After at least ten years of wishing and wanting, I was so happy to finally travel to Argentina. One of the most impressive things I have seen during this trip? Definitely the Perito Moreno glacier! The highlight of the Los Glaciares National Park in Patagonia is located about one hour drive from El Calafate, the village that is home to most accommodation and local airport (FTE).
Parque Nacional Los Glaciares as it is called in Spanish, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that includes 47 (!) larger active glaciers and more than 200 smaller glaciers. The Perito Moreno glacier is 250 km².
The Perito Moreno glacier is one of the very few glaciers world-wide that are still growing, or at least does not withdraw, although also pieces break off once and awhile. Just sit down and watch the gorgeous glacier for a while, wait until a large amount of ice crumbles and falls into the Lago Argentino with a lot of noise.
The thicker the ice, the bluer it looks.
Friends who went before, told me about how much impression the Perito Moreno glacier made on them. They just sat there on a bench for hours and hours, admiring the glacier. When I saw the Perito Moreno glacier for the first time, it struck me how big it is and how blue the glacier actually looks. Unfortunately we did not have any clear blue sky that day, but the glacier looked gorgeous anyway!
How cool is it to hike on top of a huge glacier? Obviously with a professional guide. There is one local company that offers this opportunity at the Perito Moreno glacier: Hielo & Aventura. You spend about 1.5 hours on the glacier but it’s a full day trip (app. 07:30h – 15:30h). And we loved it!
I must say I did not find this mini trekking at the Perito Moreno Glacier easy. I guess only folks with a really good condition can manage this hike without panting a lot. Did not regret it for a second though! Besides the fantastic view, there is another reward on top: a drink with fresh glacier ice. The max group size is 20.
The sight, the sound and the falling fragments give you a sense of insignificance.
How to get around
Due to the outrageous prices of rental cars and the awkward opening hours of local rental car agencies, we decided not to rent a car in El Calafate. This saved us quite some money and unnecessary hassle. The downside is that you have less control over low long you can spend at a certain stop, like my friends who sat there on a bench, watching the glacier for hours. I am not a typical group traveller but everything was well arranged by Hielo & Aventura and fairly priced, so I can definitely recommend them.
What to bring
- Rainproof pants
- Hiking boots
- Sporty clothes (layers)
- Winter cap, buff and gloves
- Rain and wind proof jacket (not too thick!)
- Bottle of water
- Snack & lunch
- Moderate condition
What it costs
To be honest Argentina has been one of our most expensive trips so far. Due to the devaluation of the Argentinian peso prices have gone further up over the past couple of years. But it’s worth it!
- Perito Moreno glacier mini trekking and boat ride AR$3600, with transfer from El Chalten AR$4500 (Hielo & Aventura, 2018)
- Or book a tour of your choice via Viator or GetYourGuide
- Entrance Los Glaciares NP AR$600
When to go
The best times to visit Argentine Patagonia are September through November (spring time in the southern hemisphere) and December through February (summer time). We went in November and it was fine (not cold).
Where to stay
We stayed at Hosteria Cauquenes des Nimes in El Calafate and really liked it! Good atmosphere and nice staff. 15 min walk to the center.
Where to eat
We really enjoyed these two restaurants in El Calafate:
Map El Calafate & NP Los Glaciares
This map includes places and spots mentioned in this article (and more). This one is ‘smartphone friendly’; you can easily use it via the Google Maps app. Click the icon at the top left to open the menu and see the categories. To adapt the map to your own preferences and interests, (de)select a category. Via Google Drive you can copy the map to your own My Google Maps account.
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Do you have plans to go to Argentina? Don’t miss out on this glacier hike on perito Moreno in Patagonia! I hope you find this article useful. Please feel free to leave a message or question below.
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Last Updated on 04/05/2021 by Flitter Fever