en struisvogels langs de kant. De struisvogels blijven soms dom voor de auto uithollen, wild slaand met hun vleugels.Af en toe passeren we een estancia, een grote boerderij, maar verder woont hier niemand. Als we weer op de hoofdweg komen houdt het asfalt al snel weer op en rijden we nog 72 kilometer ... read more
Niemand te zien
Wat zit er in de box?
De Andes komt in zicht

South America » Argentina » Santa Cruz » El Calafate February 4th 2018

Motorcycles move to the head of the line. No-one said it, but we were all thinking it (Ron, Marty and I) as we entered Glaciers National Park (Argentina) and rolled past large designated look out points full of buses and minivans over the 20 km between the entrance and the final position closest to the glacier. Forget the gradual buildup. Hit the point that you most want to see first. Then go slowly back. It worked like a charm. Crowds were thin when we reached the small parking area by the cafeteria and the metal walkways leading down to the glacier. Elated, we parked and advanced on the prize. What I had not realized is that visiting a glacier with men whose life's work is bound up in the dynamics of ice, water and rock, is ... read more
Glacier from the final parking spot
Glacier head on, with sign
The old riders of the purple sage

South America » Argentina » Santa Cruz » El Calafate February 3rd 2018

Ron and Marty had parked just off Ruta 40, and stood looking out over Lake Cardiel, an unusual feature in this flat dry land. All of a sudden with a roar and a wave of dust, and we were joined by a motorcycle tour. Four male riders of a certain (ie my) age, and a white pickup driven by a woman, who was somehow overseeing the Tour. They had subcontracted with Motoaventura (who had rented me my bike in Osorno) to provide them with BMW motorcycles and the follow vehicle. We greeted each other. They discovered we didn't speak German. We discovered they weren't much interested in speaking English, so we went back to talking to the group leader, Angela, who was fluent in both languages. The riders turned out to be Swiss and rich. Their ... read more
Machines at ready
Looking out at Lake Cardiel
Lenticular clouds of Lake Cardiel

South America » Argentina » Santa Cruz » El Calafate February 3rd 2018

When we reflect on our year away it could very well be that we enjoyed our 2 weeks in Argentina's Patagonia the most. The time we spent here was all about the landscapes and the isolated towns that we visited. Beginning in Bariloche, a town right on the northern edge of Patagonia, we immediately got a taste of what was to come. It was one of those places we knew we would love before we even stepped off the bus! Surrounded by lakes and snow capped mountains we couldn't wait to explore it's surrounds. And what better way than by cycling the Circuito Chico, a 25km loop around stunning lakes, mountains and forests. It wasn't long before our lack of fitness started to show. One of us may have had to get off the bike a ... read more
Incredible view of the Perito Moreno Glacier, El Calafate
Laguna Toncek at Refugio Frey, Bariloche
Our last view of Cerro Fitz Roy from the back window of a bus!

South America » Argentina » Santa Cruz » El Calafate December 27th 2017

Aujourd'hui je suis invité à connaître l'Estancia El Galpon del Glaciar. Superbes paysages, bien variés, avec la steppe (forcément), le Lago Argentino et un étang où il est possible d'observer les oiseaux et super accueil par Victoria. En plus, comme je suis tout seul, j'aurai droit à une promenade à cheval et une visite de l'Estancia en privatif. Après la promenade, Victoria me fait découvrir l'Estancia et la grange de tonte des moutons. Très belle matinée et quelques regrets de ne pas avoir proposé cette Estancia à mes clients... Pour ceux que ça intéresse, il est également possible de loger à l'Estancia. L'après-midi sera consacré à la découverte d´El Calafate et au repos car depuis le départ, je n'ai pas vraiment eu le temps de lever le pied.... read more
Paysage typique de Patagonie
Randonnée à cheval
Perdus dans la steppe

South America » Argentina » Santa Cruz » El Calafate December 26th 2017

Aujourd'hui, lever très matinal pour aller visiter l'Estancia Cristina, une des plus anciennes estancias de la région. Pour s'y rendre il faut traverser le Lago Argentino. La bonne nouvelle c'est que le bateau rapide est en panne et on aura droit à 8h de navigation sur le lac (4h à l'aller et 4h au retour) !!! La mauvaise nouvelle c'est qu'on va se taper 8h de navigation et on aura donc peu de temps sur place !!! Toutefois le trajet est intéressant car il permet d'observer plusieurs glaciers appartenant au champ de glace sud de Patagonie d'une longueur de 350 km et troisième calotte glaciaire au monde après l´Antarctique et le Groenland. Et puis, première pour moi, jaurai l'occasionde voir des icebergs de près... et le soleil est de la partie, ce qui ne gâche rien. ... read more
Lago Argentino
Lago Argentino
Lago Argentino

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