Undoubtedly the most iconic feature of Argentina’s portion of Patagonia, the Perito Moreno Glacier is a sight that defies belief. It is widely considered the most impressive of Patagonia’s glaciers. Located in Los Glaciares National Park, which stretches over 7,000 square kilometers, a Perito Moreno Glacier tour should be on your bucket list, if it wasn’t already.
When you visit the Perito Moreno Glacier you don’t just see it, you experience it. You fill your lungs with ice cold, glacial air and you immerse yourself in the sheer power of Mother Nature. Here are some of the best ways to make the most of your trip.
1. Boat tours
The most popular way to experience the glacier is by hopping in a boat and doing a Perito Moreno Glacier tour. Once aboard your vessel, you will sail the smooth, milky water along the front wall of the glacier. You will find yourself and your fellow travelers are rendered speechless, and the silence intensifies the experience. Some boats even offer their passengers a glass of whiskey on the rocks – the ice coming from the very glacier you’re here to admire.
Part of the spectacle of seeing the Perito Moreno Glacier in real life is the chance to watch it fall apart. Regularly, chunks of ice fall off the glacier and crash dramatically into the water. They then become mini-icebergs that float majestically just meters from your boat.
There is no need to pre-book a boat tour as you can just join one once you’re in the park.
Los Glaciares National Park is definitely the most visited national park in Argentina. This means that the price is pretty hefty but the park has been well-developed for tourists. There is a boardwalk that goes through some of the most beautiful areas of the park and offers a number of viewing points to see the glacier. There are signposts everywhere so you don’t need to worry about getting lost. Alternatively, there are plenty of other trekking routes away from the boardwalk that will take you to other parts of the park. If you have the time, you could spend 2 or 3 days seeing the glaciers and walking around the glacial lakes. There are plenty of designated camping areas where you can pitch a tent for the night.
3. Ice hiking tours
Naturally, the best way to really get up close and personal with the Perito Moreno Glacier is to hike across it. Tour guides will lead small groups across the surface of the glacier, stopping occasionally to admire various ice peaks and lagoons. Crampons are required for the walk and are provided by the tour company. The walk across the glacier is reasonably easy for anyone with a basic level of fitness but be sure to dress up warm. You are walking over a huge piece of ice so it can get very chilly! The walk only lasts around 2 hours so you would be crazy to go all the way to the Perito Moreno Glacier and not take the opportunity to walk across it.
As mentioned above, the Perito Moreno Glacier can be found in Los Glaciares National Park and while it is its star attraction, the park still boasts plenty of other things to do. For those who enjoy mountain climbing, the peaks are a must. The list of craggy mountains in the park includes the Cerro Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre, both of which are notoriously difficult climbs. Alternatively, there are plenty of trekking and hiking routes you can take around the mountains that are easier feats. The fact that it is in Patagonia means there are several excellent hikes and treks to embark on.
In addition to the peaks, there are two gigantic lakes in the park: Lago Argentino and Lago Viedma. Visitors to the park can spend the day walking along the banks of the lakes and taking in the staggering views. Those looking for natural beauty will find it in abundance here.
The best time to visit the Perito Moreno Glacier and its surrounding park is during the Southern Hemisphere summer and its shoulder months. This means that between November and April is ideal. It is a bad idea to go between June and September as the weather will be extreme and it is likely that you won’t be able to do many activities because of the wind and snow.
For more information, visit our guide to the best time to visit Patagonia.
Patagonia can be a difficult beast to tame, so make sure you’re aware of the following before you go:
- Patagonia is expensive so make sure your budget can handle it.
- You will need to pay an entry fee to get into Los Glaciares National Park.
- Take sun cream because the rays here can be harsh despite the wind and snow.
- If you are planning on trekking alone, be sure to register your plans with the park authorities for safety reasons.
Visiting the Perito Moreno glacier is truly a once in a lifetime opportunity. Although it is known as being one of the few glaciers in the world that is actually growing, it is also thinning. This means it has a downward trajectory, unfortunately. It certainly won’t be diminishing anytime soon but there is no time like the present to see it in all its icy glory.