Fortunately the trip from El Chaltén to El Calafate wasn´t too long, again continuing on Ruta 40. I wasn´t really sure how long I would stick around here. The first day was spent roaming around the city. At this point in time El Calafate is the most expensive city in Argentina. Sadly I realized the sad fate that awaited El Chaltén. It was overrun by tourists who came on cruises. Everything was mostly organized tours, no room to really go out there and do it yourself. the age demographic of the visitors changed as well. As opposed to El Chaltén which had a fairly young, backpacker vibe, El Calafate was overrun by rich retirees wanting to see the glaciers from a far.
The following day I had a tour to the Parque nacional de Los Glacieres. Once again the same group of people I had been shuttling with since Bariloche were on this trip. We joked some more about this encounter over lunch. Despite the hoards of tour buses it was worth it to go see the Perito Moreno Glacier. One of the very few growing glaciers in the world. The trip was amazing and getting the opportunity to hike a bit in order to trek the glacier was an unforgettable experience.
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I returned back to El Calafate and contemplated my next move. Originally I had written Chile out of my plans but along the way I met other travelers venturing to and from Parque Nacional de Torres del Paine. I initially thought I wouldn’t make it down there because if you truly want to experience it you would need a minimum of 4 days to do the classic “W” circuit. Time that I did not have, but once I got down to El Calafate and being oh so close to Puerto Natales, Chile, I decided to go for it even if just for 2 days just for a bit of trekking and back.
The same day as my excursion to the Perito Moreno glacier, I got back into El Calafate and made plans to leave. Luckily for me there were buses leaving daily at 5am. So i purchased my ticket, went back to the hostel and backed a lighter bag for the journey and left the rest of my belongings there until I returned.