Los Glaciares National Park in Argentina’s Patagonia region is one of the country’s most popular tourist destinations, and the Perito Moreno Glacier is the undisputed star of the show. Forming part of the Southern Patagonia Ice Field, the third largest reserve of fresh water on the planet after Antarctica and Greenland, its dimensions are astounding.
The glacier is over 30km in length, 5km across and covers 250 sq. km — a greater area than Buenos Aires. The jagged face of the glacier rises precipitously to 70m above the water of Lake Argentino, dwarfing the tiny boats below. This is nature at its most spectacular, and a Perito Moreno day tour is an essential part of any trip to this part of the country.
- Observe this inexorable river of ice from the safety of the viewing platform, and if you are lucky, witness great chunks of glacier calve off and crash into the icy waters below.
- Take a short hike along the wooden walkways to see the glacier from different vantage points and be awed by its grace and power.
- Stop off for a picnic and feel the glacier’s ominous presence as its icy ‘breath’ chills the surrounding air.
- To appreciate the sheer scale of this gigantesque wall of ice, take a boat trip out onto Lake Argentino and admire the glacier from below while sipping a whisky poured over chunks of Perito Moreno ice.
- For the ultimate adventure, join a Perito Moreno Glacier tour and hike out onto the glacier itself to become acquainted with this immense natural wonder at close quarters.
- Important: Perito Moreno glacier is NOT in Perito Moreno town. The settlement of the same name is not even in the same neighbourhood, lying around 600km further north!
- Visiting Perito Moreno glacier starts at the nearby town of El Calafate, from where you can take a public bus. The journey is about 90 minutes, and at USD 30* return, is expensive by local standards.
- Buses depart from the main bus terminal at 8:30 or 9:00 and return at 16:00. Make sure you remember which bus you are supposed to get on. You might want to take a photo of the bus to make sure you can find it later.
- The bus will stop once for park rangers to board and issue tickets. The price is a little under USD 20* — make sure you are carrying enough Argentine pesos as it is not possible to pay by card.
- Boat trips can be organised at the glacier in the office near the viewing platform and boardwalk.
- You can hike out onto the glacier, either on a short Perito Moreno tour of one hour or a longer one lasting several hours. These trips involve a boat trip to reach the start point and require special equipment including crampons, so it is not possible to do it independently. For this reason, if you plan to walk on the glacier, you should book with a tour company.
- Wrap up warm! One of the most impressive things about a huge body of ice like this is its ability to chill the surrounding air — so make sure you wear suitable clothing.
For more destinations and activities, check out our Argentina tours.
*Please note: Prices listed in the article are as of May, 2019.