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Which Town in Patagonia is Better?

A huge white glacier in the distance, surrounded by navy blue mountains topped with streaky snow.

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El Calafate vs. El Chaltén. Which town is better? And if you only have time to visit one town in Argentine Patagonia, which town should you visit?

I was lucky to visit both El Calafate and El Chaltén on my trip to Patagonia, and I was struck by the fact that both towns look similar on paper, but they feel quite different in real life.

And so I know I had to write this post for all of you planning trips to Patagonia. Visiting Patagonia is a time-consuming endeavor, and many people don’t have time to visit both El Calafate and El Chaltén.

Should you go to both? OF COURSE you should go to both if you have the time and money! But if you have limited time on your trip, this post will help you figure out whether you should prioritize El Calafate or El Chaltén.

This post was published in February 2024.

Perito Moreno Glacier near El Calafate, Argentina

El Calafate vs. El Chaltén: The Basics

El Calafate and El Chaltén are two of the most popular towns to visit in Argentine Patagonia. Each town is placed on the edge of Los Glaciares National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site: El Calafate to the south, and El Chaltén to the north.

Both El Calafate and El Chaltén offer plenty of options for lovers of the outdoors; both towns have lots of guided tours available; both towns have accommodation for travelers of all budgets.

Both towns are very busy during high season in Patagonia, from December through March. And both towns have a lot of craft…

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