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El Calafate vs. Punta Tombo / Penninsula Valdes

New York, NY
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El Calafate vs. Punta Tombo / Penninsula Valdes

I am planning a trip with my husband, parents and brother to Argentina at the end of December, 2007. We are traveling independently (i.e. no tour), and flying between the destinations to maximize time. Right now, we are thinking:

- Bariloche (2 nights)

- EITHER El Calafate OR Punta Tombo / Penninsula Valdes (2 nights)

- Ushuaia (2 nights)

- Mendoza (3 nights)

- Buenos Aires (3 nights)

We are having a really tough time deciding whether we should go to El Calafate or Punta Tombo / Penninsula Valdes. We're not sure when / if we will make it back to Argentina, so we want to get a good feel of the Patagonia, but not duplicate the experience we will have in Bariloche or Ushuaia. What do you recommend? It seems like El Calafate is mainly focused on the glacier, which seems neat but far from town, and my husband has been before... Do you get a decent feel for the Patagonia being in Punta Tombo / Penninsula Valdes? Which city / hotel do you recommend staying in Punta Tombo vicinity? This is our Christmas holiday, so we are looking for nice hotels but a good value (i.e. Llao Llao, Eolo - type - but not Nos Otros!).

Any help / input on this question or the rest of our itinerary (activities, restaurants, etc.) would be greatly appreciated!!

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1. Re: El Calafate vs. Punta Tombo / Penninsula Valdes

Hi - my advice would be...Peninsula Valdes is a trip to go on for the wildlife you can see there. I think it will be whale season, plus there is an amzing penguin colony. There are seal colonies, guanacos, armadillos and a kind of ostrich. The scenery I found quite dull - it's just flat desert scrub. But the wildlife is amazing(even though no whales when I went).

In contrast, the Calafate and Torres de Paine area is some of the most striking natural scenery you can find in all of Patagonia, including the glaciers. So it basically comes down to deciding between wildlife or natural scenery. Hope that helps...

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2. Re: El Calafate vs. Punta Tombo / Penninsula Valdes


BA - Bariloche ( 3 nights)

Bariloche - Calafate ( 3 nights)...go to El Chalten too ( 2 nights)

Calafate- Trelew ( 3 nights)...no whales season during December...1 day Punta Tombo ( penguins)...1 full day Peninsula..

Avoid Ushuaia..

Fly back Trelew - BA

Bariloche : LLao LLao is fine, but quite difficult to get rooms by Xmas time

Calafate : El Quijote Hotel..you do not need to pay high hotel rates due, you are going to be out the whole day...in Calafate ( Moreno Glacier, plus minitrek..full day - All Glaciers boat tour ( full day)...Chalten ( 2 nights)...1 full day Trek to Cerro Torre..

Trelew 60 km to Madryn...Hotel Bahia Nueva, 1 day Tombo...1 day penisnsula..

Make sure you book hotels for these dates, due heavy demand on every place

Atenas, Costa Rica
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3. Re: El Calafate vs. Punta Tombo / Penninsula Valdes

Hello KtinNYC,

I agree with olpage, Peninsula Valdes and Punta Tombo are among the best places to go to see wildlife in Patagonia. Both places are very accessible. However late December is past whale watching season. The whales usually leave Gulfo Nuevo in early December. You should be able to see all of the animals listed as well as Elephant Seals, Maras, and many different birds.

You can do Peninsula Valdes one day and Punta Tombo the next. They are both full day excursions.

The best city to stay for your visit would be Puerto Madryn. There are many good travel agencies which offer tours, both small group and private. You will also find nice restaurants and a large beach.

For the type of accommodations you asked about I would suggest Territorio, which is out of the main part town and Australis Yene hue located in town. Both of these are new and rated as 4 star. You should check availability right away. Puerto Madryn is a popular beach resort town and late December is one of the busiest times.

Have fun planning trip!

Buenos Aires...
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4. Re: El Calafate vs. Punta Tombo / Penninsula Valdes

well, yes it depends on what you want more: to see the wildlfe in Peninsula Valdes or if you want to see more the Glaciers National Park in El Calafate, the amazing sceneries there...the Perito Moreno, etc. and as said maybe in El Chalten also.

Do know that the whales are no longer in Peninsula Valdes in december, but it is still a very incredible place to see, I think.

Have fun!!

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5. Re: El Calafate vs. Punta Tombo / Penninsula Valdes

for what is worth, El Quijote in Calafate has very thin walls and it's ok but nothing special. Eolo does look amazing but have not been there yet (going next time). el Galpon/Estancia Alice is fairly basic but the location is wonderful and you do feel like you are in the patagonian steppe rather than in the town so i would suggest either of those two instead of anything in town, plus you are closer to the excursions. Faro Punta Delgada inside pensinsula valdes would be my option for a great experience of the patagonian steppe, surrounded by nothingness, the cliffs and a beach with elephant seals. you can even see penguins in the peninsula instead of having to go down to punta tombo.

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6. Re: El Calafate vs. Punta Tombo / Penninsula Valdes

Hi in late december Whales are not in Peninsula Valdez, but the pinguins dolphins and posibly some late whale migth be sea lions, elephant seals and very good lonely beachs without no clouds and 30 degrees can makes you decide about Puerto Madryn, It's a good not large city but with everything you can need, tipical stop of 50 cruises summer season.



7. Re: El Calafate vs. Punta Tombo / Penninsula Valdes

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