Recommendations to travel to El Calafate

Required documentation:

Those who visit this region from Argentina or any of its bordering countries, should only carry the Document with which they move normally. That is, you will not be required to have a passport. This rule also applies to those who wish to make excursions to Chile. As for visitors from non-bordering countries, they must have their passport updated along with their Assistance Insurance. Visa requirements must be consulted at their respective embassies.

Tourist infomation about all the excursions you can do in the Glaciers National Park and in the city of El Calafate

About the tourist season

Booking of accommodation and other services:
Generally speaking, the season starts in October and ends in April, although the peak season is recorded in January and February. From the second half of December and throughout the high season, it is imperative to make advance reservations for accommodation and other tourist services. It is more than advisable to make reservations with a minimum of two months in advance to get the desired accommodation. If not, you probably will not get the comforts that best fit your requirements.
Because Los Glaciares National Park was declared «World Heritage» by UNESCO in 1981, its worldwide fame attracts visitors from all over the world: the advantage will be to share the stay and excursions with travelers from different cultures; the disadvantage, will be the great demand for accommodation and excursions.
The visit to the tourist stays is a growing tourist modality, so it is also advisable to announce our arrival in advance if you are planning to stay in one of these establishments. There are options that include accommodation for one or two nights, excursions and lunch. If your intention is just to spend the day in one of them, the reservation requirements are logically smaller.

The weather:

The high season coincides with the summer. The great extent of the region of the glaciers presents variations in the climate, but it can be said that it will be all the more humid the closer we get to the Cordillera and the Continental Ice field and the colder the more we rise above sea level . As for the rains, they decrease in the West-East direction. A remarkable aspect is the duration of the day, which on the longest day of the year (December 21) reaches 17 hours of sunlight. To get a better idea of ​​the climate in your visit, we detail the climatic differences between the two tourist locations:
– El Calafate is located 200 meters above sea level (msnm) on the shores of Lake Argentino. In the summer the climate is dry, sunny, cool and windy; the average temperature is 20 ° C, but it can reach 30 ° C maximum and a minimum of 10 ° C; the winds are moderate but can reach gusts up to 120 km per hour.
– El Chaltén is located in the middle of the Andes Mountains, at 430 masl with prevailing winds of NO-O direction throughout the year. In the summer the climate is cool, windy and very variable; the average temperature is 18 ° C but can reach 30 ° C maximum and a minimum of 5 ° C; the winds are frequent and sometimes they can reach blasts of more than 150 km per hour.

Clothing recommendations

The Patagonia Austral and especially the cordilleran zone possess an extremely changing and unstable climate, in the term of hours we can feel an intense heat when the sun gives direct us and in minutes we can be under an intense rain, with very low temperatures and winds therefore it is important to be able to fully enjoy the activities carried out here to take into account the recommendations we will describe regarding clothing and other items.
Worth a visit as it represents a unique experience.
When choosing clothes and items to bring, keep in mind that the months of January and February are the most windy (65% of the days have winds over 50 kms) therefore for example the caps must be adjusted or possessing restraint, if they use layers of rain they should not be very wide because they fly, etc. During the autumn months the wind is milder but the temperatures drop (Average: 18 ° with a minimum of 6 ° during the morning or night) and during the winter months temperatures drop below zero and more warm clothing is required and thick.
Clothing: the concept to use is that of the onion peel (many thin layers) that allows us to have only the necessary clothing put on. Being very warm during the walks will make them sweat and moisten clothes that are attached to the body which causes a lot of cold when we stop walking.
Jumper: waterproof type (For rain and prevents the wind from going through it) rather thick, it is important that you have rain hood if you have better detachable interior. They are ideal that have closures at the level of the armpits (20 cms) that allow to ventilate the body and regulate the temperature. Short campers are not recommended (at waist height) as they do not protect well from cold and wind the back and waist area.
Slippers: Ideal trekking style with a very rugged sole (non-smooth type tennis) if they are mediacaña MUCH better because they protect the ankles, the soles must be thick so as not to feel the stones in the soles of the feet, ideal of colors dark, brown, etc. help to get dirty less (At least not notice, white gets dirty at 10 minutes). No high heels or platforms! If they buy new ones, try to use them for at least a few hours at home.

Since the days in the summer are long – light until 22:30 hs.- and the sun exposure is very strong, in addition to a cap or hat do not forget to wear sunscreen with UV filter of factor 30 or higher (es highly recommended also the use of lenses with UV filter, especially in front of glaciers). At low temperatures batteries and batteries are consumed more quickly, so you should always have at least one extra set of them. Another thing to keep in mind: in this region do not abound pesky insects (especially in the heights), but never use a repellent.

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