Perhaps one of the Argentina’s biggest tourist attractions, as well a little too many Peso’s (though every bit worth it); the Perito Moreno Glacier is a must see for anyone venturing to southern Patagonia.
From the moment it’s in view, you will be in awe (and wishing you sat on the left hand side of the bus!). Foremost, of its size and vibrant colour, as well that mother nature is capable of creating something so immensely beautiful. It’s not everyday that you get to witness a phenomenal natural occurrence that is remnants of the past ice-ages, having survived a million years.
I’m a little sceptical of overly touristy attractions, but this one is well worth the hefty fee (and small effort) in getting there. The ice formations and grains that run within its 250km² mass are somewhat like a blue quartz crystal. A deeply cold translucent hue with the most striking irregular form that’s completely stunning! The thunderous sounds when the ice cracks were not at all anything I’d anticipated and when the ice did fall, it was spectacular to watch. Particularly the ricochet of waves, resulting from what could only be tonnes of ice on impact. Seeing this in all of its glory was an effective reminder for us to better preserve our beautiful home and to keep it safe for all to enjoy, forever.
In saying this, it was interesting to learn that the Perito Moreno Glacier is one of the few left in the world that is actually advancing. So as the size increases, the front of the glacier gains cracks and crevasses that eventually calve off in its movement. (Surprisingly), it’s not the direct effect of global warming which I was initially very quick to blame. In the 1.5 hours that we were there (before we high-tailed back to warmth in the nearby restaurant), we were fortunate to witness a few occurrences of the ice calving in varying degrees. And with the alert of the roaring sounds, there was good time to get the camera ready. As well, be left completely mesmerised by the unfolding of a true natural beauty right before our eyes.
But with or without the calving of the ice, it was impressive to see nonetheless.
And so, if Argentina is on your list of places to visit (and call me bias, but it should be!), then work this absolute ‘must see’ into your itinerary. A few extra Peso’s aside, you won’t be disappointed!
Perito Moreno Glacier in a nutshell:
- Located about a 90-minute drive from El Calafate, there are plenty of tour operators to choose from. Or for a less expensive alternative (as we did) take the local bus from the bus terminal. It costs 800 Peso’s (approx. $30 AUD) return (dep. 1pm & return (ex. PMG) 7.30pm). Entry to the Los Glaciares National Park is an additional 700 Peso’s p/person ($25 AUD). Don’t be fooled, the Perito Moreno Glacier is nowhere in the vicinity of Perito Moreno township. That my friends is over 600km away, north.
- Enjoy the many incredible vistas from the (free) boardwalk that winds around the lake. It’s a beautiful and well thought out construction with many viewing platforms. You can ride the ferry or walk on the glacier (as part of a guided tour) but I personally didn’t feel without for not having done these activities. To see it up close and personal is more than impressive.
- Perito Moreno Glacier is one of the worlds few advancing glaciers. The cracking and falling of the ice is due to its growth and is not a direct effect of global warming.
- It’s 250km² in size, and 30 kilometres in length. You could fit Buenos Aires City into those dimensions. It’s huge!
Have you previously visited the Perito Moreno Glacier? Or another equally impressive natural site? I’d love to hear your experiences too.