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Flight from El Calafate to Mendoza

e26
NYC
Level Contributor
210 posts
104 reviews
Flight from El Calafate to Mendoza

Hi All

Would appreciate any advice--

We are planning to leave El Chalten early Saturday morning via private transfer (hopefully before 6 am) to get down to see the Perito glacier. I understand you need about 2-3 hours for the glacier (boat ride and platform viewing?). After the glacier, we plan to head to Mendoza but there are only two flights available. One at 1:15 pm (50 min stopover in Cordoba) and arrive Mendoza by 630 pm. Or 2:15 pm, with a 3 hr stopover in BA (plus we have to transfer from EZE to AEP!), arrive like 10 pm.

Which flight would you recommend? Both are with Aerolineas Argentina and while I would prefer the shorter and cheaper flight at 1:15, I don’t want to rush at the glacier but not sure if we will have more than enough time. and I'm not sure if the layover in Cordoba is too short, although it's probably fine and a small airport?

Also, the 2:15 pm flight is so much longer and if it’s on the same ticket, do they transfer luggage even though we have to change airports? Or does it go all the way? Has anyone done a similar flight or has advice? Thank you!

4 replies to this topic
California
Level Contributor
3 442 posts
156 reviews
1. Re: Flight from El Calafate to Mendoza

Hello. I haven’t done what you are planning on doing, but I can try to give you some general information. The bus trip from El Calafate to the Perito Moreno glacier boardwalks takes about 1 ½ hours one-way, and you should try to spend at least 1 ½ hours if possible at the boardwalks to enjoy the amazing sight (we spent 3 hours on the boardwalks and never got restless). The Safari Nautico boat trip offered by Hielo y Aventura lasts about 1 hour. It leaves from a dock before you get to the boardwalks, so this will need to be carefully planned. The ride from El Chalten to El Calafate takes from 3 to 3 ½ hours. I’m not sure when the earliest transfer from El Chalten will be available, but you can contact Las Lengas through the links below to see if they can help you with both the transfer from El Chalten to El Calafate and the trip to the glacier. You will also need time to get to the El Calafate airport, which is outside town. Maybe Las Lengas can help you with that, too. Is this the only opportunity that you will have to visit the Perito Moreno glacier? It would be much easier to take the last bus or transfer from El Chalten to El Calafate the night before. I don’t know when you will be in El Chalten, but there is often a TAQSA bus at 19:30 from El Chalten to El Calafate during the busy tourist season from December through February. There are also regular buses that leave El Chalten at 18:00.

transportelaslengas.com/en/…

transportelaslengas.com/en/…

hieloyaventura.com/HIELO2015/safari-nautico-…

You can also contact the private transfer services below to see if they can help you.

elchalten.com/eng/…

I would try to get to the El Calafate airport at least 1 ½ hours before your flight. It depends upon how many flights will be leaving at the same time, but we almost missed our flight when we arrived about 1 ½ hours early (both LATAM and Aerolineas Argentinas were leaving at about the same time, and LATAM had only 2 people to check in our flight).

The international and domestic airports in Buenos Aires are not close together. You can start a separate post to see the exact time for a taxi between the airports. One hour? Longer? Of course, it will depend upon traffic conditions. I would also assume that you will need to pick up your luggage at the first airport and take it with you to the second airport.

I hope that somebody else helps you who has done this trip and that things work out for you. Good luck.

e26
NYC
Level Contributor
210 posts
104 reviews
2. Re: Flight from El Calafate to Mendoza

This is great, thanks so much for the clarification on what to expect and taking the time to respond with such detail!

The private transfer is through the lodge we are staying with at El Chalten so I think we have some control on our time. Hopefully we can make it without any road issues or delays! The private transfer is also taking us to the glacier before dropping us off at the airport which is a big help. We hope to get to the park by 8 am and know we need to leave by 11 am. Will that be enough for a boat ride and walk around the platform?

I think we will take the 2:15 flight. We have 3 hours in btwn flights so hopefully that's more than enough time on a Saturday evening!

Why are the airports so slow with check in? We will try to get there by 12:30 pm for our 2:15 flight...hopefully that's enough time!

California
Level Contributor
3 442 posts
156 reviews
3. Re: Flight from El Calafate to Mendoza

Hello. I just looked at the map below of the El Calafate/ El Chalten/ Perito Moreno glacier area. Since it takes about 3 to 3 ½ hours for the ride from El Chalten to El Calafate and another 1 ½ hours to get to the Perito Moreno glacier boardwalks, you would have to leave El Chalten at about 3:30 AM to get there by about 8:30 or 9AM. Your driver may need to stop in El Calafate for gas, too. I like the road between El Calafate and El Chalten, but it can be hypnotic and cause people to fall asleep. It’s always a good idea to stop at the La Leona Roadhouse along the way to get some coffee (and use the bathrooms). Unfortunately, it’s not uncommon to read about road accidents along this road. I would personally not feel safe if my driver had to get up so early and would not want the driver to drive faster than usual. As I mentioned above, it would be much easier for you to get a ride to El Calafate the night before and then have a more leisurely visit to the glacier the following morning.

maplandia.com/argentina/…

I’m not saying that all people will experience problems checking in for flights at the El Calafate airport. The Aerolineas Argentinas flight that left at the same time as our LATAM flight had a faster check in than our LATAM flight. I just know how important your flight to Mendoza will be, so I don’t want you to miss your flight or experience terrible stress. In the map above, you can zoom in and find the airport near the water between El Calafate and Charles Fuhr.

In the past, the Safari Nautico boat trip left on the hour. You will need to contact Hielo y Aventura through the link above to see the schedule when you will be there. Let’s say you arrive in time for a possible 8 AM boat trip (they may not be available until 9 AM). After the one hour boat trip, you would then need to drive a few minutes to the glacier platforms and spend about 1 ½ hours on the platforms (just one hour if you are really rushed). Be sure to bring about 600 Argentine pesos per person in cash for the park entrance fee at the glacier.

By the way, which lodge in El Chalten is providing your private transfer?

I hope this helps. Good luck.

e26
NYC
Level Contributor
210 posts
104 reviews
4. Re: Flight from El Calafate to Mendoza

Thank you so much for your detailed response! This is all really helpful and I am saving your suggestions to bring with us. We are staying at Cabanas Aires del Fitz in El Chalten and they have their own private car service as well so they are providing us the transfer to the glacier. Right now the plan is to leave by 5 am and get to the glacier by 8 am if possible, leave by 11 am, get to the airport by 12:30 pm and take our flight to BA to Mendoza at 2:15. I realize we may not have time for both the boat and boardwalk but will try to do what we can.

There were no other flights to Mendoza available (that didn't take forever) so this was are only option to us. Hopefully this goes smoothly!

Appreciate any other words of advice or insight though if there is any. Knowledge is power :)

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