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Traveling to Perito Moreno Glacier
at Parque Nacional Los Glaciares

Perito Moreno glacier tour grouip
Glacier tours are bustling during the
Argentinian summer months from
December to March.

There are some places on the planet that you just shouldn't put off. A trip to the Perito Moreno glacier in Patagonia is one of them.

The massive ice sheet, which is five kilometers wide and 170 meters deep, spreads across the seemingly endless Lago Argentino in Parque Nacional Los Glaciares in southern Argentina. It is one of only three glaciers in Patagonia that are not retreating due to global warming.

Every so often, the glacier advances far enough into Lago Argentino that it creates a natural dam and forces the water to rise up to 30 meters. When this happens, the pressure from the water causes the glacier to rupture in an explosion of water and ice. The last rupture event was in July 2008 (scroll down the page for video footage from the Associated Press.)

The jump-off point for most visitors to Perito Moreno is El Calafate, a small but modern town located about 80 kilometers away. From El Calafate, visitors can book tours and indulge in luxurious lodgings and upscale restaurants. America del Sur hostel is a popular spot for budget travelers and backpackers, while the 5-star Hotel Posada Los Alamos caters to more high-end visitors.

perito moreno glacier
Perito Moreno glacier's otherworldly ice formations are a photographer's dream.

Tour outfitters in El Calafate provide a number of ways to experience the Parque Nacional Los Glaciares and Perito Moreno. The standard tour busses visitors to the Peninsula de Magallanes, which features a labyrinth of pathways and balconies from which to view the glacier.

Hielo y Aventura is the official tour outfitter of the Parque Nacional Los Glaciares, and as such, holds a monopoly on more in-depth tours. Safari Nautico is a one-hour boat tour around the glacier and can be booked at the park. The popular Mini Trekking adventure features a boat tour, balcony visit and two-hour trek on the glacier with crampons and licensed guides. The Big Ice tour is intended for more experienced outdoorsmen, with about seven hours of trekking across diverse terrains.

More information

How to Get There: Aerolineas Argentina, LAN and LADE offer frequent flights to El Calafate from Buenos Aires, Bariloche and other Argentine destinations. Expect to pay around AR$575 (US$150) each way.

When to Go: The summer months, from December to March, is high season in El Calafate, and it can be difficult to book lodging and tours. The periods from September to November and March to June are still bustling but quieter. This author was advised against traveling to the region in the winter months of July and August but found the weather to be bearable.

Perito Moreno Glacier Tour Outfitters:

Hielo y Aventura
Av. Libertador 935
(02902) 492205/094

Patagonia Backpackers
Av. Libertador 587
(02902) 491792

More about the Perito Moreno glacier around the Web:

Perito Moreno glacier - Wikipedia

Los Glaciares National Park

About the Author... Jessica Arriola Marati


also see -> Watching Tango in Buenos Aires

Argentina Wineries & Vineyards

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