There are tours in El Calafate you cannot miss! In this article, I make it a bit easier for you if you are wondering what to do in El Calafate. I visited the city several times and even the last time I was surprised by one of the best tours I have done in Argentina.

Read also: the quickest way getting from El Calafate to El Chalten

Tours in El Calafate to do

Certainly, the city is famed for the Perito Moreno glacier, situated 74 km (45 miles) away from the city center. While many tours provide transfer services to the glacier, embarking on a self-drive journey offers a unique experience. Navigate through strong winds, and stop wherever your heart desires along the way.

Access to the National Park Los Glaciares

As you approach the glacier, you’ll need to purchase your entry ticket for Los Glaciares National Park. You can conveniently do this at the park’s entrance, and credit card payments are accepted. The cost is approximately USD 12 per person. The entrance ticket is often not included in the tour price.

You can buy your entrance tickets in advance here: LINK

My favorite tours in El Calafate

Safari Azul

My absolute favorite tour is Safari Azul! It is a combination tour of walking, a boat trip, touching the glacier, and even going under the glacier. All of this with one of the best guides that I ever had. All are trained by the Glacier University of El Calafate.

You embark on the boat in the small harbor in the national park and in 20 minutes you go to the other side of the lake. There a guide is waiting and ready for a 1h30min guided tour. I received so much information that I didn’t even know. The hike is beautiful and we end up next the to glacier. If that wasn’t impressive, we had the chance to go under the glacier! Such an amazing experience.

Afterward, we received a drink on the boat on our way back, but not until the boat made a tour next to Perito Moreno glacier.

You can book the Safari Azul here. I strongly recommend booking this in advance.

Safari Azul El Calafate Perito Moreno
Under the glacier Perito Moreno (Safari Azul)

Day trip to Perito Moreno Glacier

The day trip to the Perito Moreno Glacier is THE thing to do in El Cafalate. You hop on a bus to the national park and make stops at different lookout points on the way. But the real highlight? Walking on those pathways right by the glacier. It’s pretty darn cool. And if you’re lucky, you might catch a piece of the glacier crashing into the lake. Just grab a seat, relax, and keep your ears peeled for a rumble that sounds like thunder – that’s your cue that something’s about to drop. I usually hang out there for about two hours. With the organized day tour, you’ve got plenty of time to soak in the view. Plus, they pick you up and drop you off, so no need to worry about renting a car. Trust me, it’s hassle-free and totally worth it.

Tips: wear good shoes. The walking route next to the glacier has many stairs. But there is also a wheelchair-accessible path.

Check out here the day tour to Perito Moreno Glacier in El Calafate

Pathway Perito Moreno day tour El Calafate
The pathway next to the glacier

Perito Moreno Glacier Boat Tour

You can totally double up on your fun by pairing the Perito Moreno Glacier boat tour with your day trip. But if you’re driving yourself, don’t sweat it; just swing by the little harbor called “Bajo de las Sombrar,” about 7km from the glacier itself. They run boat trips at 10:00 AM, 11:30 AM, and 2:30 PM every day.

The neat part is, these boats get you super close, like within 400m of the glacier. It’s seriously mind-blowing to see how massive it is up close.

My tip? Leave El Calafate around 9:00 AM, and stop by the harbor to get tickets for the next boat. Easy peasy.

Link to the Perito Moreno Tour and Boat Cruise
Boat trip Perito Moreno Glacier

Minitrekking Perito Moreno Glacier

Feeling like spicing up your adventure? Then minitrekking is the tour in El Calafate you’ve been looking for! It’s basically a mashup of Safari Azul, a boat cruise, and a stroll near the glacier, but this time, you’ll be walking ON the glacier for a whole hour.

What’s cool is that the groups are usually smaller compared to other tours. Walking on the glacier is such a thrill. I felt totally safe every step of the way thanks to the guides giving clear directions. Honestly, it’s one of the top things to do in El Calafate for me. Sure, the price tag is a bit steep, but if it’s on your bucket list? Just go for it!

Check out the availability of the minitrekking Perito Moreno

Minitrekking Perito Moreno El Calafate

Big Ice trekking on the glacier

So, the Big Ice trekking on the Perito Moreno glacier isn’t hugely different from the minitrekking I talked about earlier. The main diff? It’s all about the time you get to spend on the glacier. With the Big Ice tour, you’re looking at about 4 hours actually on the ice. You’ll venture deeper into the glacier and uncover lagoons, waterfalls, and streams that form as the glacier keeps on moving.

Read more about the Big Ice trekking

Big Ice trekking Perito Moreno Argentina

Kayak Experience 

Alright, enough about ice and glaciers. Let’s switch gears to some more adventure on the stunning blue lakes and rivers around El Calafate.

Here’s a seriously cool activity: You leave right from your hotel and hop into a kayak on the Santa Cruz River. Fun fact: You actually cross this river on your way to El Chalten.

After paddling for some time, you’ll hit the shore where the crew has whipped up a classic Argentine grill lunch. Talk about a perfect pit stop!

Now, fair warning, this activity is best for folks who are up for a bit of a workout because sometimes the river can get a little wild. But trust me, it’s totally worth it for the experience!

Check out the availability of the Kayak Experience 

Full-day tour to Torres del Paine from El Calafate

If you’re not heading to Chile, you’ve gotta check out this tour from El Calafate. In just a day, you’ll zip over to Torres del Paine and back. It’s a sweet way to get a taste of what the Chilean side’s national park is all about.

You’ll get to do a little hike in one of the world’s most famous national parks and soak in the stunning views of those insanely blue lagoons.

But if El Chalten’s on your radar, maybe give this tour a miss. Plus, remember you’re looking at about 3 hours each way of travel time.

Get more info about the Torres del Paine day tour from El Calafate

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Since 2017 I'm living in Buenos Aires close to the heart of Patagonia. The perfect home base to start many trips throughout the beautiful Patagonian landscapes. With Secrets of Patagonia, I like to share honest information to plan your once in a lifetime trip. Hours of talking with local residents, traveling by myself and the experience of working in the tourism industry. I hope you will enjoy Patagonia as much as I do.

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