Probably the most famous ice field in the whole world, a visit to Perito Moreno glacier in Argentina’s Patagonia province provides one of Mother Nature’s most spectacular views.
The glacier can be reached by land from El Calafate or by constantly changing navigable stretches of water. Once inside Los Glaciares National Park, you have to follow the route around the stunning Lago Argentino for some 50 miles from El Calafate to reach Perito Moreno glacier. Various paths lead through the forest, where it seems like every few steps reveal a new and ever more spectacular view of the vast glacier. As you go, you will hear the glacier “calving,” when huge chunks of ice detach loudly from the face of Perito Moreno and plunge into the ice-cold water below.
About the glacier
The Perito Moreno glacier was named after Francisco Moreno, an explorer who studied the area in the 19th Century. It is one of 356 glaciers that make up “Los Glaciares National Park”, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and one of Argentina’s most popular tourist attractions. This set of glaciers is fed by the Southern Patagonian Ice Field that is located in the Andes system shared with Chile. This icefield is the world’s third largest reserve of fresh water. With a 5km (3 miles) wide face and reaching a height of 60 meters (196 feet), Perito Moreno Glacier is the most stunning in the whole park.
Lago Argentino, the lake in which the Perito Moreno glacier floats is separated in half at times due to the advance of the glacier. Periodically, the glacier advances over the Lago Argentino forming a natural dam, the water-level on the Brazo Rico side can rise by up to 30 meters above the level of the main lake. The intense pressure ruptures the ice barrier in a unique spectacle that is repeated every three or four years and is attended by thousands of people from around the world.
Why visit the Perito Moreno glacier?
This impressive natural wonder has become world famous for several reasons: it is the only one in the whole Patagonian glacier basin that is not retreating; it is easy to access, and the continuous advance and frequent calving. Visitors to Argentina’s Perito Moreno glacier take hiking paths of varying difficulty to enjoy the incomparable views of the glacier, as well as wildlife spotting. You can even go trekking on the glacier itself; a truly unforgettable way to experience the size and majesty of the Perito Moreno glacier.
Perito Moreno and other highlights of Argentina
Argentina is not only home to the Perito Moreno glacier, but you can also visit cosmopolitan Buenos Aires, the desert of the Northwest, and sip Malbec in Mendoza. To find out more about Argentina’s highlights, download our free Argentina Travel Guide now!