Perito Moreno and Los Glaciares National ParkFebruary 20th, 2014 | Posted by in Argentina | Parks | The Places We've Been
After leaving Ushuaia, we drove northwest to El Calafate, a small town of fewer than 10,000 inhabitants in the southwest corner of Argentina. Here, we are staying in a private room at a lovely hostel for the week (a choice we made based on how expensive this region is, but one we are quite happy with) where we share a kitchen and main hall with all kinds of friendly folks and enjoy daily afternoon outings to the lake so that the dogs can stretch their legs. That lake, Lago Argentino, on which the town sits, is a glorious, milky, baby blue color that teases the eyes and mimics a softer version of warm Caribbean waters. The Andes of Chile and Argentina are host to innumerable fantastic natural wonders, and our week in El Calafate is positioned to be our only foray into them on this journey as deeper regions require less connectivity and/or much higher budgets, neither of which we can afford to budge on at this time. Instead, we chose a place that we felt would give us the taste we craved of the mountainous section of Patagonia and thus far, we have enjoyed every bit of it.
On Sunday, we made the 90 minute drive west to el Parque Nacional Los Glaciares, where we spent nearly all of our time staring at the enormous Perito Moreno glacier and saying deeply perceptive things like, “That’s a lot of ice,” and “Man, it’s really big,” and “Wow, just look at it.” Below are some tidbits from this awe-inspiring part of our planet.
- The full park is the second largest in Argentina, bordering Chile to the west and stretching further north than Lago Viedma and further south than Lago Argentino. See a map here. It contains many renowned sites that I will not touch on, because I want to talk about the big glacier instead.
- According to the park’s website, the glaciers of the Argentine Andean ice caps are “the largest continental ice extension after Antarctica”. They are also notable for being closer to sea level than the other big, famous guys.
- Perito Moreno is a gigantic glacier in Los Glaciares National Park. It stretches for more than a dozen miles at an average height of 74 meters above Lago Argentino and is 50 meters tall and 3 miles wide at its end (the part we can see). As we said… that’s a lot of ice.
- Perito Moreno is GROWING! Or “advancing” depending on how technical you want to be with your terminology. Regardless, that is a big deal and also means regular ruptures.
- The glacier can be viewed from eye-level and above via extensive platforms or from below via boat tour. It can also be explored via ice hikes that are sold by local tourist companies. They’re probably all cool. We were tickled by the free-ish walk during which we hosted a marvelous two-person picnic and picked up a couple of grade-A farmers tans.
- I say “free-ish” because it costs 130 Argentine pesos for foreigners to enter the park. South Americans pay less (40 maybe?) and Argentines even less (15). This is, of course, a charge incurred no matter how you explore the park. For us, this equated to about $13 USD. Read our post on the blue dollar before estimating how much it will cost you. For the record, we thought it was entirely worth the expense.
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