After staying overnight in Buenos Aires we flew to El Calafate the following morning. El Calafate, a city that seems to exist only to service the area's tourist industry, was the jumping off point for the following day's ride to the EcoCamp in Torres del Paine. The town shares its name with a bush that grows in the area that produces edible berries similar to our blueberry. The town has a comfortable, walkable downtown area with a mix of restaurants, jewelry and other souvenir shops, and a number of brand name outdoor gear stores -- handy in case you forgot to pack a sun hat, as Suzanne did.
We stayed over night at the Esplendor Hotel, a full service hotel, high on a hill overlooking the town. It was beautifully decorated, impeccably clean, and well-managed. (see Day 1 photos)