Ever wondered if an object so huge and unmovable could catch your attention for so long that after a couple minutes you realize you are staring? Well now, I can tell you it exists! Once you catch a glimpse of the Perito Moreno glacier in Argentina you know what I am talking about.
The Perito Moreno glacier right in the heart of Argentinians pearl Patagonia is one of the few glaciers in the world that is actually still growing! With a stunning length of almost 30km its fairly impossible to see the end and your eyes will make you believe that the glacier stops at the horizon. The glacier toe is about 5km wide and its peaks can rise up to 80m out of Lago Argentino. Once you get closer you will feel that this insanely huge structure is a ‘living’ artwork created by Mother Nature. The moving glacier will constantly produce the sound of a heavy thunderstorm, which in fact is the cracking of the ice. If you are lucky enough you will witness massive ice chunks calve off and smack down into the lake below. If it’s not the size that will impress you then for sure it’s the electric blue color will be mesmerizing. This massive piece of art created by Mother Nature will for sure make you stop and stare!
Situated only 50km from the picturesque town of El Calafate the Glacier National Park is easy accessible. El Calafate is a popular tourist destination reachable by plane. It’s not only the glacier that draws loads of tourist down to South Argentina. In winter it serves as a prominent ski resort, in summer it’s famous for its great hikes in the surrounding mountains or along the shores of Lago Argentino. Daredevils can go rafting or jump on a mountain bike for some downhill adventure.
Visiting the Glacier National Park
I have been travelling in Argentina 3 times now and I made it twice to Patagonia. Its super easy to visit the Perito Moreno glacier and there are several options. The easiest way is to book a tour with one of the many tour operators in El Calafate. Of course there are cheaper ways to get to the National Park. The local bus companies also provide transportation, which is obviously the cheapest. Very convenient though make sure you will catch the last bus back, cause it’s a long walk home. Another option is to rent a car for a day. Split the costs with a couple people and drive there yourself. This way you are free to make your own schedule.
Once you reach the glacier there are several ways to make the most out of your day:
1. Strolling down the walkways
There’s a network of walkways that offer splendid views over the glacier. Since my first visit in 2008 they extended the walkways with another couple more viewpoints. Head to one of the lower balconies to experience the glacier from up close.
2. Take a boat tour
A total different way to explore the glacier is to hop on one of the boat rides that will bring you very close to the glacier toe. From the lake you will see the glacier from a completely different perspective.
3. Ice hiking on Perito Moreno
Ever fancied to trek on a glacier? Well this is your chance. Opt for one of the tours offered in El Calafate and you will be provided with the necessary gear and a guide who will make you come face to face with this giant. There are several options, a short walk or a trekking for a couple hours. Willing to try a whiskey on the rocks with fresh glacier ice? Bring your bottle!
My personal tip:
Bring food and drinks, settle down on one of the lower balconies, bring good music, stare into the distance and hope for massive icebergs to break off from the glacier. You will jump from your sofa and scream it out loud, believe me!
For the adventurous type there is a hike up to the top of one of the surrounding mountains from where you will even have a more amazing view. Ask around in Calafate, locals might be able to help you out on this one!