Estancia Cristina is still as remote and wild a place today as it was when English immigrants founded it back in 1914. It is only accessible via a two hour boat trip from the port near El Calafate and sits smack in the middle of rugged Patagonian wilderness that encompasses present day “Los Glaciares” National Park.
Of the half a million visitors who come to this immense National Park each year, full of jagged peaks cut by dozens of massive glaciers spilling from the Southern Patagonia Ice Cap into electric blue lakes, 99% only fly into El Calafate, just to make a day trip to the Perito Moreno Glacier. Here they elbow their way among the crowds, whereas an insightful few make the decision to come out to Estancia Cristina for a few days of wilderness bliss and have the Upsala glacier virtually to themselves.
Spread among 5 charming houses, Estancia Cristina offers 20 individual guest rooms, each with dramatic views towards Cerro Norte, draped in hanging glaciers. Days are filled with guided hikes and 4x4 excursions to explore the Upsala Glacier, canyons full of prehistoric fossils, the dramatic viewpoint atop Cerro Carnero or the roaring Cascada del los Perros. Gauchos look after a stable of around 40 horses which are a joy to ride up and down the Caterina River valley,where fisherman can take their chance at the gigantic Chinook that spawn here yearly. An incredible museum on the Estancia showcases the rich history of Estancia Cristina and the story of the Masters’ family love affair with the valley, a must experience for any visitor to bring a special appreciation for the remoteness of this location.
In the evening, guests gather in the “Octogano” or common building, to sip Malbecs by the fire and pour over maps of tomorrow’s adventures before devouring Argentine steaks grilled to perfection and fresh vegetables from the gardens. Only open from October to April, days at Estancia Cristina seem never-ending, in a good way, with close to 17 hours of daylight. Tucking into a cozy bed at 11:30pm and watching lenticular clouds over the peaks turn red at sunset is an unforgettable Patagonia experience
The 4x4 Drive to the Upsala Viewpoint is an unmissable excursion to explore some of the most dramatic scenery that surrounds Estancia Cristina without needing to break a sweat. There will be chances to enjoy various lookout points as well as ever-improving views of Mount Nortetoo, Lake Anita and the wider valley throughout a rugged 9.5km drive.Then, disembark and begin exploring an area once covered by the nearby Upsala Glacier,the land still charred black, red and cracked by the glacier’s movements over the millennia though also home to fossils, traceable ancient river routes and today, more hardy vegetation. You will finally reach the renowned Upsala Glacier viewpoint, an icon of Los Glaciares National Park and highlight of any stay at Estancia Cristina. The panoramas over Upsala, Lake Guillermo, Mounts Cono and Murallón, plus the Southern Patagonian Continental Ice field can be fully admired at leisure.
Horse riding in Patagonia promises to be one of the most extraordinary ways to experience this jaw-dropping corner of the world, and Estancia Cristina is perfectly placed for such adventures. Whether a skilled rider or complete novice, their National Park guides are ready and waiting to ensure you get the most out of your Patagonia horse riding excursions, providing all the safety measures, equipment and supervision to make your experience run smoothly. Their cherished horses are well looked after, and the rider-guides will help you select the mount that’s right for you depending on your age and ability. All that’s left is to browse some of the favorite routes and look forward to an unforgettable horseback riding adventure in Patagonia!
Hiking at Estancia Cristina is virtually endless, and full of wonders.During your stay, you can take advantage of this privileged location by choosing from a wide range of hikes, walks and treks, all with varying distances and degrees of difficulty.You can either join one of their guided excursions, led by experts who are certified by the National Park service,or head out on your own following Estancia Cristina’s self-guided routes through the valley, taking as much time as you like to explore each extraordinary landscape.You might even want to discover these trails by bike, a whole other way to delve deeper into the wonderous wilds of Patagonia.
Keen anglers will be delighted to know that the landscape surrounding Estancia Cristina is prime for fishing in Patagonia. Against a jaw-dropping backdrop of giant hanging glaciers, craggy mountain peaks and circling Condors, the rivers and lakes that punctuate the valley are teeming with life. So not only are there abundant opportunities for this activity itself, but the scenery that comes along the way is utterly captivating to behold
Patagonia fishing permits
You can enjoy fishing in Patagonia while staying at Estancia Cristina between November and April; this is spring, summer and autumn here. Note that a permit is required to fish in Patagonia, as this ensures the region is not under too much strain at any given time. Therefore, we recommend acquiring your permit before arrival, to ensure that everything runs smoothly.That said, you can always purchase one when checking in at Estancia Cristina should you wish, or even at the National Park’s Administration office in El Calafate. Once here, we would also be more than happy to point you in the direction of our nearby scenic fishing spots, and can provide transport there too.
Estancia Cristina doesn’t have a team of in-house fishing guides, which is why they strongly suggest that–in order to get the most out of your fishing experience in Patagonia you are an experienced angler yourself, or come accompanied by an expert.
Note that only Fly Fishing or Spinning equipment (1 hook without burr) can be used.Although fishing regulations state that only some species need to be safely returned to the water, their policy is to ensure that all fish are put back in the river.- It is essential to book this activity in advance, as there is a strict limit on how many people can fish at one time, in order to protect the river’s native species.- Acquire the necessary and appropriate equipment in good time, before arriving to the Lodge (Ea.Cristina does not have fishing equipment available.
•Children up to 2 years old stay free of charge.
•Children from 3 to 11 years old stay for 70% of the adult rate.
•Children older than 12 years old stay for the full adult rate.
Minors policy shall not apply to special dates(minors stay for the full adult rate at these times).
In order to apply the child discount, an ID/Passport of the minor must be included in the booking request without exception
In order to confirm a reservation, the following information must be provided for each guest: Full name, date of birth, passport number,name of your hotel in El Calafate (for transfers), and dietary requirements (if any)
When the confirmation of booking request is sent, we shall also include the deposit due date (equivalent to 30% of the total price), as well as a due date for the remaining balance payment.
• The deposit secures the confirmation of the reservation, and must be paid no later than 60 days prior to the guests’ arrival (regardless of the current account). At this time, the number of passengers must also be reconfirmed.
• The outstanding balance of 70% must be paid no later than 30 days prior to the guests’ arrival.
Special Dates: From December 20 to January 6, Due to a high demand for reservations during these popular dates, the usual deposit must be paid no later than 30 days from the time the reservation request was sent. If no advance payment has been made by this time, Estancia Cristina will release the rooms back to their booking systems for others to reserve.
Special Dates: From December 20 to January 6
If strong winds are forecast and Estancia Cristina cancels the boat’s departure,they will always look to reschedule the reservation, subject to availability and ongoing weather. If this is not possible, they shall then fully refund any amount already paid.
If traveling from the harbor to the estancia by boat is not possible:Transfers to a hotel in El Calafate will be covered by Estancia Cristina; however, lodging costs in El Calafate shall then be paid by each passenger, as we aim to either reschedule the original stay or refund any amount already paid by way of lodging.
If a passenger is at the estancia and it’s not possible to return to the harbor or El Calafate: Estancia Cristina will cover all lodging and food expenses at the estancia. However,additional expenses incurred such as charges / rescheduling of flights and lodging issues relating to the remainder of that passenger’s onward itinerary is not be responsibility of Estancia Cristina. Estancia Cristina cannot reimburse money in the event of strike action, stoppage actions or rescheduling of flights, no matter what the reasons.