El Calafate is a laidback small town in the far south of Argentina’s Patagonia region. It’s growing by leaps and bounds, but still retains an unhurried and relaxed pace. The main street is tourist-y, yes, but it still has appeal. And El Calafate has two big draws that mean you’ll probably pass through here at some point. First, it’s midway between Torres del Paine, Chile and El Chalten, Argentina, making it a natural stopping point on the trekking circuit. Second, it’s the closest point to the spectacular Perito Moreno glacier, 80 km away in Parque Nacional Los Glaciares.
The town itself is pleasant as well, with an eclectic array of offerings for your entertainment and dining pleasure. It is well-conneted by bus and air to points throughout Argentina, and its bus station is centrally located. Be warned, however, that its airport is located some distance outside town and it`s an expensive shuttle ride to your hostel.
El Calafate hostels are numerous and are scattered throughout town, most within walking distance of the main street. Shuttles from the airport will drop you off at your hostel's door. It’s advisable to book ahead during peak season, as beds fill up quickly.