Category Archives: El Calafate

Kayak & Trekking Experience Río La Leona

A 14 km full day adventure to discover the delightful La Leona River and take a hike through Los Hornos Mount. Explore a glacial river surrounded by the Patagonian steppe and learn about geology!


In the Santa Cruz province it is said that Río La Leona is one of the most beautiful rivers in the Patagonian steppe. With a 70 km flow of turquoise waters, this glacial river is born at the Viedma Lake and discharges at the Argentino Lake.

An interesting fact: its name was given due to a female puma attack (colloquially called “leona”, which means lioness) that suffered Francisco Pascasio Moreno, the famous Perito Moreno, on an expedition towards the Santa Cruz River in the summer of 1877.

Surrounded by the most arid steppe, with no trees and framed by a wide tiered valley, La Leona provides the scenery for today’s adventure.

After an early pick up from the hotel in El Calafate, we are driven towards Luz Divina, a rural inn. On the way the guide tells us about this faraway place and the river we are about to navigate. Glaciers, flora and fauna complete a very interesting informative talk.

Once at Luz Divina, we get familiar with the kayak equipment and pay attention to the technical brief to know the paddling basics. Even if you don’t have any previous experience kayaking, this activity can be easily done by anyone!

All equipped and instructed, we finally go down to La Leona River. The first paddling stretch takes about an hour and a half. Until we get used to this activity, which for some is the first time ever to get into a kayak, it’s impossible not to be captivated by this outstanding landscape of natural beauty and geological history; to take in this vast environment where the sound of silence is so overwhelming. An untouched scenery that many years ago astonished explorers such as Darwin or Moreno with the contrast of the ocher steppe and the turquoise glacial waters.

The next stop is at Los Hornos Mount, one of the oldest formations in the world. At this mount we take a 2 hs hike discovering the beginnings of Patagonian geography. Petrified trees and dinosaur fossils are witnesses of ancient times where the Earth’s conditions and weather were very different than nowadays.

At this place we will also have a brief lunch (not included) and a hot tea to regain energies for the next paddling stretch.

Back again on our kayaks, after 45 minutes more navigating through La Leona, we reach the final stop of the adventure at Arroyo Turbio. We are welcomed at Estancia La Irene and after settling in and putting away the kayak gear, the team bids farewell with a delicious cold beer before returning to El Calafate.


GENERAL INFORMATION

  • Daily departures. Full day excursion.
  • Operates from October to April.
  • Requires Min. 1 pax – Max. 8 pax.
  • Min. age required is 12 years old.
  • Very active excursion. Implies moderate physical effort. No previous trekking or kayaking experience needed.
  • Pax should wear trekking shoes, comfortable clothes for paddling (thermal t-shirt, polar jacket or sweater, etc.), thermal or lycra leggins, additional underwear (in case it gets wet while kayaking), sunglasses and sunscreen, backpack or bag to keep personal items in the vehicle.

SERVICES INCLUDED

  • Calafate Hotels pick up (starts at 7:30 am) & drop off (4:30 pm). Can be arranged to and from airport depending on flight schedule.
  • Double Kayak and paddles.
  • Safety briefing & Technical equipment: neoprene suit and boots, semi-dry jacket, cockpit cover, helmet, mittens, life jacket, waterproof bag.
  • Bilingual guides (Spanish-English)
  • Snack (hot drinks, cookies or brownies, nuts).
  • Insurance pack for tourism activities.

SERVICES NOT INCLUDED

  • Box lunch.
  • Transfers from/to El Chaltén.

 

Stay Overnight With the Spirit of the Glaciers

A new exclusive and shorter adventure that takes the most out of the Los Glaciares National Park in El Calafate. Navigate on a luxurious vessel, taste gourmet meals and spend the night on board at this magical natural environment.


Much has been said and written about the imposing glaciers in the south of Argentina, specially about the world famous Perito Moreno. But there are no words that can describe the unique feeling you get if you ever have the chance to visit this absolutely gorgeous natural place.

Santa Cruz_Marpatag

The vastness of these deep blue ice giants, cold turquoise waters, a lush green forest, the occasional chilled wind, starry nights and the sound of silence…a spectacle of nature that leaves you breathless and a memory that will be a part of you forever. Los Glaciares National Park can be considered as a wild sanctuary where visitors are lucky to pass by, if only for a day.      

For those who wish to experiment this icy encounter in a more intimate and exclusive way, The Spirit of the Glaciers is the perfect expedition. An that used to offer a 2 night program but that now has incorporated a 1 night option, if the passing through El Calafate is a bit shorter.

Sail and rest on board the elegant Santa Cruz, a three deck vessel specially designed for this activity including high end and comfortable commodities and a gourmet cuisine restaurant.

Lounge_Santa Cruz_Marpatag

The new 1 night program begins at 9 am embarking at La Soledad, a private deck in Bahía Tranquila. After checking in, the navigation towards the Perito Moreno Glacier begins sailing pleasantly through the Canal de los Témpanos until the northern front. At around 10.30 am we will disembark to walk on the balconies and contemplate this impressive ice wall. Lunch is back on board in the restaurant and still enjoying the view of the glacier from the wide windows.

Lounge view_Santa Cruz_Marpatag

In the afternoon the navigation continues first to the Upsala Glacier, through the Brazo Norte and then towards the historical Puesto de Las Vacas in Bahía Alemana, where we will disembark again for an easy hike to an old port. At this spot we will also taste our first dinner and spend the night on board. Be ready to be dazzled by a sunset that provides a show of contrasting colours against the blue waters and ice floes; and then by a deep dark night sky that reflects the milky way on the Argentino Lake.

The next morning, after an ensured rest and a tasty gourmet breakfast, another relaxed hike in Puesto de Las Vacas awaits. We will be back on board at around 11.30 am to keep on sailing towards Canal Spegazzini, where lunch will be served facing the Upsala Glacier and where we will also watch icebergs.

Bed_Santa Cruz_Marpatag

The expedition will come to an end sailing back gently to Bahía Tranquila in the afternoon, contemplating this unique natural scenario and wonder of nature until the very last minute.

To take part on The Spirit of the Glaciers between September and December 2017 (except during holidays), ask your Kallpa Account Executive for a special promotion for early bookings before July 31st, available for 1 or 2 nights program.

Santa Cruz03_Marpatag


GENERAL INFORMATION
    • Feasible from September 2017 to April 2018.
    • Departures are always from La Soledad private deck in bahía Tranquila (Paraje Punta Bandera).
    • 1 Night Program will depart on Wednesdays and return on Thursdays at 4 pm.
    SERVICES INCLUDED FOR 1 NIGHT PROGRAM:
    • One night on board in a cabin with private room and external view.
    • Full board service with alcoholic beverages at meals.
    • Service of soft beverages and infusions during navigation.
    • On board activities conducted by a bilingual guide (English/Spanish).
    • Transfers from and to Hotel in El Calafate.
    • Entrance fee to Los Glaciares National Park,
    M/V SANTA CRUZ COMFORT & TECHNICAL SPECIFICATIONS
    • 20 en-suite cabins with outside view distributed in two levels.
    • Ample deck space above the main lounge as well as the stern and bow deck Restaurant, library, lounge and bar
    • Full board service including alcoholic drinks with meals
    • Hot beverages and soft drinks while sailing
    • All activities with bilingual guide (Spanish-English)
    • Fully equipped kitchen
    • Length: 40.5 metres Beam: 10 metres
    • Pontoon Beam: 2.1 metres Draught: 1.2 metres
    • Hull and Superstructure built in Aluminium Engines: 2 x 1000 HP Caterpillar
    • Cruise speed: 19 knots
    • Maximum capacity: 40 passengers

Horseback riding at Estancia Rio Mitre

Get closer to nature and live a rustic countryside riding experience at a traditional Patagonian estancia looking over the Lago Argentino.


Estancia Río Mitre is a working family ranch and farm located 40 minutes from El Calafate and only 30 km from the Perito Moreno Glacier. Alighted on an area of risen ground and overlooking the Lago Argentino, Río Mitre provides breathtaking views all around.

Estancia Rio Mitre_Calafate
Estancia Rio Mitre

So close but yet so far from modern technology, this is the place to visit to get away and make yourself unreachable for a while: no WiFi, no 3G, no mobile signal. You will surely relax visiting this far off land, spending the day or stopping by for tea on the way back from the Perito Moreno.

Animals run free here…guanacos, dogs, chickens, sheep, lambs and horses. Even a grey fox visits from time to time; you may be lucky and meet him. All of them are very friendly and are used to pose for pictures with the visitors. Take as many selfies as you like with all of them!

Free sheep!
Free sheep!

Besides animals and landscapes, the main attraction in Río Mitre is the horseback riding experience. The estancia offers different options, even longer rides for 10 days, but brief travellers may spend half day in the morning or in the afternoon and ride too.   

Riding the steppe
Riding the steppe

In the morning, around 9 am, the estancia staff will pick you up from your hotel in Calafate and drive you for almost 60 km. Part of the road is on gravel, so the adventure begins before arriving. On the way, the Patagonian steppe at its peak will offer a unique scenery with a far away horizon and wide lands, passing by several ranches. This is also a good opportunity to observe diverse bird species in the wild.

Once arriving to Río Mitre, a warm welcome by Esteban Echeverría -the estancia´s owner and a natural storyteller- and other attentive staff members that will invite you with coffee or the traditional mate and delicious tortas fritas (homemade fried pastries).

Gaucho riding at lake shore
Gaucho riding at lake shore

After settling in, a guide that will join you during the whole horseback riding will take you to the stable to meet your horse for the ride. Once everyone is comfortable with the assigned steeds, the journey will begin.

Ready to ride
Ready to ride

Always surrounded by dreamy landscapes, the ride will take you crossing the valley and, for starters, to the first settlement of the Echeverría family at early twentieth century. Then, a visit to an ancient indigenous camp. The way back to the stable will be by the shore of the Rico arm of Lago Argentino, watching and learning about flora and fauna along the whole valley.

Into the wild
Into the wild

The significant beauty of nature and the feeling of freedom riding through these vast lands is overwhelming and hard to explain; it´s only possible to describe through the experience itself. This is a place to fall for unforgettable sunsets and long summer days in close contact with nature, feeling at ease and free.

The mighty Patagonian steppe
The mighty Patagonian steppe

Certainly the ride will make you hungry, but not to worry! Lunch will be waiting for you: taste a delicious Patagonian country asado and share a table full with conversation and stories. Once you’re finished, at around 2 pm we will get back to El Calafate town.

After an exhilarating morning outdoors and a fulfilling meal, the drive probably will make you fall in and out of sleep, blending the Patagonian steppe outside and the memories of a fun and unique experience at almost the end of the world.

For more information about this horseback riding experience and other options at Estancia Río Mitre, please contact your Kallpa Tour executive.

Sunset at Estancia Rio Mitre
Sunset at Estancia Rio Mitre

GENERAL INFORMATION
  • This excursion may be shared with other guests.
  • Includes transfers, infusions with fried pastries, 2 hs horseback riding with guide, barbecue with salads for lunch.
  • Drinks not included.
  • Rides available in the afternoon also, different itinerary.