Estancia Cristina Lodge

Staying at Estancia Cristina means living the experience of a real Patagonian Lodge. Its remote and exquisite location, the vast and green glacial valley, the majestic Cerro Norte and the mountain range with its hanging glaciers, make us feel tiny in front of so much immensity.

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Staying at our Lodge

We offer a fully inclusive experience for overnight visitors, this allows guests to fully immerse themselves in the Estancia experience, without restrictions or limits. 

Our traditionally decorated rooms are cozy and inviting inside but keep guests connected with the grand Patagonian scenery through spacious windows. 

Our lodge service incudes everything needed for a full and relaxing stay:  ground transfers from El Calafate to the port of departure, a panoramic boat journey across Lake Argentino, lodging, all meals, non-alcoholic beverages and a diverse menu of guided activities which include hikes and horseback rides to explore the valley in depth. 

Daily excursions are coordinated by staff, with input from each guest.  The excursions are carried out in small groups with other visitors who share the same fitness and activity level.  All excursions are guided by our expert staff and all necessary equipment is provided. 

Our aim is that each visitor simply needs to focus on enjoying their own experience, leaving our professional staff to worry about the details

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Our Guest Rooms

The lodge is made up of five individual buildings, each with a common entryway and living room that leads to four completely independent rooms with their own en-suite bathrooms.  Our rooms provide an extremely comfortable and private place to rest and to soak up the views and silence of the surroundings, 

The design of each room building allows the option to provide connecting rooms, up to two connecting room pairs per building while maintaining individual privacy and space.  The design is ideal for families and groups of friends visiting us.

Our Guest Rooms

The lodge is made up of five individual buildings, each with a common entryway and living room that leads to four completely independent rooms with their own en-suite bathrooms.  Our rooms provide an extremely comfortable and private place to rest and to soak up the views and silence of the surroundings, 

The design of each room building allows the option to provide connecting rooms, up to two connecting room pairs per building while maintaining individual privacy and space.  The design is ideal for families and groups of friends visiting us.

The Octagon

Built and decorated paying homage to the Estancia’s history, the “Octagon” is an exclusive common area for our overnight guests at Estancia Cristina. This is where guests gather after the days adventures to relax, share stories, have a drink and dine on quality farm fresh food. 

Encouraging the concept of disconnecting from our daily digital routines, in order to reconnect with ourselves and the wilderness setting, the octagon is the only place on property where wifi is available, via satellite connection.

The spacious lower level of the Octagon contains our bar and dining room where meals are served, as well as a guest services area where guides meet with guests to plan the next day’s adventures.  There are comfortable sofas where guests can gather and relax while being attended to by our staff. Upstairs in the Octagon you will find a cozy sitting area, offering panoramic views of the valley, which is full of plush armchairs and stocked with historical and informational books about the estancia and surrounding area, a wonderful place to while away the evening, getting lost in stories and reflecting on the history of the Estancia.

Around the Heart of the Estancia

Estancia Cristina is just the jumping off point for accessing the Southern Patagonia Ice Cap and the highest peaks of the Andes. 

Cuando hablamos del Casco nos referimos al conjunto de edificios que forman parte de la zona habitable y productiva de una estancia. Hoy en el casco se ubican edificios y espacios pensados para el disfrute de nuestros huéspedes.

When we speak of the heart of the Estancia, we are referring to the complex of buildings which make up the residential and work production area of the old estancia.  Today the heart of the Estancia has been converted for the enjoyment of our guests.

All guests facilities are located in a central area within a few minutes’ walk of one another, respecting the surrounding wilderness, leaving it as wild as it was in the days when the Masters family first arrived. 

 

The Waterwheel

Serving as an example of the ingenuity required by humans to live in this “Tierra Incognita”, the historic waterwheel sits not far from the heart of the Estancia. It was built in 1945 to pump fresh water from the Caterina River to the Estancia buildings for human use and for irrigation of the orchards and greenhouse. Recently restored, the wheel today continues its endless rotation, helped along by the power of Patagonia’s wind and water.

 

The Cristina

Being that the crossing of Lake Argentino was the only way to access the Estancia, the Masters Family decided to construct a new vessel which would be a more reliable lifeline between the Estancia and civilization while cutting down the travel time. Thanks to a skilled ranch hand and schematics taken from an old copy of Popular Mechanics magazine, they constructed a robust vessel, powered by a motor imported from Detroit, that successfully and reliably cut the travel time across the lake in half. Today the “Cristina” lies abandoned on the beach, a short 30-minute walk from the Estancia, and gives proof to the eternal struggle between man vs wild.

 

The Estancia Museum

The original sheep shearing barn today houses the Estancia museum. Inside, guests can take a chronological stroll through the history of the Estancia and the Masters family. A visit to the museum helps visitors understand the special mystique of this valley, beyond the beautiful landscape. Being a visitor to this remote outpost today, the historical context gleaned through the museum provides visitors a deeper appreciation of what life must have been like for the founding family. The museum is full of spectacular photos, antiques and personal effects which have been arranged in chronological order, curated by descriptions in both English and Spanish. The museum can be a self-guided visit or a guided visit.

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Activities

All included activities take place on the Estancia’s grounds and surroundings. The Estancia offers short self-guided walking or mountain biking circuits, and also longer tours where bilingual guides will accompany guests on treks, horseback rides, and four-wheel drive (FWD) or fishing expeditions.

Trekking

TREKS & HIKES

HORSE RIDING

FISHING

4×4

4x4

Our Rates:

* Rack rates are shown in US dollars, per person. VAT not included (Decree 1043/16).

Included Services:

• Land transfers from El Calafate and lake transfers between Punta Bandera harbor and Estancia Cristina.
• All meals during your stay.
• Non Alcoholic drinks.
• All programmed & listed activities at the estancia and in the surrounding valley (English-Spanish guide).
• A Wi-Fi and mobile phone detox–with internet only available in the Octagon, and mobile signal unable to reach this blissfully remote part of Patagonia.
• National park entrance free

ADDITIONAL EXTRAS: Alcoholic beverages, laundry service, tips, fishing permits, satellite telephone calls.

FAQ:

What is the ideal length of stay?

Although we do not have a minimum stay, we suggest a minimum of two nights to get a more immersive experience.  Three and four night stays are better for active hikers, as many of the best routes and viewpoints are full day excursions.

How do you get to the Estancia?

The only way to get to the Estancia is by boat, crossing Lake Argentino after departing from Punta Banderas port which is 45km outside the town of El Calafate.  Our programs include shared ground transportation from El Calafate to Puerto Banderas (picking up from hotels and the city center) and the boat transfer across the lake. We do not provide transfer service to/from the El Calafate airport but can coordinate a meetup for arriving passengers at our office in the city center.  We have two boat departures (detailed below) and the special overnight guest boat allows guests to arrive to the Estancia the same day of flight arrival, or take a departing flight the same day departing from the Estancia (subject to airline schedules)

What are the passenger capacity of your boats?

The “Francesco 1” – utilized for overnight guests only has capacity for 60 guests. (max lodge capacity is 40 guest)

The “Chinook” – our vessel used for day visitors, has a capacity for 192 guests.  Overnight guests using this vessel for transfer in/out are provided priority embarkation/disembarkation and reserved VIP seating. 

What are check in and check out times?

Check-in is at 2pm and check out is at 10am.  Nevertheless, all activities and meals are included from the time of arrival to the lodge until departure.

Are activities included during the stay?

YES; our lodging program includes all guided activities (hiking, horseback riding, 4×4), which are exclusive for our lodge guests.  It is not necessary to choose or reserve activities prior to arrival, they are coordinated upon arrival by our staff. All activities are on a small group shared basis with other lodge guests.  Only fly fishing needs to be reserved in advance and may come with additional costs. 

  • We offer the option to arrange fully private activities – at an additional cost. 

Are there a minimum/maximum number of participants for each activity?

There is no minimum to guarantee a specific activity.  Depending on the activity/excursion desired by guests at the lodge during their stay, the excursion will be carried out with a small group of other like minded guests, or in the absence of other guests for an activity, it will be conducted in private. 

Are excursions cancelled due to rain?

No, we generally never need to cancel a specific excursion due to rain.  We are usually able to reorganize the timing and selection of excursions pending climactic conditions during your stay.

¿What type of food is included in the all inclusive lodge program?

Our culinary offerings respect the simplicity, remoteness and traditions of the location, utilizing primarily local ingredients produced in the area – consider our food farm fresh style.  Our breakfast is served al la carte or buffet style, followed by three revolving menus each for lunch, afternoon tea and dinner. Each menu has a wide variety of choices and we are able to cater to vegetarian, vegan, wheat intolerant or any other sort of dietary restriction with advanced notice.  Please let us know of any dietary restriction or preferences at the time of reservation. 

Is Estancia Cristina a place for children or older guests?

We do not have any age restrictions for guests and there is something for everyone.  Although many of our activities are quite active and adventurous, the valley is an ideal place for contemplation and relaxation as well, simply being here is an experience in itself. 

Can you visit the Perito Moreno glacier from Estancia Cristina?

No, access to the glacier is from the town of El Calafate.  Most guests spend additional nights pre/post Estancia Cristina in the town of El Calafate in order to facilitate a visit to the Perito Moreno glacier. 

What equiptment is provided to guests while at the Estancia? Any equiptment which enhances security or compliments specific activities is included in the program, such as:

  • Horseback Riding: we provide helmets, gaiters and saddlebags
  • Trekking/Hiking: we have trekking poles and gaiters for guest use. 
  • Reusable Water Bottles: Every guest is provided a reusable water bottle upon checking into the lodge, which they are free to take home with them.  We do this to cut down on the use of single use plastics.
  • Fishing: We have a very limited amount of fishing equipment at the lodge and cannot guarantee it’s availability. Those interested in fly fishing while at the lodge are encouraged to bring their own equipment or we can arrange for quality rental equipment to be picked up in El Calafate prior to your arrival. 

Are gratuities included?

Gratuities are not included in our rates.  Any gratuities left are at the decision and discretion of the guest. If a guest wishes to leave gratuities for staff and/or their guides it must be done so in cash rather than credit card. 

What are bedding options? Do you have cribs for babies?

Each of our 20 rooms can be set up with either a king sized bed or twin beds.  We have 5 rooms that can be set up for triple occupancy by bringing in an additional bed. 

Yes, we do have portable cribs for babies – these are provided at no additional cost and are subject to availability (please let us know at the time of reservation)

Safe Deposit Boxes

We are happy to store your valuables in a safe in our reception, we do not have individual safes in the guest rooms. 

Is there WiFi connection?

We do have wifi internet connection for guests in the Octagon, the common area and dining room for guests.  There is no wifi signal in the guest rooms.  There is no cellular service which reaches the estancia. Please note that our wifi is via satellite uplink so the bandwidth is limited. 

In/Out Itinerary:

Arrival Day

7.30 AM – Pick-up service from hotels.

8.45 AM – Embarkation at Punta Bandera.

9.00 AM – Depart Punta Bandera and sail to the Northern Arm of Lake Argentino. Cruise along Upsala Channel to see the front of the Upsala Glacier (weather permitting) and continue towards Cristina Channel.

11.30 AM – Arrival at Estancia Cristina. Take lunch in the Octagon and choose an activity for the rest of the afternoon (included in the program).

2.00 PM – Check-in

Departure Day

10.00 AM – Check-out Guests can still enjoy a half or full-day activity today, with meals and drinks also included. Note that this must be arranged with lodge staff beforehand.

5.00 PM – Embarkation at Estancia Cristina.

5.30 PM – Depart Estancia Cristina

7.00 PM – Arrival at Punta Bandera harbor.

8.00 PM – Arrival in El Calafate

Special In/Out Itinerary:

Arrival Day

10.00am Pick-up service from hotels in El Calafate.

10.45am Embarkation at Punta Bandera.

11.00am Depart Punta Bandera and sail to the Northern Arm of Lake Argentino. Cruise along Upsala Channel to see the front of the Upsala Glacier (weather permitting) and continue towards Cristina Channel.

2.00pm Arrival at Estancia Cristina and check-in.

Departure Day

10.00am Check-out Guests can still enjoy a half-day activity today, with meals and drinks also included. Note that this must be arranged with lodge staff beforehand.

03.00pm Embarkation at Estancia Cristina and departure.

05.00pm Arrival at Punta Bandera harbor.

06.00pm Arrival in El Calafate.

08.00pm Aprox. Arribo a El Calafate.

¡Live this unique experience!
Estancia Cristina Lodge

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