Deep in the heart of Patagonia hides the magnificent Perito Moreno Glacier. If you are planning on visiting this area you have probably already heard of it. It is located in the Los Glaciares National Park and is famous for its incredible virgin beauty. It’s no wonder that the glacier is one of the main tourist attractions in Argentinian Patagonia and is one of the most impressive monuments in entire Argentina.
El Calafate is a small village in Patagonia, Argentina. It acts as a kind of hub in the area. From here you can visit the Perito Moreno Glacier, El Chaltén or travel directly to Chile. Almost everything in El Calafate is located on the main street – Avenida del Libertador. Like El Chaltén a big part of the population makes a living on tourism and this is what makes for the high prices in the city. On the main street you can see many souvenir shops, expensive restaurants, casinos, travel agency offices and stores for sport equipment. The only supermarket in the city also finds its place on the main street.
How to get to Perito Moreno Glacier
A few companies operate daily on the El Calafate – Perito Moreno route, leaving from the El Calafate bus station. I suggest buying tickets at least a day in advance during high season, as demand is high. More or less prices everywhere are the same, but I used the services of Cal Tur. Their office is located on the main street of El Calafate. The price for a round trip was AR$ 800 (≈ € 19) and they only take cash payments. There is also a “terminal tax” amounting to AR$ 10 (≈ € 0.25) which is paid before getting on the bus. The trip lasts about 90 minutes. Another opportunity to visit the Perito Moreno Glacier is a one day trip from Puerto Natales, Chile, but at a much higher cost.
The entrance fee for Perito Moreno is paid on the spot when you reach the park. They only accept cash payments here as well. The ticket costs AR$ 700 (≈ € 16-17) and in this regard foreign visitors pay significantly more than locals.
Perito Moreno Glacier
Perito Moreno is one of three glaciers in the world that is known to be constantly growing. Despite global warming, the glacier expands with a speed of about 2 metres per day. At the moment it is approximately 252 square km – its length is over 30 km, and its width – 5 km. On an average scale the glacier towers at over 74 metres above the surface of Lago Argentino. It is part of an ice field, located in Argentina and Chile, which is the third biggest reserve of fresh water in the world.
I was surprised how well the whole complex was designed. Numerous wooden and metal paths are constructed, thanks to which you can almost reach the glacier. There are many observation platforms, from where you can see the Perito Moreno Glacier from different angles. Besides that numerous places have benches, where you can sit and rest and eat a sandwich surrounded by the sound of the ice cracking. You will hear the roar and thunder of the falling iceberg pieces. In the afternoon you have a bigger chance of seeing falling pieces of ice, because it gets warmer. It was amazing to see this incredible work of nature and the falling pieces of ice, provoking a real awe.
Being one of the most popular national parks in Argentina, everything is marked and it’s impossible to get lost. This is one of the places, where you definitely do not need a tour guide. You can enjoy a slow and calm walk, because busses are on schedule and go back in the afternoon.
Visiting the Perito Moreno Glacier was a fantastic captivating experience. The blue colour of the ice, the turquoise water and the untouched white snow create beauty beyond compare. Despite the high price it is worth it and I highly recommend it. There are not many places in the world where you can see this boundless wonder of nature.
For the adventurous ones, you can experience fantastic emotions by taking part in an organized walk on the glacier. The guides will make sure you receive climbing irons and appropriate equipment and will take you through the glacier, to take a closer look at the turquoise blue cracks. Depending on the period you can even enter the ice caves. Of course these tours are not really cheap. There are two types – Mini Trekking and Big Trekking, with prices starting at AR$ 3600 (≈ € 85). You can also take a ride with a boat or a kayak on the lake, you don’t really need to book anything in advance.