El Calafate lays on the southern shore of Argentino Lake, 315 km away from Río Gallegos, capital city of the province of Santa Cruz, and 80 km away from the entrance to Los Glaciares National Park.
Located on a steppe landscape, visitors are admired because of the size of its views, the turquoise colour of the Argentino Lake, and its vegetation, typical of a desert region.
It is inevitable to visit the National Park without first taking a view of El Calafate, as it is the last habited place before entering the National Park. Its structure is exclusively dedicated to render touristic services, with its many hotels, transport and excursion services, typical gastronomy, and sale of regional products and handicrafts all over the country.
This place was born as wagons stop, in the times when this region was only inhabited in order to rear sheep and sell their wool. As time went by, wool's international prices made this business less attractive, and the village started losing its interesting features. By 1938, the southern continental ice region was declared National Park From that moment on, this place started being visited by people from all over the world, and El Calafate started rendering a better service to the tourists.More History & Legends.
The village takes its name from a bush, which can still be found in the region, though not in the same quantity as in old times. It is a typical steppe plant, covered by yellow flowers in the spring. Its fruits belong to the berries family, very small and dark violet. Visitors can get to know it through marmalade and liquors made by the people in the village. There is an old Tehuelche legend which ends in the following phrase: 'THOSE, WHO TASTE CALAFATE, SHALL COME BACK'.
The region's climate is cold and dry, with an average temperature of -2ºC during the winter and 18ºC during the summer. Rain is scarce, as it mainly rains during autumn, and it does not surpass 300mm a year.
Population: approximately 15.000 inhabitants
Climate: cold, dry
Distance from Buenos Aires city: 3000 km.
Things toy must see: Perito Moreno and Upsala Glaciers
Best season for your visit: Any time of the year is propitious to come and visit the different glaciers from the zone
Village's Birthday: December, 7th
Feast you mustn't miss: February, 15th. Argentino Lake's baptism anniversary