Estancia Christina & Upsala Explorer

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El Calafate, Argentina

Estancia Christina & Upsala Explorer El Calafate Reviews

bramwan bramwan
27 reviews
May 01, 2006
There are a number of trips from El Calafate to the Upsala Glacier (which is the other main glacier after Perito Moreno). The majority of the trips are boat trips which take in views of a number of glaciers. We decided on the trip to Estancia Christina (farm) as it was a little different. The trip, which lasts a full day, includes: • A boat trip to see the west face of the Upsala glacier from the lake • A 4x4 drive up the mountain to see the east face of the Upsala glacier • The option of more 4x4 trails, horse riding or a 4 hour hike through the valley, You get picked up at 6:45 from your hotel and get taken to the harbour about 45 minutes away. The boat trip is very smooth and comfortable. You are served snacks and coffee while there is a talk about glaciers. You have the option of taking photos from above decks (in the cold) �" the sunrise is spectacular. The boat trip goes past some very large icebergs floating in the lake, which are really impressive, and then on to the glacier itself, which is larger than the Perito Moreno Glacier, although visually not as impressive. From there you go to Estancia Christina, which is a farm owned and run by the National Parks and itself forms part of the Los Glacieres National Park. It operates from September to 1 May every season (closed for winter). The 4x4 vehicles take you for an hour drive up the mountain to the viewpoint for the east face of the glacier. This is impressive as you get to see the changing landscape as well as how far the glacier extends. We decided on the option of the hike, which I think was the right option. We were very lucky with the weather too. From the mountain you are taken down towards the glacier and then around into the canyon which was created when the glacier receded. The views are spectacular. Rock pools, changing rock types of varying colours, fossils etc. After about 2 hours you stop in scenic spot for lunch (which is supplied and you carry in a backpack which you are given at the start of the hike). The hike is not very strenuous although they do warn people who are afraid of heights that there are some quite steep sections. A low to moderate level of fitness is plenty. At the end of the hike you are taken back to the estancia for refreshments and desert (which is extravagantly presented) and to meet up with the rest of the party. The others seemed to end up eating for the entire time that we were away and the food was apparently excellent. From there the boat takes you back to the El Calafate and arrives at about 7pm. This trip is not cheap at US$150, but is worth every cent. The hike is definitely something I would recommend as there are only a few thousand people a year who are able to go on the trail, making it something different and certainly something you will always remember.
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