Argentino Lake, El Calafate, Argentina (with Map & Photos)

Argentino Lake is the largest and southernmost lake in Argentine Patagonia. It is located in the southwestern sector of the province of Santa Cruz.

Argentino Lake Argentina
Argentino Lake Argentina

The lake is located at an altitude of 178 m near the town of El Calafate. It has a surface area of ​​1,415 km² and an average depth of 150 m, reaching at some points 500 m, which places it among the 20 deepest lakes in the world and the third deepest in America after Lake San Martín and Lake Buenos Aires, both also in Argentina.

It has a main body and two long and irregular arms, which are found within Los Glaciares National Park. Several glaciers drain into them, among which the Perito Moreno and Upsala stand out. On the southern shore of the lake is the city of El Calafate, the most common tourist base for exploring the region.


Like its sister lake Viedma, it is oriented from west to east, and is fed mainly to the west by the abundant rainfall of the Andes Mountains, within which it is located, precipitations that form in these latitudes of very glaciers. powerful. Its hydrographic basin is located entirely in Argentine territory. It receives near its eastern end the outfall of Lake Viedma, the La Leona River. Then it pours its waters into its own mouth, the Santa Cruz River, of which it is therefore the origin.

Lake Argentino is the largest and southernmost of the great lakes in Argentine Patagonia. Its level is 187 meters above sea level. It covers an area of ​​1,560 km21 and has an average depth of 200 m, reaching 500 m in some places. Its volume of water reaches 219.9 billion m3. Its basin covers 15,500 km2 and includes that of Lake Viedma.

El Calafate

El Calafate is a city in Patagonia, Argentina. It is located on the southern edge of Lake Argentino, in the southwestern part of the Santa Cruz province, about 320 kilometers northwest of Río Gallegos. The name of the city is derived from a shrub with yellow flowers and dark blue berries very common in Patagonia: el calafate (Berberis buxifolia); the word comes from the word calafate, which in Spanish means 'caulking'.

El Calafate is an important tourist destination as a center to visit different parts of Los Glaciares National Park, including the Perito Moreno Glacier, Cerro Chaltén and Cerro Torre.

The history of El Calafate begins in the first decades of the 20th century. Originally, it was simply a place of refuge for wool merchants. The city was officially founded in 1927 by the Argentine government to promote settlement, but it was the creation of the nearby Perito Moreno National Park in 1937 that led to growth and the construction of better road accesses.

Climate of Lake Argentino

The area experiences a cold semi-arid climate (Köppen BSk) with cool to warm, very dry summers and cool to cold, slightly more humid winters. The extremes of cold and heat in the nearby city are moderated by the influence of Lake Argentino. The city's boardwalk is located in a large shallow bay that often freezes over in the winter, allowing residents to go ice skating. The highest temperature recorded was 30.7 ° C (87.3 ° F) on February 6, 1962, while the lowest temperature recorded was −17.4 ° C (0.7 ° F) on February 27. July 2014.

Argentino Lake Map