AUG 19, 2001
Patagonia: Lodging and Dining Information
My round-trip ticket from Buenos Aires to El Calafate on Aerolineas Argentinas cost $436.50, including tax. Traveling in and around Los Glaciares National Park can be done by bus or car. The regular tourist bus from El Calafate to Perito Moreno costs $35, and hiring a car and driver costs $150 a day or more depending on the route.
We used Patagonia Travel, Avenida Córdoba 456-17C in Buenos Aires, (54-11) 4312-1172. The total cost for two of us was more than $4,500. Patagonia turned out to be a lucky choice, because our agent worked out all the complicated arrangements.
We had a good experience with Camino Abierto, which offers a variety of adventure expeditions in and around the park. Its Buenos Aires office is at Maipú 42, telephone and fax (54-11) 4345-6375; http://www.caminoabierto.com/.
The season runs from November to April, and many accommodations close after that.
Where to Stay
There are a number of places to stay, ranging from campsites in El Chaltén, to hostels to four-star hotels and lodges, to estancias, or traditional Argentine ranches.
In El Calafate we stayed at the Hotel Posada Los Álamos, one of the premier hotels of southern Patagonia, (54-2902) 491-144, http://www.posadalosalamos.com/. The hotel is cozy and attractive, although the staff is not always well organized. A double room in high season runs $188 a night.
In El Chaltén we stayed at two hotels. The better of the two was Hostería El Puma, (54-2962) 493-017, which offers a double room at $130 with warmly decorated rooms appointed with photographs of trekking and mountain climbing. The other is called La Aldea Apart Hotel, Avenida Güemes s/n, (54-2962) 493-040. A double at high season costs $66. An apartment for up to four people costs $110 a night.
There are estancias in and around the park that offer a more rural ambience. The Web site www.estanciasdesantacruz.com is a good place to research them and the services they offer.
Where to Eat
Dining in El Calafate and El Chalten is not great. But lamb is usually a safe bet, and local pizzerias can be a good choice. Wine tends to be twice the price as in Buenos Aires due to transportation costs.
In El Calafate, La Tablita, Coronel Rosales 28, (54-2902) 91065, specializes in grilled meats and pastas. Dinner for two ranges from $30 to $60.
La Cocina, Avenida Libertador 1245, (54-2902) 91758, offered nice soups, crepes and pastas at reasonable prices. A dinner for two ranges between $15 and $40.
We found that the best dining in El Chalten could be found at La Aldea, near the entrance to town. Dinner for two, from $35 to $70.