Above: Highway to Explora El Chaltén, with Mount Fitz Roy in the distance, Argentine Patagonia - CELINE FRERS

Untamed Argentine Patagonia

Highway to Explora El Chaltén, with Mount Fitz Roy in the distance, Patagonia, Argentina - Celine Frers

Remote, wind-swept and wild, Patagonia encompasses the entire southern tip of South America. It is, quite literally, at the end of the earth. Split in two by the serrated spine of the Andes, this rugged region contains towering mountains and arid deserts, glaciers and grasslands, fjords and forests. It has always enticed adventure travelers, who want to ascend its rock faces or traverse its big ice. But for those who are content to quietly take in the landscape’s splendor rather than activate their adrenaline, luxury lodges offer other ways to discover its riches. We have long recommended three properties in Chilean Patagonia, but the opening of two Argentine hideaways drew us to the other side. With no crowds to avoid — the vast region always has a favorable tourist-per-square-mile ratio — we decided to visit in the heart of summer high season.

Pristine El Calafate Luxury Camp

Perito Moreno Glacier, near Pristine El Calafate - Marina / Adobe Stock

Flying from Buenos Aires to El Calafate, the gateway to Patagonia, takes roughly three hours. From there, it’s another 75 minutes to Pristine El Calafate Luxury Camp, which had opened just a few months before we arrived. As with the other two Pristine properties in Argentina (near Iguazú Falls and at Salinas Grandes), this one occupies a privileged place: on a private estancia surrounded by a portion of Los Glaciares National Park, opposite the south face of the immense Perito Moreno Glacier.

After a warm welcome at the main lodge, a large geodesic dome that contains the restaurant and bar, our host — with map in hand — gave us a much-appreciated orientation of the area.

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Above: Highway to Explora El Chaltén, with Mount Fitz Roy in the distance, Argentine Patagonia - CELINE FRERS

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Buenos Aires Experiences Dining Discoveries in Buenos Aires Shopping: Buenos Aires Boutiques Seeking Luxury in Buenos Aires Extraordinary Excursions in Argentine Patagonia