A Glimpse of El Calafate

What is your favorite national park gateway town?

Small towns thrive when on the doorstep of a national park. After all, not everyone can afford to stay within the parks – if they even offer onsite lodging! Before our travels, we were always partial to Moab with its easy access to weeks’ worth of activities.

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After the somewhat dry Puerto Natales, we were in for a real treat in El Calafate. Named for the berry that grows in abundance in the area, the town was just as alluring. Packed with life and atmosphere, it was a far cry from where we had just left.

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The main street was lined with countless eateries and shops, and we had no shortage of options. We even found a restaurant that didn’t seem to even understand the concept of “small.” Everything from the sandwiches to the desserts were made for multiple people.

In the center of town was an odd gnome-themed shopping area, complete with a rooftop bar. Sadly, the atmosphere was better than the food.

Instead, we frequently wound up at a wonderful local brewery: La Zorra (more on that later).

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Fun fact: local legend says if a visitor consumes the calafate berry, they are destined to return to Patagonia. We certainly ate the berry in many forms, and we’d be thrilled to return!

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