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An excellent, varied day. The pick-up from our hotel in El Calafate was prompt and efficient; the initial cruise up Lake Argentino was a pleasure with the sun beginning to strike the surrounding mountains; the close-up view of the glacier and the huge blue iceberg 'calves' was breath-taking; and the visit to the Estancia was efficiently organised so that there was never many visitors doing the same thing. We opted for the walk up the valley to the waterfall. Our guide was a friendly and engaging young man who spoke impeccable English. The views across to the expanse of the glacier and back down the valley to the estancia and lake were a great reward. The tour of the estancia was conducted by another guide who spoke perfect English, was most informative about the history, geography and economics of the place and had an engagingly wry style that was perfectly suited to the group.
Most incredible day of my entire month-long visit to Argentina. Take the 4x4 tour! The view of the Upsala glacier from above is AMAZING! You get to see Upsala from a boat as well as many icebergs in Lago Argentino. Guides speak English very well. Be prepared for cold and wind, though the day was never really uncomfortable. This tour makes for a long day, but SO worth it!
I took my lunch for this tour and was glad I did. The meal on the Estancia was quite pricey ($40/person), though it looked and smelled amazing. The restaurant is happy to serve you wine, coffee, dessert, etc, even if you don't buy the full meal offered.
The nicest part was the walk of 15 minutes to the Upsale Glacier and the 4x4 ride. It was too long the Museum visit and explanation as well as the Chapel visit at the Estancia. The food at the Estancia was not very good. We did not eat lamb so could not try the cordero. Pasta was ok, not special and the empanadas the meat inside smelled too strong. We thought it was lamb.
We should have more time after the 4x4 ride, it's the best part.
We were picked up at our hotel on time. The boat trip to Estancia Cristina was spectacular. The Off road trip to see the Upsala Glacier was the best part of the package and an incredible experience! The hiking is not strenuous and very doable. The guides were very friendly, helpful and informative. You may want to pack light snacks for the boat trip. You can get a lunch at the Estancia Cristina Restaurant.
Unfortunately we had poor weather on this day and visibility on the boat was poor so we hardly saw the Glaciers (a shame as this was the whole point!). The waves were really choppy so several people onboard were sea sick- not pleasant to watch! We did the off road tour rather than the hike which was great but Very bumpy. Having come off a choppy boat this made several people feel even worse so would advise to do this on a calm day!
The tour around the Estancia was ok, due to the poor rainy weather the arrangment of the language groups were not properly organised ahead of us disembarking the boat, so most of us stood in the rain until we could work out where the English tour was vs the Spanish groups! Inside the museum our guide explained clearly about its history which was really interesting, then we went for a 3 course meal (where you pay extra) but we really enjoyed it sitting by the fire with a glass of wine and lamb stew! (there was a pasta option if you preferred). He also showed us around the Ranch outside, including the chapel and waterwheel but as it was cold, windy and rainy most people wanted to head back inside the warmth! Well worth seeing on a good sunny day- or dress warmly and come with a rain mac or brolly- I thoroughly enjoyed it!
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