Our four days in El Chalten were great but we were ready to explore more of southern Patagonia. We waved adios to the little village through a haze of clouds and drizzling rain and boarded a bus for the three-hour ride down to El Calafate.
We arrived in the middle of the day to blue skies and big clouds. Our hotel was located a short ten minute walk above town and the views of Lake Argentina, even from our bedroom, were amazing! Andrea, Javier and their three dogs (!) were wonderful hosts and we recommend staying at South B+B the next time you’re in town.
A tourist town located a few hours away from the big mountains, ice fields and glaciers, El Calafate definitely feels touristy along the main street. Living above town for a week gave us a different and more local perspective. We walked around daily exploring different parts of town, seeking local flavor. We found a cemetery, the El Calafate futbol stadium, and a rodeo arena. We got a kick out of watching a gaucho (cowboy) drive a herd of horses across the edge of town. Much of the landscape is rugged and dry but newer looking homes actually have grass yards, and we were surprised to see so many rose bushes in bloom. There is a wonderful walkway all along the lake with a well established nature preserve.
Patagonia is a huge region with an incredibly diverse landscape. With that said, access into the Glacier National Park is difficult. In El Chalten it was possible to walk out your door and be on a trail in five minutes, but here it’s different. In El Calafate most access points are over an hour away and you need to pay a tour group to transport you there and host your excursion, unless you rent a car. Our big adventure was centered around the phenomenal Perito Glacier, an activity I’ll not soon forget!
We couldn’t get enough of this gorgeous lake! We looked at it, walked along it and dreamed about it all week. If I were a black necked swan I would definitely want to live here, too!
You might recall how excited we were that Harry’s leg/foot were in great working order for three days in El Chalten. We were hopeful that the Patagonia Effect would stick around for awhile, but I’m sorry to say that’s not the case. The day we arrived in El Calafate his gait went back to its old habits. We sure do appreciate all of the shout-outs and words of support you’ve been sending our way. While we’re hopeful that the Patagonia Effect returns, in the meantime we’re still on the move. Nothing is holding us back.
We just recognized our two month anniversary of being in Argentina. To celebrate this special day we hopped onto a big double-decker sleeper bus for a 24 hour ride (repeat: a 24 hour ride!) northeast across Patagonia. Rest assured I will be blogging about our trip at some point. [Teaser alert: we survived] Puerto Madryn, situated on the Atlantic Ocean, is the gateway to Punta Tombo. We’re on the search for penguins!