Argentina Glacier

Perito Moreno Glacier, Argentina


El Calafate is a small town near the Andes, towards the southern end of Argentina. Unremarkable for any reason, other than it is the nearest town to one of Argentina’s greatest natural attractions – the Perito Moreno Glacier.

The day trip to the glacier is easily arranged via your guest house. It takes about an hour and a half to get to the National Park (Parque Nacional de los Glaciares) in which the glacier is located.

Best value hotels in Argentina

flickr image by lrargerich

On the way to the glacier, we pass the beautiful milky turquoise waters of Lago Argentino, the biggest freshwater lake in the country, with snow capped peaks on the approach. Then there it is…

Five kilometers wide and sixty meters high, the glacier appears as a vision of a beautiful pale aqua blue colored giant. We get kitted out with some facts: The ice at its front is 400 years old, the ice below the surface is 180m deep, the Pacific ocean is only 50km away to the west, and it is 14 km to as far as the eye can see – pretty impressive!

Perito Moreno Glacier

flickr image by Antoine Hubert

We take a boat to the shore on the left edge of the glacier, then after a talk about it, we all don crampons and embark on some glacier trekking. It’s sooo cool! Literally! We trek for an hour and a half passing deep crevasses and huge ice holes of deep blue in color. The glacier’s blue color, compared to the white snow capped peaks behind it really is very noticeably different (due to the density of the ice crystals and the subsequent difference in the light refraction to normal white snow or thin ice). At the end of the trek, we are treated to whisky on the rocks i.e. chunks of glacier are cut out and put in our glass of whisky.

Lago Argentino

flickr image by doriana del sarto

The return boat trip takes us right past the glacier’s front and back to the opposite “mainland” where our bus takes us to some viewing points right in front of the glacier. The whole glacier is really jaggedy and just stretches for as far as the eye can see. It advances by two meters every day and you can frequently hear massive thunderous roars as ice comes crashing into the lake below. We wait some time to actually see one, not just hear it, then one of the largest ice “crystal” towers at the top crumbles and crashes with a load roar. Fantastic!

Argentina has so much to offer the traveller, and its attractions are mainly natural ones. I can’t recommend Argentina highly enough as a travel destination and if you go, then you cannot leave without visiting Perito Moreno.

Date posted: 25th May, 2011

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