Lake Argentino, Argentina

Argentino Lake (Lago Argentino) is Argentina’s biggest freshwater lake. Located in the Patagonian province of Santa Cruz, it has a surface area of 1,466 sq km and a maximum depth of 500 meters.

Its maximum width is 32 kilometers and the average depth is 150 meters. Together with the other big Argentinian lakes (Viedma, Buenos Aires, San Martin), it forms a group of Sub-Andean lakes which is similar to the Subalpine lakes of northern Italy.

Argentino Lake Stats

Lake NameArgentino Lake
Surface area1319.940
Maximum depth500.0
Average depth166.6
Lake typeGlacial
Catchment area9811.20
OutflowsSanta Cruz River
Shore length687.14
SettlementsEl Calafate
Residence time12109.8
Trophic stateUltraoligotrophic
Average discharge210.172

Argentino Lake Accommodation


In 1873, a sailor named Valentin Filberg reached the lake and thought it was Lake Viedma, so he didn’t name it. It took 4 years for this error to be corrected, when Francisco Moreno and Carlos Moyano came to the lake and named it "Argentino" on February 15, 1877.

Glaciers and Beautiful Landscape

Lake Argentino is situated at 50 degrees South, at the foot of the Chilean Andes, which are covered in ice and snow. The western end of the lake has many arms (among which, Upsala, Norte, Rico and Sur), but the lake widens towards the Patagonian plateau. Waters of Lake Viedma to the North drain into Lake Argentino, brought by La Leona River and many other mountain streams. In turn, Lake Argentino flows into the Atlantic Ocean’s Bahia Grande bay, through Santa Cruz River.

The lake is situated in the Los Glaciares National Park, where glaciers abound. Among these, a few are noteworthy: the Perito Moreno Glacier,  Upsala Glacier, the Spegazzini Glacier (approximately 138 meters high, the tallest in the area), and the Onelli Glacier. Gigantic and beautiful icebergs, which vary in color from pure white to sapphire blue, fill the lake.

Its drainage basin is approximately 17,000 square kilometers. The town of El Calafate, which is close to Lake Argentino, the glaciers and the lake itself are popular tourist destinations. Lake trout, rainbow trout, perch and common galaxias are among the fish that make the lake highly appreciated for fishing enthusiasts. Boats can be found at the Los Glaciares National Park, and at various boatyards from around the lake. Punta del Lago (End of the Lake) is a large bay which is considered one of the best fishing spots.

The area can be reached through the Comandante Armando Tola International Airport, which serves the El Calafate town. It is an international airport, with national and international flights on a daily basis.

Argentino Lake Map