On my way from Torres del Paine to my next hiking mission around El Chaltén, I stop in El Calafate. A small and very touristy town with its main attraction the Perito Moreno Glacier some 80km away.
There’s not much to do but I enjoy walking around, eating alfajores and ice cream, getting my laundry done…. I am also happy I meet on the bus a Dutch woman who booked the same hostel and it’s nice to spend some time together and she’s also going to El Chaltén afterwards.
After having been to Antarctica and then seen glacier Grey in the Torres del Paine, I was hesitating to spend more money to wee the glacier Perito Moreno. In El Calafate, I finally decided that I should go and do at least the minimum tour, a bus trip to the glacier where you can walk on boardwalks (altogether 5km of walks) and enjoy the view from balconies. It costs 60€ (I.e. 450 pesos for the bus trip and 500 pesos entrance fee).
The glacier Perito Moreno is part of the biggest ice field of the Southern Hemisphere after Antarctica. And I was not disappointed! Always Glacier picks me up at my hostel Calafate and during the 90 minutes drive to the national park we learn a lot about the region. We drive along the Lago Argentino, the biggest lake of Argentina, 80km long and 20km wide. It’s a huge source of potable water.
The others do a boat trip for another 400 pesos while I am dropped off for 4h during which I can discover the glacier view on my own. There are boardwalks everywhere and on the balconies information walls. The glacier is huge, it’s much bigger than glacier Grey, the front is 5km long and up to 70m high.
I am on my own in the beginning, people seem to start later usually. I enjoy the silence as I can just listen to the sound of the cracking ice. The difference to Antarctica is of course the scale, but what I appreciate here is the contrast of the ice and snow with the automn leafs of the lenga trees (southern beeches).
The glacier got the name from the Explorer and naturalist Perito Moreno, a hero in Argentina who played a key role in the boundary dispute and demarcation with Chile. He never made it, by the way, to the glacier!
For the last few centuries the glacier has been about the same size, it’s not reclining as most glaciers.
A nice day trip, very relaxing!