What to do

Riding: El Calafate

Probably better known for glaciers, but it also boasts some superb riding

El Calafate and El Chalten - Trails
El Calafate and El Chalten - Trails

Riding is not the first thing that springs to mind when you consider El Calafate and western Patagonia. This area of Argentina has become a destination for viewing and walking on glaciers and ice flows…but it does actually offer a fair amount for those that are “saddle” inclined. Dotted amongst the sparse and rolling tundra are a series of small, often still working, estancias. Often punctuated by the tall poplar trees that serve as wind breaks, the riding, while not taxing, is always a visual feast.

El Calafate is probably more of a destination to head to if you are looking to see the glaciers and do some walking rather than being an out and out destination for horse riding. This being said, however, there are still a few really good accommodation and estancias that do offer horse riding and, with the open Patagonian Steppe leading up to the jagged mountains of the Andes, it is a very interesting area to spend a few hours on horse back and can provide some amazing views.

Unlike many areas of Patagonia, the estancias here are still very much working farms and so it can be an interesting idea to spend a day out at one of these farms to see the traditional methods they use to both herd and farm their livestock. Similar to the experiences offered around the Pampas, a day out is more about the experience of being in this stunning wilderness rather than the horses, but it something we firmly recommend.

When to go to El Calafate for riding:

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    At a glance…Western Patagonia

  • Size: 250,000 sq kms
  • Location: Southern Argentina
  • Recommended time: 3 to 5 nights
  • Time to visit: September to April
  • Go here for: Walking, the southern ice shelf, The Perito Moreno glacier
  • Further reading...

  • › Nature and wildlife
  • › Walking
  • › El Calafate
  • › What to do in El Calafate
  • Our Top Five Horse Riding Hotels in El Calafate and El Chalten:

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