9 Best Adventure Tours In El Calafate, Argentina - Updated 2024

best tours in el calafate
Contributing Writer
| 5 min read

With beautiful glaciers, frozen lakes, mountains, culture, history, and horse ranches, El Calafate is a place where you can have the trip of a lifetime. Whether it’s world-class hiking or a comfortable ride in the snow, these tours have an adventure for every person.

1. Big ice trek to the Perito Moreno Glacier

153 - Glacier Perito Moreno - Grotte glaciaire - Janvier 2010
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user S23678 used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Experience one of the biggest adventures in El Calafate with the big ice trek to the Perito Moreno Glacier. One of the premier attractions in the city, this tour will allow you to get up close and personal with the famous glacier. Begin by hiking the lateral moraine for 1.5 hours to get to Perito Moreno.

You will then don your harness and crampons and begin the 3.5-hour hike on and inside the glacier. Along the way, expert guides will teach you all about the moulins, crevasses, and caves among the ice. Eat lunch on the glacier itself. Finally, enjoy a 20-minute boat ride back to port.

Big ice trek to the Perito Moreno Glacier

Duration: 9 hours


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2. Upsala Kayak Experience

Upsala Kayak Experience
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user David Uriarte used under CC BY-SA 3.0

See the Upsala Channel and Onelli Bay in a way like no other with this kayaking tour. Begin with a relaxing 3-hour boat ride including pastries, beverages, and lunch to Lake Argentina. Upon arrival, you will be briefed on safety and set out to paddle on the lake for about 2 hours.

Glide quietly through the deep blue water while admiring the fantastically shaped icebergs floating beside you. See wild cows, condors, and other native flora and fauna on your journey. Enjoy the serenity of the near-freezing water and ever interesting landscape surrounding it. Along the way, your guide will offer invaluable education about the environment surrounding you.

Upsala Kayak Experience

Duration: 11 hours


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3. Nibepo Aike Ranch with horseback riding

Real Cowboys (5452635968)
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Alex Proimos used under CC BY 2.0

Looking for a unique way to see the countryside of El Calafate? This horseback riding tour will give you a good view of the landscape as well as a fun time on a ranch. Begin your journey by taking gravel road No. 15, a route known for spotting condors, foxes, and wild hares. Tour the shore of Lago Roca and enter the Parque Nacional Los Glaciares. Admire a magnificent view of the Cordillera de los Andes while sipping on a hot drink and eating a homemade pastry.

Once you arrive at the ranch, you will be allowed to explore the ranch. Visitors can learn about shearing sheep and participate in milking and sheep herding. When you return, the barbecue lunch will be ready. After feasting, the group will take an extended 3-hour horseback tour together.

Nibepo Aike Ranch with horseback riding

Duration: 8 hours


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4. Offroad Tour of Los Glaciares National Park

Los Glaciares National Park trail 1
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Fredlyfish4 used under CC BY-SA 4.0

This tour is a fun way to see El Calafate. Get a view of the town and the Lago Argentino aboard your all-terrain vehicle. Condors are often spotted, and on clear days visitors can see Mt. Torre and Mt. Fitz in the distance. Admire geological formations as you ascend towards El Laberinto de Piedras or The Stone’s Labyrinth.

Here, you will find fossils and rock formations from the Cretaceous Period. Visitors will then be treated with a view of the Piedra de Los Sombreros, a collection of hat-shaped rock formations. Learn about these features as well as the glaciers in the area from your expert guide. Finally, descend back the way you came for more amazing views of the lake.

4x4 Offroad Tour of Los Glaciares National Park

Duration: 3 hours


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5. Rios De Hielo navigation with transfer from El Calafate

Spegazzini Glacier
Source: Photo by user Nacho G used under CC BY-SA 2.0

Spend an entire day exploring the frozen lake via catamaran with this exciting tour. Experience breathtaking views of Lago Argentino as you sail around icebergs over the deep blue waters. Be treated to getting up close and personal with the Brazo Upsala glacier and take in the aura of Glacier Spegazzini, the highest glacier in the area, rising nearly 100 meters (328 feet) above the water’s surface.

Rios de Hielo navigation

Duration: 8 hours


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6. Half-day El Calafate balcony experience

Lago Argentino
Source: Photo by user Douglas Scortegagna used under CC BY 2.0

Ideal for families, this fun tour will allow all ages to experience the spectacular views in the El Calafate region. Ride in an all-terrain snow truck through the mountains to reach a lookout point located 1,030 meters (3,444 feet) above sea level. From here you will be able to see Lago Argentino and the Andes Mountains.

The truck will then climb on to even higher elevations to view the Laberinto de las Piedras and admire rock formations and fossils dating back to the Cretaceous Period. Enjoy lunch at a local restaurant and choose your favorite snow activity. Visitors will be given the option of riding a snowmobile, wearing snowshoes, or tubing down the slopes.

Half-day El Calafate balcony experience

Duration: 3 hours


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7. La Leona Petrified Forest hiking tour (from USD 227.0)

La Leona Petrified Forest
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Justraveling.com used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Looking to get up close and personal with La Leona Petrified Forest and want to experience some world-class hiking while you do? This is the tour for you. Even the drive out to the “forest” is impressive, delighting visitors with views of the Cruz and La Leona rivers and the Andes Mountains.

A brief stop at Hotel La Leona will intrigue visitors with rich history. Learn about the mauling that inspired its name and the famous visitors such as the Sundance Kid himself that passed through. Once you arrive in the Petrified Forest, you will begin an easy 11-kilometer (7-mile) round trip hike.

You can explore this 800-hectare (1,977-acre) wide natural depression while learning about the history of the area from your guide. See petrified logs as large as 1 meter (4 feet) in diameter. Enjoy being in this surreal landscape that is like no other.

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El Calafate to La Leona Petrified Forest Full-Day Hiking Tour

Duration: 8 hours

18 reviews

8. El Calafate downhill mountain biking adventure (from USD 187.0)

Fitz Roy Mountain
Source: Pixabay

This tour is the mountain biking adventure of a lifetime. Biking experience is highly recommended for anyone thinking about embarking on this journey. The fun begins at the base of Mt. Huyliche, which rises to heights 1,030 meters (3,445 feet) above sea level. Take a moment to enjoy the amazing panorama of arid steppes, Lago Argentino, the Andes Mountains, and El Calafate.

When you’re ready, you will be paired with a mountain bike and set on your way. The 13-kilometer (8-mile) descent takes around three hours with breaks, and the terrain will vary from dry, rocky paths to soft, wide trails. Some sights along the way include the snowcapped Fitz Roy mountain and the remote Laguna Escondida (Hidden Lagoon). End your bike ride in a nearby town.

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El Calafate Mt Huyliche Downhill Mountain Biking Adventure

Duration: 5 hours

9. El Calafate city sightseeing tour including Walichu Caves (from USD 134.0)

El Calafate wilderness
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Unknown author used under CC0

The Walichu Caves are located in a virtually untouched wilderness and contain rock paintings dating back to the Paleolithic times. This tour will guide you through this wilderness into the caves and a local expert will educate you about the humans that once lived here. After this once in a lifetime experience, head back to the bus to tour the old town of El Calafate.

You will see churches, homes, and other buildings made by the town’s first settlers. Journey onwards to Laguna Nimez, a bird preserve where you will be delighted with sights of swans, flamingos, and many other species. Conclude this exciting tour with the El Calafate Historical Interpretation Center to learn more about the area.

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El Calafate City Tour and Walichu Caves Tour

Duration: 3 hours

13 reviews

Out in the open

No matter what your passion or adventuring level, the local tours in El Calafate have something for you. Spend the day being active or just viewing the sights in leisure, but don’t miss out on any of the fun to be had in this wonderful place.

Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.


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Molly is a technology marketing and sales professional. She earned a Bachelor's degree from Baylor University and has been writing for many years. Currently, she is a contributor at trip101.com...Read more

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