Hike in a canyon of fossils
If you are staying in the El Calafate region, and enjoy walking, you shouldn’t miss this scenic hike from one of Patagonia’s most remote historic ranches, Estancia Cristina. This property, founded by an English pioneer over 100 years ago, is dwarfed by towering ice-capped peaks, and has one of the most beautiful and breathtaking settings in the Patagonian Andes.
You depart by boat from a jetty not far from El Calafate to sail on iceberg-strewn Lago Argentino, with superb glacier views. Disembark at the estancia and jump into an all-terrain vehicle to ride up into the mountains, to be rewarded by a fabulous panorama of the eastern side of the Upsala glacier, the southern Patagonian icecap, Lago Guillermo and - of course -the snowy crests of the Andes.
From here, it's a superb, if somewhat challenging downhill trek (you do need to be fit) back to the ranch through the Cañadon de los Fosiles (Fossil Canyon) where the erosive effects of glaciation has revealed an open-air museum of sea fossils. The canyon’s strata of crimson, russet, gold and pewter rocks create a dazzling display as you climb down.