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El Calafate, Santa Cruz, Argentina: Overview

El Calafate is a city located in Patagonia region of the Santa Cruz Province of Argentina (South America). The city sits on the southern border of Lake Argentino or Lago Argentino.  El Calafate derives its name from its namesake little bush plant with yellow-colored flower and dark blue berries, which is common in Patagonia.

El Calafate is a popular tourist destination. It’s the hub to visit different parts of the Los Glaciares National Park, including the Perito Moreno Glacier and the Cerro Chaltén and Cerro Torre.

Airport in El Calafate, Santa Cruz

Comandante Armando Tola International Airport

Official Name (Spanish): Aeropuerto Internacional de El Calafate – Comandante Armando Tola

Airport Code: FTE

Location: It is located approximately 21 km (13 mi) east of the city of El Calafate.

Quick Facts: The airport was inaugurated in November 2000, replacing the old Lago Argentino Airport (ING/SAWL). It is now the main entrance to Los Glaciares National Park.

Airline Choices

  • Aerolineas Argentinas (AR): Aerolineas Argentinas is the flag carrier airline of Argentina. Hub airports are Jorge Newbery Airfield (AEP) and Ministro Pistarini International Airport (EZE).
  • Copa Airlines (CM): Copa Airlines is the flag carrier airline of Panama. Tocumen International Airport (PTY) is the hub airport.
  • Avianca (AV): Avianca is the flag carrier airline of Colombia. El Dorado International Airport and San Óscar Arnulfo Romero International Airport (Avianca El Salvador) are its hub airports.

What is the Best time to Visit El Calafate?

The best season to plan your trip is spring and autumn season. But if you wish to enjoy your trip to its fullest, you can go in January and February and enjoy the chilly weather and the mountains on top of their beauty.

Top Attractions in El Calafate

Located in the southern Patagonia of Argentina, El Calafatespell-bound with scenic beauties and kaleidoscopic hues unravels a whole new experience for the travelers. This place is named after a small bush named Calafate. The place once remotely a village has now sprung with many hotels, cafes, state-of-the-art restaurants making it comfortable and picturesque at the same time. There are a couple of places which you shouldn’t miss while you are in the city.

1. Perito Moreno Glacier

El Calafate is known for this glacier, where you can hop on a bus and within 2 hours reach the point from where you can view Perito Moreno Glacier.

2. Glaciarium

This museum located six km outside the city of El Calafate is the center of interpretation with knowledge about everything you ever wanted to know about the glaciers. You can hop on the free shuttle that runs every hour from El Calafate Tourism Bureau to Glaciarium.

3. Torres del Paine National Park

Take out time on your trip and get the view of this picture-perfect Torres del Paine National Park which is perfect for sightseeing, hiking, photography and get a chance to indulge in a picnic, the old school days style. You can even opt for a 4×4 ride on the truck through the fields.

4. Hello y Aventura

You can take a visit to this place by taking a boat ride which can be small or large as per your preference. This is a one-hour boat ride around the glacier body, and you can have the view of the land and the glacier at the same time from your boat.

Adventures in El Calafate

This beautiful, small city bursting with scenic beauty is one of the most adventurous cities. But if you still have some wiggle room apart from the glaciers, these are things you can do in El Calafate.

1. Stroll on the streets of Downtown El Calafate

This city though small but has been swarmed with many cafes, restaurants, clubs, and pubs that have been set up in the recent years for public discourse You can visit to souvenirs shops and also an open-air artisan market which has locally made handicrafts.

2. Visit Local Estancia

you want to get an insight into the Patagonia culture, take a day tour to the Estancia Cristina, where you’ll be embraced with an opportunity to take a tour past the Upsala Glacier.

3. Visit the Petrified forests

El Calafate has vast ranges of nature covering every inch of its horizon. You should trip to La Leona and explore places like the petrified forest, Santa Cruz River, and Argentino Lake. When you are done visiting these places, you can take a detour to Hotel La Leona which is a small historic site and then head to Viedma lake followed by slopes of Los Hornos Hill.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question: How far is El Calafate, Argentina by plane?

Answer: The approximate distance and flight time between El Calafate, Argentina and some popular US cities are as follows:

Departure City

Flight Distance

Flight Time

Time Difference

New York

6,265 miles (10083 km)

13 hours 02 minutes

FTE is 1 hour ahead


5,833 miles (9387 km)

12 hours 10 minutes

FTE is 1 hour ahead


6,209 miles (9992 km)

12 hours 55 minutes

FTE is 1 hour ahead

Dallas Fort/Worth

5,926 miles (9537 km)

12 hours 21 minutes

FTE is 2 hours ahead


5,258 miles (8462 km)

11 hours 01 minute

FTE is 1 hour ahead

Las Vegas

6,500 miles (10461 km)

13 hours 30 minutes

FTE is 4 hours ahead

Question:  What airlines have nonstop flights to El Calafate from the USA?

Answer: No carriers operate nonstop flights to El Calafate.

Question: Which airline has the cheapest air ticket to El Calafate?

Answer: Aerolineas Argentinas

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