Buenos Aires to El Calafate: How to Travel
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Known as the capital of glaciers, El Calafate is home to 48 glaciers, including the famous Perito Moreno Glacier. The region is a popular travel destination in Argentine Patagonia, especially among hikers. Located on the southern border of the Santa Cruz Province, it has the most accessible route from Buenos Aires, 1,500 miles (2,400 km) away. So, starting your trip from Buenos Aires to El Calafate is a no-brainer.
Ways to Get to El Calafate from Buenos Aires
There are many ways to get from Buenos Aires to El Calafate, including train, bus, and flight. Find out which option is the fastest, most comfortable, and cheapest on your trip to El Calafate.
A train is more comfortable than a bus and will get you to El Calafate on schedule. unfortunately, there is no direct rail service from Buenos Aires to El Calafate. You will have to travel 636 kilometers from Buenos Aires to Bahía Blanca first, a journey that takes around 13 hours. Also, unlike other modes of transport, trains on this route operate only three to four times a week. Trenes Argentinos uses rail services that depart from Constitución station and terminate at Bahía Blanca station. After that, you will have to take a bus to El Calafate. Your journey will cost you anywhere between USD 100 and USD 170.
- Due to the limited number of trains that travel to Bahía Blanca, you are advised to book your tickets well in advance.
- Keep the ticket even after getting on board, as it is requested occasionally.
- When purchasing your ticket, you must authenticate your identity with your ID card or passport.
- Make sure to reach the train station at least 2 hours in advance.
Those who opt for the scenic route frequently take a bus from Buenos Aires to El Calafate. This journey takes about 46 hours and costs about USD 140, making it the most extensive and least expensive means of transport. We recommend that you take the bus from either Liniers or Moreno. Every day, more than 30 buses leave Buenos Aires for El Calafate. The travel time may vary depending on traffic, as buses make 71 stops before arriving in El Calafate.
- Regular bus services are provided between Buenos Aires and El Calafate by Crucero Del Norte, Via Bariloche, Chalten Travel, and Marga Taqsa. As there are multiple bus operators, compare prices avail the best rate.
- Booking your bus ticket online is recommended, as most bus operators only have one bus that drives to El Calafate.
- As this is a long bus ride, pick a seat that allows you to recline and one that is not next to the toilet.
- Travel delays could occur when traveling on a bus. However, we still recommend that you arrive at the bus stop at least 15 minutes before departure.
The majority of travelers choose to take a flight from Buenos Aires to El Calafate via the Buenos Aires Ministro Pistarini International Airport. The flight takes about 3h and 15 minutes, making it the fastest mode of transport to reach El Calafate. Alternatively, you can take a flight from Buenos Aires Jorge Newbery Airfield. While flights are the most comfortable way to travel, it is the most expensive mode of transport. If lucky, you can get the ticket for USD 120, or else it could cost you USD 200 to USD 480 or more, depending on when you book the flight.
- Several airlines fly from Buenos Aires to El Calafate daily. The most common airline is Aerolineas Argentinas, which has six flights to El Calafate daily. Other airlines, such as LATAM, do not have regular Buenos Aires to El Calafate flights.
- While flying is the most expensive mode of transport, booking your flight from Buenos Aires to El Calafate at least four weeks in advance gives you a good chance of purchasing tickets at a cheaper rate.
- There is an average 32 percent drop in the price of tickets in May, which is the low season. The most expensive rates are in the high season, from October to December, when you can expect around a 25 percent increase in ticket prices.
- If you are traveling with your pet, note that the El Calafate Airport does not have any designated animal relief areas inside the airport.
EL CALAFATE TOURS
At times, planning a trip from Buenos Aires to El Calafate is simply hectic. Not only making accommodation and transportation plans, but working out your travel itinerary can also take time and effort. So, we recommend that you book an all-inclusive tour to El Calafate, departing from Buenos Aires, to make things easy.
There are many ways to get to El Calafate, be it by train, bus, plane, or by joining an organized tour. If you are in Argentina, make time to see El Calafate, one of South America's biggest attractions.
If you want to explore Argentina more, there are other destinations in Argentina with abundant opportunities to venture out. You can check out our guide on things to do in Argentina to find out our activities that best suit you. For a seasonal overview of the country, you can read our guide on the best time to visit Argentina. Browse through our collection of packaged tours to Argentina or contact our travel experts for customized trips to Argentina.