One could spend months Patagonia, there is so much to see and so much space to comprehend. Patagonia is a vast area of land that lies in the southern tip of South America in the countries of Argentina and Chile. Patagonia has
With El Calafate being the gateway to the Perito Moreno Glacier you’ll have to stay here, for one night at least. It can be reached by plane from Buenos Aires, or by bus from any other Argentinian city nearby as well as the Chilean town of Puerto Natales.
I started my Argentinian journey by arriving into El Calafate by bus from the Chilean town of Puerto Natales. It was a relaxing and mesmerising bus trip, with nothing but rolling green hills, rocky valleys and wind-battered plains. El Calafate was once a sleepy mountain town with wooden-chalet style buildings. Visiting in December and it was anything but that. I found El Calafate to be a town transformed by tourism with cafes, restaurants, currency exchanges and souvenir shops lining the main boulevard. It was alive and buzzing with people walking around in muddy trekking boots and sipping mate. I couldn’t wait to explore more.
El Calafate is a great place to base yourself to explore the surrounding area. You can spend the day just strolling around and it comes alive at night but for the highlights of this
The best places to stay are in El Calafate and there are a wide range of hotels and hostels and Booking.com. I would also recommend Airbnb, especially if you’re planning on self-catering.
If you’re new to Airbnb make you get $40 off your first booking here.
Planning a visit to El Chalten and the Fitz Roy Range? Get the travel guide here.
VISITING PERITO MORENO GLACIER
About 80km outside of El Calafate is the Perito Moreno Glacier, one of the biggest glaciers and freshwater sources in the world.
Getting to the Perito Moreno is really easy. If you’re planning to get there on a budget the glacier park is well serviced by bus. Simply buy a ticket from the local bus station. If you’d like a little more freedom you can also rent a car in El Calafate and drive to the glacier as well as some other surrounding areas. Tours to the glacier are also available and many of them include a ride on the boat, allowing you to get a different perspective and if you are feeling adventurous kayaking is also an option. There are also many glacier hiking tours, taking you onto the ice (crampons provided) and allowing you to get super up close and personal. You can book all the tours locally in El Calafate.
The glacier is a magnificent sight. I’ve seen smaller glaciers in my life, way smaller but this is something else. Standing there, dumbfounded, it was difficult to comprehend how much ice there really was lying in front of my eyes. The glacier visitor centre has done a really great job constructing walk-ways on this side of the valley. You can get great views of the glacier from different angles as you walk around; from higher up, the right size, left and a little lower down. The ice wall itself measures about 70 metres and as you get closer to the ice you can see how huge it really.
What amazed me was the amount of detail you could see coming up really close to it. Spikes and jagged pinnacles of ice pointing out in different directions, black and brown pieces of sediment and turquoise pockets filled with water. The formations of all these different shapes and colours were like a natural artwork deserving the most prestigious award.
As the day heated up, even though it was absolutely freezing by the glacier, chunks of ice the size of skyscrapers broke off and cascaded into the water below, sending a wave of water in our direction. It was actually really worrying how much ice was crumbling off the glacier. That being said, however, while the ice is thinning, due to global warming it is the only glacier in the world which is advancing and not retreating.
Heading to Buenos Aires? Check out the 15 Top Things to Do in Buenos Aires here.
I’d love to hear from you and answer any comments and questions you have about visiting the Perito Moreno Glacier. Leave them below.
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