El Calafate, 3-4 days, what to do??

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El Calafate, 3-4 days, what to do??

Postby gardenpro_ca » Thu Nov 10, 2011 1:26 am

I have really only 3 full days here, and signed up for a tour that basically only visits the Moreno Glacier.
In such a short period- can I squeeze anything else in? This is January.
This was a last minute space filler- and while amazing, I think there MUST be something better to see! Torres del Paine, sadly not enough time! Thanks.
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Re: El Calafate, 3-4 days, what to do??

Postby Zuleika » Thu Nov 10, 2011 3:24 pm

Something better to see ?????? This glacier is absolutely outstanding. Probably the best example.
Its massive for one thing and there is a land mass very close opposite from where you can watch it rupturing (calving) - amazing photo opps. Also you can hike on it with crampons, climb it with ice picks and go in its ice caves, drink whisky/pisco sours with glacier ice in it, and boat ride to the edge!

Also from Calafate there are heaps of walking opportunities, you are in a National Park and the whole area is beautiful. It can be very cold/windy even in Jan so take layers. nearby Fitzoy massive is also stunning.
Here are some other ideas:
http://www.tripadvisor.co.uk/Attraction ... gonia.html
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Re: El Calafate, 3-4 days, what to do??

Postby thecakeisalie » Thu Nov 10, 2011 4:15 pm

What tour did you sign up for? I would recommend the Big Ice Trek that actually gets you on the glacier, unless that's not your thing or if you've already done some glacier hiking before. Otherwise, I could still spend an entire day there taking pictures as the light changes and waiting for it to calve (sadly, this didn't happen on my visit, not really disappointing but I was anticipating this!).

For the remaining days head up to El Chalten (where Fitzroy is located, as previously mentioned). Roughly 3 hours by bus. There are lots of hikes to do in this region, all of them worthwhile. The town is pretty neat in the sense that it was established primarily for trekkers/climbers going to Fitzroy (and potentially as a land grab on disputed border territory, but I digress...) and as such all hikes start from the edge of town, no driving required! Rent some gear and camp for free or just get a bed at a hostel. Meet lots of other people doing the exact same thing.
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Re: El Calafate, 3-4 days, what to do??

Postby gardenpro_ca » Thu Nov 10, 2011 4:47 pm

Thank you, yes "better" wasn't at all what I meant! Other would have done it.
The GAP trip is 4 days for over $700 including a tour and hotel (arrive one day, tour one day, then free time for the remainder!!!)
I was just hoping to do other things in this area and will look up Fitzroy and El Chalten. Thanks!
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Re: El Calafate, 3-4 days, what to do??

Postby TravelFun » Thu Nov 10, 2011 6:12 pm

I second Zuleika. You will be seeing THE BEST thing there and the glacier is amazing...just reminiscing brings a smile to me. El Calafate and El Chalten will keep you busy for 4 days without a problem and you might even find that you've run out of time :P

You'll have an absolute blast.

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Re: El Calafate, 3-4 days, what to do??

Postby gardenpro_ca » Thu Nov 10, 2011 10:38 pm

Hmm, how likely would it be to get from El Calafate to Fitzroy, and back to El Calafate in one day?
I'm not worried about seeing El Chalten town itself as much as seeing those beautiful spire like mountains!
I gather it's a rush, but my schedule doesn't permit much time. Thanks.
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Re: El Calafate, 3-4 days, what to do??

Postby thecakeisalie » Fri Nov 11, 2011 1:01 pm

That's good that you're not worried about seeing the town, because there isn't anything to do in the town itself, and it's tiny anyway, you can walk across it in about 15 minutes. But getting there and back and actually hiking to a vantage point to see Fitzroy in one day may be pushing it. In order to see Fitzroy or Cerro Torre you have to first hike out of the village, about 45 minutes to an hour if I remember correctly on the Laguna de Los Tres trail (not sure about the one to Cerro Torre but it is probably similar). So let's say you arrived on a bus at noon, and the departure back to El Calafate was 3pm, you would have 3 hours to do at least 2 hours of hiking (spitballing here, hour and change to get to the viewpoint, 45 minutes down, a few minutes of planning and wayfinding, and a few to get your bearings), maybe get some lunch... all to spend a couple of minutes looking at the mountains. Or should I say, maybe looking at the mountains. The weather is entirely unpredicatable, and there is a very real chance that clouds envelope the peaks and obstruct them from your view, or rain washes the whole day out.

Is it doable? Probably. Will it be fun? That's up to you. Who knows, it might work out perfectly and you get great weather and make the most out of your time. But it could also turn into a very long day of travel without any real rewards. Personally, going up and back in one day would not be enough for me. If I was spending the night in El Chalten it would be worth it to me as I could get at least one long distance hike in. Good luck with your decision. As mentioned, I'm sure you will find some good hiking or something fun to do where ever you end up in the region.
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Re: El Calafate, 3-4 days, what to do??

Postby gardenpro_ca » Fri Nov 11, 2011 10:06 pm

Thanks for the tips there.
I think I will try to switch trips, as there definitely is more to see in Patagonia than what I can possibly see in El Calafate!! Means I need to go back and spend some serious time.
Now I need to find a way to spend 4 days between BA and La Paz (I'm not much for cities, and have seen Puno area previously!)...
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