5 adventure activities in El Calafate

Ramiro Rodriguez
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Yes, of course, the Perito Moreno Glacier is a must-see. For that amazing glacier, you arrived or will arrive in El Calafate and it´s of course a visit you will organize. But, if you´re an adventurous person, there is a variety of great activities you can organize for your extra days. Take a look to our suggested list below:


1- El Calafate Balcony Experience

The place called Balcon de Calafate or Calafate Balcony is an imposing natural viewpoint, where you can enjoy a panoramic view of El Calafate and the central part of Lake Argentino. The tour will offer views of the Andes Mountains and glacier accumulation zone, towards the Boca del Diablo (the narrowest part of the lake, heading to the Upsala channel) and if it is clear we can observe the Fitz Roy and Torre mountains in El Chaltén. In addition, we will have the opportunity to see the flight of Condors.

With two daily departures, the excursion starts from the hotels of El Calafate and completes a journey of 35 kilometers on the line of hills behind the village. The trail takes us through landscapes that marvel at its varied vegetation of height. It reaches up to 1050 meters above the sea. There, the first stop is a natural viewpoint where passengers enjoy a panoramic view of El Calafate and the Argentino Lake.

In the background, the unforgettable and imposing framework of the Andes Mountains, and time to time, during the route, clients will enjoy views of the accumulation zone of the glaciers, towards Boca del Diablo (the narrowest part of the lake, towards the Upsala arm). Sometimes it is even possible to see the Fitz Roy and Torre hills in El Chaltén and, with some luck, the condor, master of the Patagonian skies, may be seen in his long plan. A unique show.

We take a snack in our restaurant Huyliche and from there we start the descent down the northern slope of the hill to the Mexican Hats. Curious iron concretions that are only found in four places in the world. After this trip to other eras of world history, we return to El Calafate with the view always in the omnipresent Lake Argentino.

Daily departures: At 10:00 and 15:00
Departure point: Pick up from El Calafate hotels
Duration: 3 h




2- Perito Moreno Kayak Experience

Perito Moreno’s waters are highly protected which is why we take great honor in stating that because of our teams’ expertise, professionalism, and interest in environmental care, we received permission to operate in this area and specifically in such an extremely sought-after location.

The Perito Moreno Kayak experience begins with free exploration. First, you will be able to take in the sights and sounds of the breathtaking site as you walk through the footbridge and gawk at the incredible viewpoints along the way. Then you will head to Perito Moreno Kayak Experience’s Meeting Point, located near the main parking area, where our team will greet and brief you.

You will be welcomed into our Operations Area, where you will get dressed in state-of-the-art gear as our guides give you a rundown as well as an in-depth safety briefing. No past kayaking experience is necessary. Our kayak experts will explain how to paddle among the astounding glacial waters. Once prepared and briefed we depart, with kayaks in hand, to Los Templanos beach. We will paddle down towards the glacier so that it is facing us the whole time. We will stop for our postcard picture moment and learn more fun facts about the fascinating Perito Moreno area in Patagonia. Do not worry if you have no kayak experience, our guides will teach you how to move safely within the astonishing glacial waters.

The Full Day Program starts with the picking up at the Calafate Hotels, then the drive (74 Km) to Los Glaciares National Park, arriving at about 9:30.
From 9:30 to 11:00, you have two hours to free explore every corner of Perito Moreno Glacier. The Perito Moreno Kayak Experience begins at 11:00 (our guides will confirm the exact location)…and so the adventure begins! You will be welcomed into our dome where you will select your gear and dress. You will be provided with a Gore-Tex dry suit, thermal suit, boots, gloves and a life jacket. From 12:30 to 14:00 Paddling in Lago Argentino on the north face of Perito Moreno Glacier. At 14:00 Return to the dome for hot drinks and snacks. At 15:00 Transfer back to El Calafate. The arrival time to your hotel is around 17:00


Book the Perito Moreno Kayak Experience with our company. Or click in the image below!





3- El Calafate Quads

This activity has two daily departures, begins with pick up at the hotels, and continues with the transfer to the Base of Cerro Huyliche. From there the 4WD vehicles will take us up to 950 meters of millenary geography and to the best corners of Mt. Huyliche, one of them so-called Mega observing aerial views that include even the Patagonian steppe.

Our guides accompany you throughout the whole trip. After an hour of travel in 4WD, we arrive at the starting point of the crossing in “Quads“. With the necessary technical equipment already prepared, you begin a route of 8 km towards the heart of the Hill. The Quads allow you to enter into ancient geography and penetrate the most attractive corners of Cerro Huyliche.


The adrenaline produced as you advance higher on the tracks is complemented by the arrival at several panoramic points: stunning, unparalleled, panoramic views of Lake Argentino, the Cordillera de Los Andes, and the Labyrinth of Stones (geological formation of the Cretaceous period, which once was the bed of a River). Return to El Calafate in 4WD vehicles.

Daily departures: 10:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m.
Duration: 3 hours
Minimum age 16 years





4- Minitrekking over Perito Moreno Glacier

This is an amazing and unforgettable experience. The tour begins with the pick-up from the meeting point agreed in El Calafate. In our comfortable buses, we will provide information through audio guides available in Spanish, English, and Portuguese about the place, the glacier, and the tour.

Once at “Bajo de las Sombras” port (Ruta 11, km 70.9) you board on a boat to cross the Lago Rico and arrive at the opposite shore after approximately a 20-minute navigation in front of the southern wall of the Perito Moreno Glacier. Once you disembark, you will be greeted by mountain guides, who will lead you to a shelter with sanitary facilities. From there, you will begin a brief walk along the shore of the lake, which includes a talk on glaciology in general and the Perito Moreno Glacier in particular. Upon reaching the edge of the glacier, the guides will form subgroups of a maximum of 20 people each and will fit you with crampons and helmets. Once on the ice, you will receive a brief safety talk and will begin the walk.

Always with the help of our mountain guides, you’ll enjoy this natural ice paradise. The trekking difficulty is moderate and has many ascends and descends, the route on the glacier lasts approximately one and a half hours and, in its course, you will be able to appreciate a variety of typical formations of glacier-like cracks, sumps, seracs, lagoons, etc.

At the end of the walk, you’ll return to the shelter along a walkway crossing the lush Patagonian Andean forest. Shortly afterward, you’ll board the boat to return to the port and see the glacier walls. This tour includes a one-hour guided visit to the walkways of the Perito Moreno Glacier, which is 7 km from the port. There, you’ll enjoy the spectacular panoramic view of the glacier and walk along some of the self-guided paths.

The Minitrekking is oriented for people who enjoy nature, adventure and who want to live the experience of walking on the ice of the most beautiful glacier of the world.

Due to the level of effort and difficulty present in this activity, is not suitable for persons with the following conditions:

  • Overweight.
  • Pregnancy.
  • Children must have sufficient psychophysical capacity to walk for 3 hours, of which 1 hour and a half is on the ice with crampons.
  • Physical or mental disability that affects attention, march or coordination.
  • Peripheral or Central Cardiovascular diseases, use of stent, by-pass, pace-maker or other prosthesis.
  • Use of anticoagulants or varicose veins degree III (tick and multiples).
  • Respiratory diseases (COPD, asthma, emphysema).

Book this wonderful Perito Moreno Minitrekking and enjoy an unforgettable experience!




5-  El Chalten Rafting Experience

Rafting is a wonderful and recreational activity that consists of crossing the river channel in the flow direction (downstream) on a boat; the most common are called rafts, these can be rigid or inflatable. And it´s perfect for enjoying the natural environment.

In the town of El Chalten, Santa Cruz, we found the Rio de Las Vueltas which originates at Lake Desert to 506 meters above the sea. Its most important tributaries are the Rio Electric, and the Rio Fitz Roy both glacial (Marconi Glacier and Glacier Torre respectively). As glacial tributaries, it is a river that has the characteristic whitish stable water levels; or brown in case of rain or snowmelt. The water temperature is between 5 and 7 degrees.


By the morphology of the river and the unique beauty of the place, two new products “Rafting El Chalten” and “Full Day Rafting” offer plenty of adventure and ensuring an exclusive activity (maximum 8 passengers in each raft).

The experience begins when passengers “Rafting El Chalten” arrive at the base in the village, where they will welcome you and be informed about the area (Glacier National Park), and then explain the development of the activity. Each passenger will be provided with the required technical equipment: thermal suit, dry suit, helmet, life jacket, and neoprene boots.

Once passengers are equipped, they are transferred to the entrance area to the river where the guide will give a talk about the technique and safety of the activity, then embarks and starts the activity in the water. The first area consists of four kilometers of calm and meandering waters with Fitz Roy behind us; familiarise ideal area to raft the river and practice paddling techniques needed. The second area is that of the canyon. Having avoided the rapid initial we will find a series of fun and exciting rapids for 8 kms.

We finish the fall with an area of ​​2 km of calm waters. At the end of the tour, we were waiting for our car to take us back to El Chalten

Daily departures 10.00 – 15.00 (every day except Tuesday)
Duration: 4 hours.


For bookings and more information, please contact us at info@ripioturismo.com 


Thank you!





Photos: Thanks to Mil Outdoors

Ramiro Rodriguez
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