El Calafate, also known as Calafate, is a city in Patagonia, Argentina. It is situated on the southern border of Lake Argentino, in the southwest part of the Santa Cruz Province, about 320 kilometres (200 mi) northwest of Río Gallegos. The name of the city is derived from a little bush with yellow flowers and dark blue berries that is very common in Patagonia: the calafate (Berberis buxifolia); the word comes from the word calafate, which is Spanish for 'caulk'.
El Calafate is an important tourist destination as the hub to visit different parts of the Los Glaciares National Park, including Perito Moreno Glacier, Cerro Chaltén, and Cerro Torre.
The history of El Calafate began in the first decades of the twentieth century. Originally, it was simply a sheltering place for wool traders. The town was officially founded in 1927 by the government of Argentina to promote settlement, but it was the creation of nearby Perito Moreno National Park in 1937 that sparked growth and the building of better road access.