Visiting Patagonia (El Calafate and Ushuaia)

Last week we had a chance to take our first trip in Argentina with my brother, John, and his girlfriend, Elizabeth, who were visiting from Michigan.  It was their first trip out of the U.S., so it was quite an experience for them – actually for all of us.  We flew from Buenos Aires to El Calafate where we spent 3 days and then flew to Ushuaia for 2 days before flying back. We booked the flights through Lan Airlines web site, but had the hotels and tours set up through Wade Alexander who runs the “Imagine Argentina” travel agency.  I’d definitely recommend him if you want to plan a trip.

El Calafate is a small town located on Lake Argentina and is an excellent starting point for exploring the glaciers. Most of the town is geared around tourism, and the main street is filled with shops and restaurants catering to that crowd.  On the first day, we took a bus out to the Perito Moreno glacier where we first hiked around it before boarding a ferry to the other side for lunch and a mini-trekking expedition on the glacier itself.  The views were amazing!  The next day, we took a six hour cruise across Lake Argentina to explore three other glaciers as well.  The photos below probably do more justice to this than anything I can describe.

In Ushuaia, we took a five hour cruise out of the city to see the sea lions, Ushuaia light house and visit a penguin colony.  The boat actually grounds itself on the beach near the penguins, so you can get a very close look. (Some other tours actually let you walk on the island, but the number of people per day is limited.)  The next day, we took the “Train at the End of the World” (too touristy) and then hiked in the national park which gave us a chance to see a lot of wildlife. (a condor, beaver dams, tons of birds, etc.) And, I also ate a lot of king crab while I was there, although it was not quite the bargain I had hoped for (AR$90 for a dinner of king crab).

It was definitely an amazing trip. The photos below capture some if it…