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arienas01 Feb 22nd, 2012 11:21 AM

Cost and time needed for Perito Moreno from El Calafate - please advise!
Hi all,

I am trying to finalize my flights to El Calafate. Given the time constraints, I'd like to spend one day doing the minitrek for the glacier (i believe that is how you get to do the boat ride and a short trek on ice) and spend one day hiking in El Chalten.

Here's my dilemma. I have read that most treks to Perito Moreno from El Calafate leave at 8 or 9 am in the morning. I will be arriving in El Calafate at 10:30 am (flight time). Can I do the glacier minitrek that day? I am trying to see how I can make use of that day. I was hoping to spend the next day for El Chalten hike and fly back either that night or the following morning.

Also, how much do these tours typically cost? And how much is the bus ride to and from El Calafate to El Chalten? Do I need to book in advance?

Thank You so much!

AlwaysOnTheRoad Feb 22nd, 2012 01:31 PM

Your plan is unrealistic.

Two hours to drive to Petito Moreno. Excursions are in the morning.

El Chalten is a three hour drive each way. The good hikes are 6-7 hours.

yestravel Feb 23rd, 2012 12:55 AM

Last March we got picked up from our hotel in El Calafate around 7:30 and returned around 4pm. It took maybe one hour and half to get to the point where they take you trekking. the way they run the tours as best we could figure out, is they fill up a group at a specific start time and then start a new group leaving a half hour later. I know this because we did not want to leave that early and kept walking around town trying to find a later tour. Our hotel as well as several agencies explained the system. dont recall the cost. we booked the day before we did the tour. I cannot imagine u could pick up a tour that late in the morning. Maybe go directly to El challenge and book a tour for the day u return.

Susan_Davis Feb 27th, 2012 07:02 AM

We were there about a month ago. I agree that it would be hard to do anything the day you arrive unless you had a private guide. There is a wonderful nature preserve in El Calafate about a 5-10 minute walk from the town center. It has great signage and there are birds galore. It is also beautiful. You could spend 2 hours there,

Another thing to consider is the time you need at the airport when you leave. We had an early afternoon flight and left the hotel around 9:30. We needed every minute. The line was slow and very long to check in or check bags and then you had to wait in line again to pay the airport tax and then you go through security. Maybe it won't be as crowded at night but ask. We found every airport in Argentina was run differently. The most efficient in BA.
Have a good trip.

rochjj Dec 9th, 2012 07:01 PM

We are planning to go to Argentina at the end of this month for 2 weeks into January. We would like to visit the El Calafate area, and were hoping for info on itineraries. Do most people just get around by bus, or did you rent cars? Did you need to book trips to the glaciers in advance, any tour companies recommended? Thank you.

colibri Dec 10th, 2012 06:18 AM

Ari - as others have stated, your plan is not realistic and you need more nights in the region.

If (and that's a big if) your flight is on time, you could hire a private guide/driver to take you to Perito Moreno same day you arrive. But I doubt if you could get on either of the ice treks that day.

Agree w/ Susan that Laguna Nimez is a beautiful spot to spend an afternoon - great views of mountains, lakes and birds.

You would be wasting your time to do a daytrip to El Chalten, but need 2-3 nights there.

Rochjj - most people book tours with bus pickups at the various hotels. The main street of Calafate is lined with travel agencies who can book daytrips to Perito Moreno, ice trekking (age limitations) or the All Glaciers boat tour. I rented a car first time there to go out to Perito Moreno, but did not on my second trip.

The All Glaciers boat trip is beautiful - booked VIP seats first time, economy seats second visit.

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