This is an outing like no other. Visitors will sail amidst the ice floes, hike to the Upsala Glacier and finally enter one of the most beautiful estancias in Patagonia.
Much had we heard about famous estancia Cristina and, the truth was that we had that excursion as a priority none of us wished to miss. According to comments, it involved a navigation across Lake Argentino to land at the estancia (only accessible through the lake). During the voyage, we would approach the huge ice floes that float adrift as passengers observe them from a luxurious catamaran.
The people who search for a place surrounded by woods, lakes and impressive glaciers to enjoy rural tourism have the chance to visit one of the most symbolic venues in the southern region, very close to El Calafate; namely, estancia Cristina.
Its privileged location offers the best land access to the Upsala Glacier and the continental ice field, which turns this site into a paradise second to none. Visitors may choose to stay all day or two days in order to see this wonderful venue, as they can stay overnight.
Cabañas y restaurante
Desembarco en la estancia
Navegando por el Lago Argentino
Excursión a la montaña Upsala
Mirador a el glaciar Upsala
Regreso al casco de la estancia
To reach estancia Cristina, we got on board a luxurious catamaran at Paraje de la Cruz, 40 kilometers away from El Calafate, at Punta Bandera Port. This watercraft leaves very early in the morning.
Before reaching the estancia, where a fleet of 4WD vehicles was waiting for us to tour around and reach one of the Upsala Glacier walls by land, we sailed around ice floes and imposing scenes. The icebergs floating adrift provided a magical sensation to the voyage.
One of the most beautiful shows is put up by calving. The wind, the sun and the rain give shape to the glacier, creating various figures chosen by visitors for their photographs.
We particularly chose the Discovery Upsala tour, which consists in navigating Lake Argentino and its northern arm to the estancia and then access an impressive viewpoint on a 4WD vehicle where it is possible to observe the vastness of one of the faces of the glacier.
Until a while ago, the watercraft used to access the main wall of the Upsala, but a big calving event gave origin to an ice barrier that prevents the boat from taking this route.
The view from the Upsala vantage point is really spectacular. When the trucks left us, we went on a hiking tour that deposited us right in front of the glacier before we could notice. Its beautiful hues appeared before us at once. We were fascinated.
On our way back to the estancia, after an intense reconnaissance of the surroundings, we were told the history of the venue and its ancestors. We ended up sitting at the dining-room, a place specially prepared to entertain guests.
Carefully selected products, including the best Argentinian meat, Patagonian lamb and the tasty smoked cheese, make this time of the day a unique experience for the palate.
In the afternoon, visitors may drop by the estancia museum and see all the objects and elements on display. Afterwards, we went back to the catamaran to return to Puerto Bandera, our final destination.
Pablo Etchevers Jorge González
Contact of the excursion or tour
Av del Libertador 1033 (9405) El Calafate, Santa Cruz, ArgentinaTel: +54 2902-491133
See more points of interest in El Calafate