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When it comes to glaciers, Perito Moreno, in Argentina, is one of the most famous ones, not to mention one of the most easily accessible and interesting to visit. Located in Patagonia, near the small town of El Calafate, this is a stable glacier – one that each days gives a little, but also gains a little.
If you’re planning a trip to Argentina, you really should put Perito Merino on your itinerary. It’s a truly unique place, and you’re bound to have a memorable time there.
With a glacier as your destination, chances are that it will be incredibly cold when you go. I’ve heard some people say they lucked out with a sunny day when they visited, and I’ve seen photos of others wearing a sweater and little else.
I’ve been twice, and each time I went the weather was overcast, rainy and unbearably cold. In fact, it snowed the first time I visited, although it was the middle of the summer! During my second visit I was better prepared and knew what to wear.
There are various ways to visit Perito Moreno, and, if you have the budget, I recommend experiencing them all. Regardless of the experience you choose, you need to be dressed appropriately.
Before I go into more details about what you should wear during your Perito Moreno tour, let me share more information about the kind of tours available. The good news is that you can mix and match them, and do them all in one day!
The majority of people who visit Perito Moreno, either independently by using public transportation, rental car or even joining a guided group tour, stick to the most classic option, which consists on visiting the balconies – aka the various viewpoints from where it is possible to admire the glacier.
Past the park entrance, you arrive at the tourist information center where there are toilets, a souvenir shop and a cafeteria. Right in front the center is a series of wooden paths marked in different colors, each of them taking you to a different balcony from where you can admire the glacier in all its glory, and from various perspectives. You will not only see, but also hear the glacier as it cracks and big pieces of ice fall into the water. Make sure to pay attention to the thundering noise.
Another way of enjoying Perito Moreno is by hopping on a boat that goes as close to the glacier as it is safe to do. Boat tours depart regularly from the northern shore of Lake Argentino and last around 1.5 hours. There’s a guide on the boat, who will explain interesting facts about the glacier. Snacks are also provided. Boats generally have a photographer who takes pictures of the passengers which can be purchased for an additional fee.
The most exciting way to experience Perito Moreno is via ice trek. There are long treks which last all day, and short ones that last about 90 minutes. For short treks, add time for the boat ride to the start, for a total duration of about 2 hours. I recommend opting for the short trek so that you also have time to visit the balconies.
In order to do the trek, which must be booked in advance, you take a boat from the southern shores of the lake to a base where you’ll be briefed, then walk to the a small hut where the guides will help with your crampons.
Walking on the ice is a fun experience, as you get to see the incredibly deep blue color of the glacier. You’ll be able to taste the water, and you’ll have a chance of going inside the creases and to see the moraine. The trek is easy enough so that even children can do it.
At the end of the hike, the guides offer you a chocolate snack, candies and glass of whiskey to warm you up, which you can have on the very rocks of the glacier!
No matter what tour you do, and even if you go in the summer, you need to dress appropriately when visiting Perito Moreno. It gets incredibly cold there, and the last thing you want is being miserable. When you plan your trip to Patagonia, consider the various options to put together the best packing list for your trip.
Helpful hint: it is much colder on the balconies than on the actual glacier.
The following items will come in handy during your tour of Perito Moreno:
Don’t forget your camera so you can take incredible photos of this beautiful place!
Claudia is a former human rights lawyer who changed careers to follow her true calling. She now travels around the world in search of adventures and unique hiking experiences. Follow her travels at My Adventures Across the World.
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