Argentino Lake (Lago Argentino)



Encompassing a colossal 566 square miles (911 square-kilometers), Argentino Lake (Lago Argentino) is the largest lake in the country. El Calafate, the UNESCO-listed Perito Moreno Glacier, and the Upsala Glacier are all perched on its shores, so the lake serves as the gateway to some of Patagonia’s most impressive glacial landscapes.

The Basics

Take a cruise on Argentino Lake (Lago Argentino) to enjoy unobstructed views of the surrounding glaciers. Boat tours typically pass the Upsala Glacier and the Spegazzini Glacier before they loop round and reveal parts of the Perito Moreno Glacier—with luck, you’ll witness car-sized chunks of ice splitting off and splashing into the lake below. Alternatively, combine a short cruise around the western arm of the lake with a hike along the Perito Moreno Glacier.

Things to Know Before You Go
  • Argentino Lake (Lago Argentino) is the ideal destination for adventurous travelers—activities include mountain biking, horseback riding, and glacier hiking.
  • Most lake cruises last a full day and include an onboard lunch.
  • Even in the summer months, temperatures on the lake can be cold so warm clothes are a must. Sunglasses and sunscreen are also a good idea as the glaciers reflect sunlight.

How to Get There

Sitting on its southern shore, the city of El Calafate is the main gateway to the lake. From the city center, it’s a 40-minute drive west to Puerto Bandera port, where most boat cruises depart from. Tours typically include pickup and drop-off in El Calafate.

When to Get There
The summer months of January, February, and March are the most popular time for lake cruises, and advance booking is essential. Temperatures drop below freezing in the winter months of July and August, so many cruises stop running during this period.

Perito Moreno Glacier

Part of the UNESCO-listed Los Glaciares National Park, the Perito Moreno Glacier is one of Patagonia’s most-visited natural wonders. Stretching for more than 19 miles (30 kilometers) and towering 240 feet (74 meters) above Argentino Lake, the glacier is unique in that it’s one of few in the world that continues to advance. As well as admiring the glacier from the water, you can look out over the Iceberg Channel (Canal de los Tempanos) from a series of boardwalks or even hike across the glacier.


El Calafate, Patagonia


Places of Natural Beauty

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