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 Perito Moreno Glacier in 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.
We were lucky to visit the Patagonia region on our travels through Argentina. Our 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.
Our 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 we think the best way is on a tour. Some people go independently, but having a guide not only gives you a wealth of information about the area, but it also makes your trip easy and trouble-free.
We arranged our tour beforehand as we found a deal that included accommodation and airport pick-up/drop-off. Our tour company collected us from the airport and dropped us at the hotel. As flights can be less frequent during the winter months, we 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. We personally chose a hotel along the lakeside because we wanted to immerse ourselves in nature.
THE JOURNEY TO THE GLACIER
The tour bus collected us from the hotel the following morning – bright and early. The guide was excellent, speaking both English and Spanish. We knew we were 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 TO PERITO MORENO GLACIER
There are a few ways to get close to the glacier, some choose to walk on top of it – not for the fainthearted! We 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 us; we were 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 us, it is well worth the wait!
We could’ve 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 Perito Moreno Glacier. We couldn’t wait for what was in store for the rest of our visit to Patagonia.
HOW TO GET THERE & TRIP INFORMATION
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.
Our tour was called ‘El Calafate, Paradise Below Zero,’ and we booked it via Tourradar.
We paid £91 each for 3 nights in a 3* hotel (double room), including buffet breakfast, guided tour incl entrance fees, and airport transfers.
All other meals were extra, and flights/buses in and out of El Calafate were arranged and paid for ourselves. The service from Tourradar was excellent, and we will definitely use them again for future trips. Given the price that we paid, we couldn’t believe how amazing our hotel was. We stayed at the Rochester Calafate, which was super comfortable. Breakfast was also EXCELLENT!
PERITO MORENO – TIPS & TRICKS
There is a fee to get into Los Glaciares National Park which was included in our 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. Don’t forget your warm socks!
We would highly recommend is some extra warm gloves, you will want to take so many photos and your hands will get cold quickly. Maybe a pair that allows you to operate your iPhone or camera without taking them off :).
There is somewhere to get snacks/food in the visitor centre, but we recommend taking a picnic and eating whilst watching the glacier. Why sit inside when you can watch and wait for an ice carving?
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