Perito Moreno is by far the chief attraction in Argentine Patagonia, rivaled only by Mt. Fitzroy on the other end of the same national park. It is also every shade between white and blue.
The drive to get there, including the tour itself, was grueling. There is no other word for it, besides perhaps arduous. However, the Perito Moreno glacier is more than worth what we went through to get there.
We booked a tour through our hostel in Puerto Natales, Chile that lasted a total of 16 hours. Half of that was driving to and from Los Glaciares National Park just outside of El Calafate, Argentina. Two hours of it was border crossings. The remainder was seeing the glacier, which is about a forty minute drive inside the national park.
El Chalten, another town on the northen edge of the national park, boasts some of the best hiking and trekking places in the world. Mt. Fitzroy calls to climbers as well. We ran out of time and won’t make it up there, but we did get to the glacier and El Calafate! While El Chalten is free to hike and camp and frolic among the pampas, getting to the glacier costs 215 Argentine pesos per person. We paid it, then drove the forty minutes to the sight.
There are a series of boardwalks and viewing platforms down a hillside with a great view of this massive glacier. At the top of the hill is a cafeteria and parking lot for cars and tour buses. The glacier rests on an arm of Lago Argentino and is 250 kilometers squared. Between the sky and the mountains, the lake and the glacier, we saw almost every hue of blue imaginable. And those spires and spikes of ice go on for miles. The glacier averages 240 feet tall.
We could hear parts of the ice breaking apart inside the glacier, and every once and a while we saw pieces fall into the water to join the icebergs. The weather was nice, thankfully, and the views were incredible. Jordan took an hour long boat trip to get closer to the glacier and got some good photos. It was kind of expensive, around 200 pesos, so I stayed behind and enjoyed a cup of tea from the cafeteria.
All in all, it was a very long day and we didn’t get back to our hostel in Chile until after 10 pm. But wow, the blues of that glacier and the sky were worth it.