Getting there

I had considered travelling directly to FTE (El Calafete) from BRC (Bariloche), but after looking up various travel sites I discovered that:

1. No direct flights between brc to fte (all flights via Buenos Aires (AEP))
2. 17 hr bus ride being the only direct option

After some deliberation I opted to flight back to bueones aires to rendezvous with my other travel companion who wasn’t a so much an adventurer and wasn’t too keen on travelling to fte solo. So all things considered this lengthy detour wasn’t too bad an idea. We’d then take a morning flight the next day direct to El Calafete.

That said, for more adventurous souls who don’t mind lengthy bus rides Argentinan buses are said to be quite luxurious at the upper end of the market yet being magnitudes of order cheaper than a flight. Some even serve wine onboard!

A semi-cama bus seat. Courtesy parrillatour

After a quick rendezvous with my travel companion (who’s Singapore flight had just touched down that same night) in Buenos Aires. We proceeded to the frosty south of Patagonia: El Calafete.

A Barren Landscape

El Calafate is a small town in the south of Argentina, got its name from a berry-bearing bush native to the area.But it wasn’t this sturdy bush that drew me this far south, it was the glaciers that were common in the region. That in fact was the main attraction on my list for the area along with some short treks in the region which I thought would consume most of the 4-days I’d allocated to this part of the trip (the longest stay in one place in my 1 month sabbatical).

Winter is just around the corner for the Southern hemisphere

The town was sparsely laid out which seemed to correlate to it’s small population of 22,000. There wasn’t much of interest in the town itself except for provisions (e.g: water & snacks), some tour operators & bank ATMs.

I decided on a more comfortable hotel for this stay

After checking in to the hotel. We set about making some booking for some tours for the following day. We got some quotes from the hotel tour office and compared them against the tour offices in the town. The town tour offices gave the better rates and we’re too far away from the hotel to be inconvenient.

Day1 : The Glaciarium

A recent attraction addition to the area, The Glaciarium was one of the first sights on my list (basically due to the fact the other sights needed more time and we had only half a day left). A free shuttle bus picks you up from the local Tourist department office.

the shuttle bus

The site is located outside the town and there is no public transport to speak of in this area so your transport options will be quite limited.

Unfortunately no photos could be taken on the inside but you’ll find that the Glaciarium gives a very informative (and in certain places, interactive using high-tech kit) introduction to the regions landscape and some historical context of the pioneering explorers of the Southern Glaciers (quite a number of Germans among them).

no photos beyond this point

TripAdvisor Review of the Glaciarium

It’s worth a visit if you’ve just arrived and don’t have the time for long excursion to the more natural sights.