We describe in this post travel information of El Calafate city. We can start commenting that Libertador Avenue divides the town in two: one part in this avenue and Lake Argentino and another toward the south to the slopes of the neighboring hills.
All activity takes place on the main avenue: there, along about 600 meters, there are the shops, the eateries, travel agencies, business souvenirs and regional products, and everything necessary for tourists.
The tour begins by the oldest streets of the town, where the pioneering buildings, bricks and adobe houses, which retain their original appearance. In this environment highlights the Administration of National Parks, a building declared Municipal Historical Monument.
After a stroll through the surrounding fields lets you see how fine fruit, a typical production of Patagonia are grown.
Finally, a little further away, you can find Walichu Caves, where archaeological traces of the first inhabitants of the region are. They are natural caves that were used by prehistoric men.
You can also take a tour of the Paseo coast that borders the Bahía Redonda. It is the place chosen by the locals to walk and enjoy the view of the lake during the summer months. And it’s also access to the frozen bay, where ice skating is practiced during the winter months.
Note that although El Calafate is a small town, is very long, so you may need to take a taxi or remise to get downtown.
Punta Walichu, just 9 km. the center of El Calafate, housed in their original caves cave paintings and other modern reproduced. Walichu or Gualicho is the name of a deity tehuelche (in language Aonikenk). And the name is very well placed, because this is a place with something magical.
The first inhabitants of this land, probably ancestors of the Tehuelches, from the north at the time of the Ice Age were hunting peoples. So they printed on the walls of these caves drawings that show how to hunt and what were the animals that lived with them were. Also the classic «painted hands» and the strange labyrinths that probably represented the hard way traffic beyond.
Original cave paintings and replicas Punta Walichu
Thanks to his skill and knowledge to use the dyes we can still admire these testimonies of those who preceded us in these distant lands.
The original paintings were discovered by Francisco Perito Moreno in 1877 and have an approximate age of 4000 years. Along with these you can see, on the cliffs, reproductions of rock art samples from other parts of the Province of Santa Cruz.
The tour begins in El Calafate. Take Avenida Libertador to the Provincial Route 11, paved. There continue to km. 6 where you have to turn left onto a footprint of about three kilometers that will take you to the parking lot, by Lake Argentino. You will find a trail that descends to the beach and to bring you to the Interpretation Center of the Estancia 25 de Mayo, where there is a confectionery and a place that sells souvenirs. From there on a guide will take you to the caves.