Do you want to see a glacier up close? Close enough to hear its creaks and cracks, to see huge chunks of it fall into the water below, then look no further than Argentina. This wonderful country has such a variety of landscapes to offer. From the colourful landscapes to vineyards and cities. From its coastline beaches to the snow-capped peaks of the Andes. It is a magical country and a must-visit for anyone thinking of travelling to South America.
I was lucky to visit the Patagonia region on my travels through Argentina. My visit was through the winter which meant snowy scenery, warm jackets, and extra-thick socks! Don’t let the cold put you off, though, because Patagonia is beautiful all year round and the snow adds to the spectacular scenery.
My visit was to El Calafate specifically to see the majestic Perito Moreno glacier. El Calafate is a small town which is about 48 miles from Los Glaciares National Park. The town is lovely to wander around and it has so many cute Alpine style boutique shops and lots of restaurants to choose from.
Los Glaciares National Park – join a tour or visit independently?
There are different ways to get to the Perito Moreno glacier, but I think the best way is on a tour. Some people go independently but to have a guide not only gives you the wealth of information about the area it also makes your trip easy and trouble-free.
I arranged my tour beforehand as I found a deal that included accommodation and airport pick-up/drop-off. My tour company collected me from the airport and dropped me at the hotel. As flights can be less frequent during the winter months, I would suggest booking everything ahead. See ‘getting there’ below.
There are some beautiful hotels in El Calafate, both in the town and along the lake. I personally chose a hotel along the lakeside because I wanted to immerse myself in nature.
Visiting the glacier
The tour bus collected me from my hotel the following morning – bright and early. The guide was excellent, speaking both English and Spanish. I knew I was in for an amazing day!
The bus took us alongside the beautiful lake and into the Andes mountain range before reaching the Los Glaciares National Park entrance. We made a couple of stops at beautiful vistas along the way. There were some real wow moments because the scenery was simply out of this world.
Just as I thought the wow moments were over, we turned a corner revealing the most magnificent view – Perito Moreno glacier surrounded by snowy peaks and the icy lake all framed by the bluest of skies. We were so lucky to see the glacier with hardly a cloud in the sky.
Getting up, close and personal with Perito Moreno glacier
There are a few ways to get close to the glacier, some choose to do a walk on top of it – not for the fainthearted! I decided to hop on a boat and sail by its South-Eastern wall. Honestly, this was the highlight of the entire day – seeing something of this size and magnitude towering above me – I was in awe. The boat got close enough to see even the smallest sections of ice carve off and drop into the lake. It was truly magical.
After spending around an hour on the boat we made our way to the visitor centre. We were left to explore the many walkways all around the peninsula which overlooks the glacier. Even though it can get busy, there was always somewhere quiet to sit and admire the views and patiently wait for a huge chunk of ice to carve off the glacier. Trust me, it is well worth the wait!
I could have spent hours marvelling at the landscapes. It was so peaceful to be surrounded by the mountains and lake admiring and enjoying this once in a lifetime experience to see the Perito Moreno glacier. I couldn’t wait for what was in store for the rest of my visit to Patagonia.
The easiest way to get to El Calafate is to fly. Winter in Patagonia can be quieter in than in the summer so it’s likely that only direct flights from Buenos Aires will be running. Everywhere else will be one stop on the route. During the summer there are direct flights to more locations.
There is a fee to get into Los Glaciares National Park which was included in my tour. If you visit independently then this fee will be payable – it’s around USD $13.
The cost of the boat trip was circa USD $20 per person which wasn’t included in the tour price.
Wrap up warm, it’s very cold outside. Take more layers than you think you will need – just in case.
I would highly recommend is some extra warm gloves, you will want to take so many photos and your hands will get cold quickly.
There is somewhere to get snacks/food in the visitor centre, but I recommend taking a picnic and eating whilst watching the glacier. Why sit inside when you can watch and wait for an ice carving?
The blog is contributed by a guest blogger who has recounted her own experience of having travelled to the Perito Moreno glacier.