Visiting the Perito Moreno glacier is something you have to do at least once in a lifetime. It is an impressive place that nature has created and that we can still visit.
It is very close to El Calafate, which also gives access to Los Glaciares National Park, and was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1981.
How to visit Perito Moreno Glacier?
Los Glaciares National Park was created in 1937 with the goal of preserving its glaciers and surroundings. Among the most well-known glaciers, we find the Uppsala, which is the largest, the Spegazzini, which is the highest, and the Perito Moreno, which is the most famous of all thanks to the ice breaks that happen every few years, more or less by February.
Visit to Perito Moreno Glacier
To visit the Perito Moreno glacier, we traveled from Buenos Aires to Calafate. Our trip had a stopover in Ushuaia, so it took about 3 hours to arrive. The plane was tiny and noisy and I never had so many turbulences in my life. But it was worth it.
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Where to stay in Calafate?
We stayed at El Calafate for 3 nights in the Hostería Puerto San Julián, which is well located in the village and is well priced, (or at least it was ;)).
The village of El Calafate is “the base of operations” for the visit to the glaciers. It is a small town with a lot of charm, with low and rustic houses, that are totally accustomed to tourism, and that includes charming inhabitants.
We traveled in October for our honeymoon, already a few years ago (2006) … Travelling in early October is to travel in near-low season, as they are just coming out of a harsh winter. Therefore, some excursions cannot be done because of the weather. However, there is more accommodation available and best of all there are few tourists.
Excursions from El Calafate
We didn’t have contracted tours, we only had the flight and the accommodation. So we used our first day to organize the next two days and visit El Calafate since we depart at noon from Calafate to Buenos Aires.
If you want to go with the excursion to the Perito Moreno contracted from home:
- Visit this website for your tours.
where you will find the best tours to visit the Perito Moreno Glacier and this entire area of the National Park.
At that time the Inn did not organize any excursions, so it recommended a place to hire them.
We did 2 excursions, one for each day. The first day we went to the Perito Moreno Glacier and the next we went to the Upsala Glacier and the Spegazzini. As I told you before, there were some excursions that we could not do, I was left wanting to trek over the Perito Moreno Glacier, I will have to return!
The excursion to Perito Moreno lasts all day; we leave early by bus. It is about 80 km from Calafate, with lake Argentino on our right. The road has great views and we were lucky enough to see condors, they are some of the largest birds on the planet, pity that at that time our camera was not the best…
When you get to the Perito Moreno, you stay astonished, I had never visited a glacier before and it was fabulous!
You hear the sound of ice coming off and falling into the water. You stare, waiting for it to be a huge piece of ice, because of the giant roar that it makes, but there were times when you didn’t even see the icefall, other times it was small or at least it looked like it from where we were.
This makes me imagine how impressive it must be to be there when the ice dam breaks… I’d love to see it even if it’s only once. Other times you hear the sounds of the ice cracking inside because the Perito Moreno is one of the fastest advancing glaciers in the world.
Visit All Glaciers
For the next day, we had several options to choose from, we were hesitating between the excursion to the Upsala Glacier + Estancia Cristina (you visit the glacier, the Argentine lake, and the Estancia) or Todo Glaciares, we chose the last one.
It is a very nice excursion, very quiet. We meet at the meeting point to go to Puerto de la Cruz, where we embark on a catamaran. We sail towards the Upsala Glacier, the largest of all. As we sailed we found ice floes and noticed that many of the icebergs were much larger than the boat itself.
On the day that we traveled by catamaran, it happened to be cloudy and it even snowed on us but the icebergs reflected this cool blue color that was awesome and definitely worth the weather.
I don’t know how to say how spectacular everything was with words… We then passed with the catamaran ahead of the Upsala glacier, this glacier is unique when compared to the others; being the widest and the most ice-suspended in the water, it doesn’t break into little pieces like the others.
This glacier when it breaks, the piece that breaks off is the entire front that is more than 13 kilometers long. Breaking like this creates a fairly violent wave in the lake that can overturn the boat, so they don’t come within 600 meters of the glacier just in case. Apparently, it’s spectacular, and very few have a chance to watch it live.
We were on the catamaran for about two hours, after which we disembarked in Onelli Bay and walked through a forest until we reached Lake Onelli, where we saw three other glaciers; the Agassiz, the Bolado, and the Onelli glaciers. Then we saw the Spegazzini Glacier, which is the highest in the National Park, with about 130 meters above water level.
Then we went back to Puerto Bandera and began our return.
Note: I have been told that for environmental reasons it no longer lands in this area. We made the trip in 2006 and we were lucky enough to be able to see it and walk around as you can see in the photos.
If I remember correctly, when we hired the tours, we hired them with food. Although you have the option to take food for yourself.
Where to dine in Calafate?
The 3-night dinners were magnificent, plus, they coincided one of the days with Fer’s birthday, we had dinner at the local restaurants.
Of course, we tried the Patagonian lamb at La Tablita restaurant. It is a classic of the city, the oldest restaurant in El Calafate and is where we were recommended the best lamb to eat in the city and the truth is that it was very good.
We also tried other local specialties such as salmon or trout and tried the fruit of Calafate, which has a saying that stated that “whoever tastes the fruit of Calafate will come back for more!”
Also, as it was Fer’s first trip to Argentina, I made him try the Fernet with coke. I recommend you try it too and make it more coke than fernet!
I hope that you all have the possibility to visit El Calafate and Los Glaciares National Park, it is an experience that must be experienced at least once in a lifetime!
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