Above: Kayakers in front of the Perito Merino Glacier - ANDREW HARPER EDITOR

Extraordinary Excursions in Argentine Patagonia

Kayakers near the Perito Moreno glacier, Pristine El Calafate Luxury Camp - Andrew Harper editor

The Argentine side of Patagonia is catching up with Chile’s in terms of its luxury accommodations, adding Explora El Chaltén in late 2021 and Pristine El Calafate Luxury Camp in December 2023. But no matter how plush the lodging may be, the main draw of Patagonia will always be the outdoors, where travelers end up spending most of their time. And since many excursions are provided by the hotels themselves, the way they are handled says a lot about the service. Here are the experiences we had at the two properties we visited during summer high season. Note that the Andrew Harper Travel Office can help organize outings both with the hotels and our local tour partner, who can be especially helpful when transferring from one property to another.

Pristine El Calafate Luxury Camp

Our horseback-riding guide Stefan, Pristine El Calafate Luxury Camp - Andrew Harper editor
Footbridge at Perito Moreno Glacier, Pristine El Calafate Luxury Camp - Andrew Harper editor
Boat excursion to Perito Moreno Glacier, Pristine El Calafate Luxury Camp - Andrew Harper editor
View from our Premium Dome, Pristine El Calafate Luxury Camp - Andrew Harper editor
Southern crested caracara near Perito Moreno Glacier - Getty Images
Landscape near Pristine El Calafate Luxury Camp - Andrew Harper editor

My traveling companion and I toured the expansive Dos Lagos ranch by taking a private horseback ride with Stefan, a gaucho whose family owns the property that Pristine leases. Over two hours, we explored the magnificent acreage and learned about shepherding and how the glacier’s occasional flooding affects Stefan’s livelihood.

The next day, we drove into the national park with Yoli, our Pristine guide, to see the glacier up close by boat. As a former ranger who had worked there for years, she shared in-depth knowledge of the massive blue wall, whose immensity — 3 miles long and nearly 200 feet high — is impossible to grasp without standing before it and hearing huge slabs of ice crack and crash into the water. On the drive back, she spotted carancho, coscoroba swan, upland geese, caracara and the ostrichlike rhea, making us feel as if we were on a South American safari. Other Pristine El Calafate activities: Wine tastings, e-biking. Additional excursions can be arranged through our Travel Office’s local contact.

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Above: Kayakers in front of the Perito Merino Glacier - ANDREW HARPER EDITOR

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