Portray of the Destination
It is an incredibly picturesque place, located at the foot of Mount Calafate and on the bank of Lago Argentino. El Calafate is at a distance of 315 km (196 miles) from Rio Gallegos, capital of the province of Santa Cruz. The typical buildings have sloping roofs, and the houses in the different neighbourhoods have similar characteristics. Contributing to the beauty of this place is the bright green vegetation, with different kinds of flowers, among which roses are outstanding, as well as the many trees and conifers that embellish the centre of this Tourist Village. Hospitality and expansive friendliness of its people are two characteristics of vital importance for the travelers.
We would like to thank the "Secretaría de Turismo" of the Province of Santa Cruz for the information and pictures provided.
Los Glaciares National Park is located on the Southern Andes of the Argentine territory, on the southwest of the province of Santa Cruz, by the border with Chile. Its name is derived from the presence of numerous glaciers originated in the great field of Patagonian Ice, the biggest layer of ice after Antarctica.
¿WHAT IS A GLACIER? It is a river of water in solid state, a mass of ice and snow in permanent flow, with a certain velocity according to its slope and volume. It is formed on the upper region of the mountain range by the accumulation of a great amount of snow on the area of the perennial snow (Continental Patagonian Ice). The formation process of the glacier ice –a bluish crystalline mass—is by the accumulation of successive snowfall that results in the liberation of air caused by its mere weight: from the “snow crystals” that fuse forming more compressed “granules” which turn into a dense mass, until it turns into a geoid when it reaches more transparency and hardness. The basic conditions are great snowfall and a mean annual temperature that makes the conservation of the snow possible.
The local climate is mainly dry and the wide temperature oscillations do not prevent from enjoying the different activities. Prevailing winds are from the West and Southwest. During the summer the wind is more frequent and strong. The average annual temperature is 7.2º C (45ºF) , and the average temperature of the month of July is around 1.8ºC (35ºF) and in January it is 18.6º C (65ºF).
When to go
Tourist seasons to visit the city are classified as:
Peak season, officially beginning in August and ending around April during the Holy Week. At this time of the year you will meet people coming from all around the world, even the remotest places.
The rest of the year is considered off-peak season including, for some establishments, the period of winter holidays, so it is recommended to check beforehand. However this does not mean you cannot enjoy recreational activities, events, excursions to the “Perito Moreno”, “Upsala”, “Onelli” and the rest of the Glaciers.
Long before the glacier age, some 9000 years ago, the forefathers of the “tehuelches” settlers arrived to this area from the north. When the white man discovered the coasts of Santa Cruz, there were many Patagonian aboriginal people. The 1889 census estimated 24,000, but in 1895 they were already only 5,500.
As to their general characteristics, we can mention: they had a very impressive appareance, an outstanding physical strength due to the permanent effort to survive in a hostile environment, typical of the aborigines of Santa Cruz. They showed solidarity, no ambitious, always ready to help those in need, including the first Spanish settlers.
Their religion had magical elements, their supreme god was Elal, whom they believed had created the animals and the indigenous people. In their social organization, the Chief was the maximum authority and the only one who had more than one wife. Fathers showed great affection for their children, and taught them how to ride horses, throw arrows and “boleadoras” (autochthonous hunting weapon made of big round stones tied at the end of a rope). They ate what they hunted, guanacos and choiques (ostriches), they gathered wild fruits, herbs, berries and seeds of which they made flour for their sustenance. They wore loincloths and covered their bodies with furs to go hunting, and they used to paint their faces, showing with different colours whether they were at war or peace.
Their dwelling: the tents were made with logs, stones and guanaco skins which they laid on the floor to sleep on. Nothing is left of the original inhabitants; they are completely extinct, except for a few descendants of mixed race.
“El Calafate” is named after a small bush, calafate (Magellan Barberry), which grows in the southern part of Patagonia. The locals state that anyone eating from the fruit will return for more. This could be true since those who have come to El Calafate wish that they never leave.
Tasting the local cuisine will give you an insight of the character and personality of the inhabitants. Patagonian dishes combine the coexistence of aborigine and European immigrants. Barbecued meats, local fish and seafood, smoked meats, autochthonous fruits jam and a first class patisserie will be offered to you. Taste its dishes and discover its people.
A wide range of white wines are produced in Patagonia, as well as red wines with an intense colour, fruity bouquet and delicious, all of them with an authentic and definite personality.
YES: si. NO: no. HELLO: hola. GOOD BYE: adios. GOOD MORNING: buenos días. GOOD AFTERNOON: buenas tardes. GOOD NIGHT: buenas noches. PLEASE: por favor. SORRY: lo siento. THANK YOU: gracias. DOCTOR: médico. PHARMACY: farmacia. NUMBERS: 1: un. 2: dos. 3: tres. 4: cuatro. 5: cinco. 6: seis. 7: siete. 8: ocho. 9: nueve. 10: diez. 11: once. 12: doce. 13: trece. 14: catorce. 15: quince. 16: dieciséis. 17: diecisiete. 18: dieciocho. 19: diecinueve. 20: veinte. 21: veintiuno. 22: veintidós. 30: treinta. 40: cuarenta. 50: cincuenta. 60: sesenta. 70: setenta. 80: ochenta. 90: noventa. 100: cien. 1000: mil. DAYS OF THE WEEK: MONDAY: lunes. TUESDAY: martes. WEDNESDAY: miércoles. THURSDAY: jueves. FRIDAY: viernes. SATURDAY: sábado. SUNDAY: domingo. COMMON WORDS: BIG/SMALL: grande/pequeño. HOT/COLD: caliente/frío. OPEN/CLOSED: abierto/cerrado. GOOD/BAD: bueno/malo. NEW/OLD: nuevo/viejo. PUSH/PULL: empujar/tirar. ENTRANCE/EXIT: entrada/salida. LADIES/GENTLEMEN: señoras/señores. FAR/NEAR: lejos/cerca. LEFT/RIGHT: izquierda/derecha. TAXI: taxi. BUS: autobús. MEALS: BREAKFAST: desayuno. LUNCH: comida. DINNER: cena. MENU: menú. WINES: vinos. DESSERT: postre. THE BILL: la cuenta. COMMON SENTENCES: DO YOU SPEAK ENGLISH?: ¿Habla inglés?. I DON'T UNDERSTAND: no entiendo. WHERE IS IT?: ¿donde está? HOW MUCH IS IT: ¿Cuánto es? WHAT TIME IS IT: ¿Qué hora es? COULD YOU HELP ME: ¿Puede ayudarme?
Though the legal currency is, of course, the Argentine Peso, being this city an international tourist destination it is possible to pay with U.S. Dollars or Euros in almost every shop. Some establishments also accept traveller’s cheques at bank rates and in some cases Chilean currency is also accepted. There are three banks at the city, where you can exchange different currencies, traveller’s cheques or operate with your bank accounts or credit card: Banco de la Provincia de Santa Cruz S.A. , BTF (Banco de Tierra del Fuego) and Banco Nación, from 10 AM to 3 PM. There is also a Foreign Currency Exchange Agency just in the city centre.
Indicative prices, always subject to variations, are:
1 lt milk from $1.40 (€0.38)
Soda tin can from $1.90 (€0.51) (in supermarkets)
White Coffe from $4.00
1 lt high grade petrol $1.20
1 Sandwich from $4.00(€1)
Mineral water x 500 cc from $1.20 (€0.32) (in supermarkets);
A two course meal (lunch or dinner) with dessert, beverage not included, from $22.00 (€6) approximately.
9,600 inhabitantsPolitical Regime
Federal Democratic RepublicPublic holidays
January 1st: New Year; March/April: Holy Week, April 2nd: Veteran’s Day and Remembrance of those fallen in the Falklands War; May 1st: Labour Day; May 25th: Anniversary of the First Patriotic Government; June 20th: Day of the National Flag; July 9th: Independence Day; August 17th: Day of Gral. Jose de San Martin; October 12th: Discovery of America; December 8th: Day of the Immaculate Conception; December 25th: Christmas. Religion
The official religion is the Roman Catholic, although there is total freedom of worship. There are practicing Protestants, Jews, Muslims, Orthodox Greek and Orthodox Russian among others.Religion
Although El Calafate is a safe place, some precautions must be taken. You are advised to leave valuables and jewelry in the hotel’s safety box, and not to carry with you more money than you actually need. Be careful with your belongings especially in crowded places, put your ID and passport in the front pocket of you trousers and always check the bill at the restaurants.
Useful Telephone numbers:
Customer care information: 110
Official time: 113
Access to DDN: 0, to DDI: 00
International Service with operator: 000
Fire department: 100, Police:101
Civil Defense: 103
For emergency on the road, remember vehicles transporting passengers are connected by radio with El Calafate, Rio Gallegos or La Esperanza with the Civil Defense frequency: HF 3857.5 USB, 6970 USB or VHF 149.335, in order to request the necessary assistance.
Coronel Olavarria 17-Tel: +54 (0)2902 491070 and +54 (0) 2902 492317
International Airport : 105- Tel: +54 (0) 2902 492234
Julio A. Roca 1640- Tel. +54 (0) 2902 491706/+54 (0) 2902 766/064/665
Policía distrito Lago Argentino:
Del Libertador Ave. 819-Tel. +54 (0) 2902 491824/077/819/825
Prefectura Naval Argentina (Argentine Coast Guard):
Aeroestación El Calafate -Tel. +54 (0) 2902 491731/653
Policía Aeronáutica Militar:
International Airport-Tel. +54 (0) 2902 491971
If you are from Argentina, Uruguay, Brazil, Paraguay, Bolivia or Chile, you only need your national ID. If you come from any other country, you must have a valid Passport and Health Insurance, and you should enquire in your country’s Embassy for visa requirements. Clothing
It is recommended to wear informal clothes, if possible loose and comfortable. A hooded windbreaker, warm gloves, scarves and jackets. You will need sport shoes or trekking shoes, and do not forget your sunglasses and UV protector factor 40.Electricity
In Argentina electricity is 220 Volts, alternating current. Thus if you own an electric device of a different voltage, you should be careful to use a transformer or consult a qualified electrician. Radio and Television
Here you can listen to the local radio stations: FM Dimension, LU4 Radio Provincia, LU23 Emisora Lago Argentino, FM Del Sol.
There is cable television: Video Cable Color. Telephone
There is national and international Direct Dialing service, fax receiving and sending and Internet connection every day from 8 AM to 12 PM. Public telephones operate with current coins of $0,10; $0,25; $0,50 and $1, both nickel and bronze. It is also possible to use cell phones, from companies such as CTI and Movistar, in town and within a radius of no more than ten kilometers. Police
100Newspapers and Magazines
Newspaper: Diario Carta Abierta
Cultural Magazine: Código
Argentine Post Service: Del Libertador Ave. 1133-Tel.+54 (0)2902 491012.Health Care Services
Should you need to contact an emergency service:
-Every hotel can call any of the emergency services: health care, police or fire.
–Ask your medical insurance which are the doctors available on site.
-The local hospital offers qualified attention in Clinical Medicine, Pediatrics, Gynecology and Obstetrics, Traumatology, Surgery, Cardiology, Anesthesiology and General Practice, as well as ambulances that can cover the distance to the nearest hospital in two and a half hours (in the summer). Air transport with qualified personnel is also available.
For an emergency on the road, remember vehicles transporting passengers are connected by radio with El Calafate, Rio Gallegos or La Esperanza with the Civil Defense frequency: HF 3857.5 USB, 6970 USB or VHF 149.335, in order to request the necessary assistance.
The opening of the “El Calafate International Airport” in 2000 was the beginning of a new prosperous air route. Its terminal, built and managed by the London Supply firm, was designed contemplating the use of the typical local stone. Now tourists from all over the world enjoy the facilities of this airport when visiting the fabulous ‘Perito Moreno’ Glacier.
Nowadays air traffic is in charge of diverse airlines with many flights per week, arriving from Buenos Aires, Trelew, Bariloche, Ushuaia and other localities in the province of Santa Cruz. Aerolineas Argentinas is the airline with more flights to El Calafate: an average of five flights per day during the peak season. During the winter there are not so many flights, but the service is maintained.
Remise agencies (hired cars with chauffers)
Julio A. Roca n/n° - Tel: +54 (0)2902 492005.
25 De Mayo 51 - Tel: +54 (0)2902 491655 and 492655.
17 de Octubre Ave. and Calle 6. - Tel: +54 (0) 2902) 496650/651 - 0800-13000.
Camp. Del Desierto 1421 - Tel: +54 (0)2902 491850.
Del Libertador Ave, and 15 de Febrero - Tel: +54 (0)2902 491479Bus
El Calafate is at a distance of 315 km (196 miles) from the city of Rio Gallegos, capital of the province of Santa Cruz. From Rio Gallegos you can reach El Calafate by bus, with many daily services all year round.Car
From Rio Gallegos, driving towards the northwest along the provincial Route Nº 5, at a distance of 80 km (50 miles) is the village of “Las Horquetas. Following this route, after driving 70 km (43 miles), is the village of “La Esperanza”, with a Service Station, tire repair service, Cafeteria and Restaurant with a public phone, Police station, health care centre with nurses and ambulance connected by BLU radio with El Calafate and Rio Gallegos, and an oil company plant.
Here, to the left, is the access to the provincial Route Nº 7. After crossing seven bridges, we have two options: to the right, towards the provincial route Nº 9 “Paraje Fortaleza” coming from the crossroads with the National Route Nº 3 in the area of “Comandante Luis Piedrabuena, which is the best option to reach El Calafate during the winter months. To the left, we continue along Route Nº 5 and after 65 km (40 miles) we reach the village of “Rio Bote before continuing the journey along the provincial Route Nº 11, and after some 32 km (20 miles) you reach El Calafate.
Adventure Rent a Car:
Del Libertador Ave. 290 - Tel: +54 (0)2902 492595.
Alamo Rent a Car:
Gob. Moyano 1243 - Tel: +54 (0)2902 493707 and 0810-999-25266.
Avis Rent a Car: Del Libertador Ave. 1078 - Tel: +54 (0)2902 492877.
Budget Rent a Car:
Mza. N Fracción II- Tel: Cel. +54 (0)2902 02966 15411000.
Av. Del Libertador 1711 - Tel: +54 (0)2902 491674.
Padre Agostini 147 - Tel: +54 (0)2902 496222.
Europcar: Del Libertador Ave. 1741 - Tel: +54 (0)2902 493606.
Dollar Rent a Car:
Del Libertador Ave. 1341 - Local 7 - Tel: +54 (0)2902 492634.Taking pictures
There are no restrictions for taking pictures or videos. For this purpose, luminosity is at its best early in the morning. See climate
www.worldweather.orgCurrency converterwww.xe.com/uccA dinner
$ 30.00 (€ 8)A coffee
$ 4.00 (€ 1)