El Calafate


Photo of El Calafate

About El Calafate

This small lakeside town in Patagonia (population 6000) may not be on most people's Patagonia itineraries, but it's a good jumping off point for exploring the region's glaciers in the Los Glaciares National Park — in particular the spectacular Perito Moreno Glacier, a little over an hour's drive to the west, an awe inspiring experience with its constantly cracking ice. Below, we’ve selected some of the best places to stay in El Calafate and its surroundings, to make the most of this stunning region, from boutique hotels or the more traditional places to stay in the heart of Calafate town itself, to ranches and hideaway lodges in the midst of some of the most spectacular scenery in Patagonia. For places to stay within the national park, see Best Places to Stay in El Chalten.

However, the town of El Calafate is also definitely worth a visit in its own right. There are a maze of small bars and restaurants in the town centre, and the whole place has a very chilled vibe. Views of Lake Argentino are everywhere, and if you are lucky you may spot some of the famous flamingos — and if that takes your fancy, a 20 minute walk from the town centre will bring you to the Reserva Laguna Nimez, which is a paradise for birders. Meanwhile, geography enthusiasts should fit in a visit to the Glaciarium museum, which gives a fantastic insight into the history of the local terrrain.

Being by the lake and surrounded by mountains on all sides, there are a range of excellent places to stay in El Calafate which offer spectacular views — not to mention photogenic sunrises and sunsets.

Please bear in mind that this charming little town is a popular destination. If you plan to visit this region during peak season and want to guarantee a bed in one of the best places to stay in El Calafate, you'll need to be organised and book well ahead.

The best places to stay in and around El Calafate

For something special

  • 25 minutes out of El Calafate to the west along the lake, Eolo is a remote luxury lodge with breathtaking views over both lakes and mountains. Come here for a truly magnificent once in a lifetime experience.
  • Further out and reached by boat, Estancia Cristina is a secluded lodge 60km up Lake Argentino, nestled amidst glorious scenery. Large windows let in plenty of light and the restaurant offers some fantastic regional dishes along with a wine list to be envied. This is the perfect spot from which to explore the National Park.
  • For something more affordable, though not so remote, check out Blanca Patagonia, which is just outside town and offers great views of the lake. As well as staying in the main hotel, they offer standalone cabins, or if you fancy a hot tub, book the luxury suite.

In El Calafate town

  • Right in the centre of town, the Esplendor El Calafate offers contemporary design, reasonable rates, a great bar and restaurant, and stunning views over the lake and the town.
  • On the northern edge of El Calafate, the Posada Los Alamos, located closer to the lake, is a modern hotel with all the facilities you will need, including a decent size pool and a spa. It's well set up for business meetings and corporate events, with El Calafate town and Lake Argentina on its doorstep.
  • For a more traditional feel, the alpine inspired Hotel Kosten Aike nearby offers great accommodation for families, including a sauna, hot tubs and billiards. It offers a good, affordable base for exploring the surroundings.

Stay in Style

  • For something boutique in feel, the 18 room La Cantera offers individual cabins, cosy and romantic, great for couples and with the two room option, for families or small groups. The sun terrace overlooking the lake offers great sunrises and sunsets.
  • Hotel Kau Yatun is a charming traditional hideaway surrounded by pine forests at the top of the town, and is a great example of the area’s architecture. Cosy rooms, a picturesque setting and an excellent restaurant make this a comfortable and affordable option.
  • Finally, if you really want to be lakeside but not far from the centre, try the Design Suites Calafate, with its spectacular views. A rather austere blend of wood and stone make it the top design choice for those of you who appreciate a harmonious blend of man and nature.

For a ranch experience

  • 50km west of El Calafate, Estancia Nibepo Aike offers a genuine ranch experience. They specialise in riding tours to explore hidden glaciers. Come home to cosy accommodation and regional cuisine.

For an apartment or villa

  • If you've decided that a self catering property would be more suitable for your holiday, then we recommend you visit our online booking partner Booking.com where they have a wide selection for all tastes and budgets.

Travel Information

  • The simplest way is to reach El Calafate is to fly to El Calafate airport, just 20km east of the town, which has regular flights from all of Argentina's main airports.

  • For the warmest and driest weather aim to visit El Calafate between October and March. Even at these times, however, you’ll need a jumper or two!

  • If you plan to hire a car, check out the range and prices with our online partner Rentalcars.

Still not sure?


Monthly Weather in El Calafate

Best Hotels in El Calafate

  • Blanca Patagonia El Calafate (Santa Cruz) 13 rooms from £55

    Back to Nature  -  Located in the breathtaking natural landscape of the Argentinian Patagonia, this hotel makes a great retreat to nature
    Hideaway  -  Hideout in a private cabin at this boutique hotel; there is a restaurant and spa on-site, so there's no need to leave
    Local exploring  -  This hotel makes a great base for exploring Lake Argentina and the surrounding area
    Sights nearby  -  Organize an excursion to the Isla Solitaria or lonesome island; the deserted island offers beautiful natural landscapes
    SpaRestaurantGardenViewsParkingNo pets

    This hotel offers boutique accommodation in Santa Cruz, Argentina. Guests can choose rooms in the inn or a private cabin; rooms are traditionally dressed and have exposed wooden beams and cosy, carpeted floors. Book a luxury suite for a private hot tub. Dine at the chic restaurant; a charming hotel. See More

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  • Hotel Kau Yatun El Calafate 40 rooms from £94

    Active Holiday  -  Set in the Patagonian steppe, the perfect terrain for outdoor pursuits.
    Sights nearby  -  Marvel at the outstanding terrain of the glaciers of Parque Nacional Los Glaciares.
    Outstanding location  -  Framed by pine forests at the top of the town.
    Full of character  -  Tradionally styled rooms
    RestaurantGardenViewsNo pets

    A stunning rural property framed by a picturesque pine forests. Quaint rooms are light and airy with cream hues and floral motifs. Sample hearty regional dishes in the atmospheric restaurant and drink local wines in the bar. A charming base from which to explore the region. See More

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  • Posada los Alamos El Calafate (El Calafate,) 144 rooms from £98

    Business meetings  -  Large conference rooms and banquetting facilities make this venue ideal for a corporate event with a difference
    Families  -  Hotel Posada is welcoming to families with large rooms and babysitting services
    Spa breaks  -  Relax in the spa after a day spent hiking in the gorgeous surrounds
    Sights nearby  -  El Calafate is a traditional Argentine town with museums, cafes and bars to explore
    Air conditioningSpaRestaurantSwimming PoolGardenNo pets
    Recommended by  -  Fodors

    A beautiful building of brick dark quebracho wood boasting a fully-equipped spa, swimming pool, two bars and a restaurant offering a range of local and international gourmet meals. Rooms are cosy and uniquely decorated and come with a minibar and impressive views of El Calafate or Lake Argentino. See More

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  • Esplendor El Calafate El Calafate 57 rooms from £129

    Active Holiday  -  This is the ideal place for an active getaway with hiking, skiing, mountain biking, fishing and many more besides
    Back to Nature  -  Take a hike to the famed Perito Moreno glacier, or wander the shores of the beautful lake Argentino
    Total relaxation  -  Feel all your cares and woes slip away as your are massaged and pampered in the spa
    Great walks  -  There is something for all abilites from an afternoon stroll to a week long hike throguh the mountains
    Air conditioningSpaRestaurantSwimming PoolViewsParking

    An elegant hotel overlooking the turquoise, glacial waters of Lake Argentino. The interiors echo the raw natural beauty found beyond the numerous windows- think fur lined chairs, hardwood floors and antler chandeliers. Feast on Patagonian dishes, heavy on meats and rich red wines. A sumptuous treat. See More

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  • Hotel Kosten Aike El Calafate 80 rooms from £139

    Groups  -  The hotel can accomadate large groups and has facilities on site to cater for large parties and events
    Families  -  A fun spot for all the family - with hot tubs and sauna, ping pong and billiards and plenty more
    Sights nearby  -  The Upsala Glacier is a short drive from the property and is a spectacular sight to behold
    Great walks  -  This is superb countryside for those keen on getting out and about.
    Air conditioningSpaRestaurantGardenDisabled accessViewsParking

    An Alpine inspired hotel sitting just outside the town of Calafate. The traditional interiors offer comfort and class, and the welcoming staff will make you feel right at home. Enjoy typical Argentine food in the restaurant and pampering treatments in the spa. A great option for all the family. See More

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  • La Cantera El Calafate 18 rooms from £120

    Groups  -  Guests can choose to hire a wooden cabin with two spacious rooms, dining room and kitchen - ideal for small groups
    Active Holiday  -  Discover outstanding glaciers and the lakes Argentino and Roca- perfect for trekking and climbing
    Views  -  The hotel has a wonderful terrace with views over the lake - a great spot for sunrises and sunsets
    Boutique  -  Just 18 rooms, each done up cosily and in style.
    RestaurantViewsNo pets
    Recommended by  -  Great Small Hotels

    A stunning boutique hotel offering unbeatable views of the Patagonian landscape with floor-to-ceiling windows in the cosy bar and private balconies with every room. The on-site restaurant serves fine Argentinian cuisine in a rustic traditional mountain lodge setting. See More

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  • Los Ponchos El Calafate 11 rooms from £125

    Local exploring  -  With a central location in El Calafate, this hotel is a great base for local exploing in Santa Cruz
    Romantic Break  -  Couples love the cosy rooms at this hotel; book the Mansard Suite for great views
    Families  -  Book the independent lodge for family-sized living space and a charming garden
    Birdwatching  -  Go birdwatching at Laguna Nimez, an important site that is frequented by many local bird species
    RestaurantGardenDisabled accessViewsParkingNo pets
    Recommended by  -  Great Small Hotels

    This boutique hotel occupies a heritage property in El Calafate, part of the Argentine Patagonia. Choose from rooms, apartments or a private lodge with cosy, inviting interiors in a neutral palette; book the lodge for family-sized living space. Request a lunch-box for day trips; a charming hotel. See More

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  • Design Suites Calafate El Calafate 60 rooms from £190

    Back to Nature  -  Offering beautiful views of Lago Argentino and the surrounding landscape, this hotel makes a unique back-to-nature retreat
    Local exploring  -  This hotel is perfectly placed for local exploring in the Argentine Patagonia; book local tours through the hotel
    Romantic Break  -  Couples love the cosy hotel interiors and chic spa; book a luxury suite for a private hot tub
    Sights nearby  -  Take a trip to the Isla Solitaria, an island in the middle of the Argentine Lake which is home to a quiet provincial church
    Air conditioningSpaRestaurantSwimming PoolGardenViewsParkingNo pets
    Recommended by  -  Tablet

    Built of wood and stone, this stylish Patagonian hotel offers amazing views of Lago Argentino just outside Calafate. Guestrooms feature soft carpets, cosy throws and chic design pieces; book the junior suite for a private spa bath, and have dinner at the restó bar before a sauna and swim. See More

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  • Eolo 9405 El Calafate 17 rooms from £858

    Back to Nature  -  Situated in a magically remote Patagonian location, next to Argentina's largest lake with views stretching over the Andes.
    Outstanding location  -  Plenty of glass afford incredible views over a wide landscape
    Birdwatching  -  There are an exciting array of birds to be spotted in the area.
    Restrictions on children  -  Children over 12 are welcome.
    RestaurantSwimming PoolGardenDisabled accessViewsParkingNo pets
    Recommended by  -  I Escape, Relais & Chateaux, CN Traveller

    A remote luxury lodge with an outstanding location. Rooms are simply designed with emphasis given to the surrounding views, admired from enormous windows and terraces. Sample gourmet cuisine in the restaurant and unwind in the fabulous spa. Discover authentic Argentina in serious style. See More

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