Cheap Tickets to El Calafate
This city lies in Argentina's Patagonia region and gets its name from a local bush with yellow flowers and dark blue berries that is called a calafate. Often used as the gateway to Patagonian adventures, the city has a few attractions that make it worth staying in for a few days. The history of El Calafate is not a long one: it began in the early 20th-century as a place where wool traders sheltered from the bitter Winter weather. It was officially recognised by the Argentine government in 1927 in an attempt to encourage settlement, but it wasn't until the Los Glaciares National Park was established in the late 1930's that the population began to grow and a proper infrastructure was put in place.
Things to do
For many visitors, El Calafate is the perfect base for exploring the Glacier Perito Moreno located in the national park, but once you've arrived, you'll be drawn in by the town's rugged charm. Avenida del Libertador General San Martin is where you'll find city life with quirky shops selling souvenirs and local chocolate as well as restaurants and bars.
- A beautiful wonder of the world
Los Glaciares National Park is a place of stunning natural beauty especially when you get up close to the blue ice walls of the glacier. It's so outstanding that in 1981 it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Birdwatchers will enjoy the Reserva Natural Laguna Nimez. This lake and prime bird habitat is just North of the town. Its pride and joy are flocks of flamingos, but many other species can be observed from the reserve's hides.
- Wrap up warm for the ice bar
The Glaciarium Museum holds fascinating collections of films dedicated to ice formation, movement and expeditions. When you've finished browsing the exhibits, you can don a furry cape and enjoy a shot of vodka or soft drink in the blue-lit ice bar below the museum.
Calendar of Events
El Calafate is a small town in an often inhospitable climate so you're not going to find a calendar packed full of festivals, but there are two annual events that do draw in crowds of both locals and visitors: the Ice Festival and the Rodeo and Folklore Festival.
The El Calafate Ice Festival. This is held over three weekends in July and August and is set on Redonda Bay, which in Winter is the largest natural skating rink in South America. The festival features ice skating displays and ice hockey tournaments, while torchlight parades, sledge rides and ice sculptures all add to the atmosphere.
The Rodeo and Folklore Festival or "Day of Tradition". Held in November, this brings together rodeo skills with local folk music. Entrants battle it out for money prizes and a chance to progress into national rodeo competitions. Other equestrian events, colourful costumed parades and concerts of traditional music all complete this exciting festival.