El Calafate was not quite what I expected. I’m not sure what it was that I had expected - maybe something similar to Ushuaia or Punta Arenas. Instead, what I found was what you would expect in a high-end mountain resort town in the US. It reminded me a bit of Big Fork, MT, Leavenworth, WA or Park City, UT in the summer.
The main street of town is full of tourists and every shop along the way is geared towards them. Not in the “cheap souvenirs” way that Ushuaia is, but in the “we expect you are a tourist with a lot of money” sort of way. Everything has “artisan” in the title - there were Artisan Chocolate Shops, Artisan Souvenir Shops, Artisan Ice Cream Parlors, Artisan Breweries and more. The shop faces were all constructed of similar materials in a similar fashion, so the whole town had a cozy, upscale mountain town vibe. While it was a little rich for our blood, I can see it being a great place to shop and relax for someone with a slightly higher budget!