Visiting the Perito Moreno glacier in Patagonia, Argentina was the first WOW moment of our six months trip in South America. Before Patagonia, we had spent four weeks in Buenos Aires where we had a good time, but hardly comparable with the visual feast this part of the world offered us.
El Calafate is the gateway to Los Glaciares National Park which is home to the Perito Moreno Glacier, the main attraction of the region and one of my fondest memories from South America :). For other mindblowing experiences/views click here, here, and here.
The town per se is nice, but not worth staying in for more than 1-2 days. Besides being small, it is extremely expensive. We spent a few hours after arrival to get the feel of the place and the next full day visiting the national park.
Perito Moreno Glacier
I had not seen mountains in almost 10 years and had never seen a glacier before, so I was really happy to see both. Especially after spending one month in Buenos Aires, the change of scenery was spectacular.
There are a few options to reach the Perito Moreno glacier. We took an offer from a hostel which included a different path called the old route, a stop at an estancia, and plenty of information from the guide. Generally, we tend to stay away from guided tours, but this offer, in particular, was quite good, and the bus was full of backpackers which is always a good sign :).
The first glimpse
It’s hard to describe in words the first moment you lay your eyes on this natural wonder. It’s absolutely impressive, and it’s not only the size and beauty, it’s the feeling it gives you. You really feel like you have achieved something simply by being there. At least I did.
The national park is very well organized and allows you to see the glacier from different vantage points, therefore you need to explore it. We spent around 3h walking from one side to the other while trying to avoid the selfie sticks :).
Photography by Bertrand Delvaux.
How and Where to:
How to get there: We took a LADE airline flight from Buenos Aires which was quite bumpy and had a 3h delay but it was the cheapest we could find at “only” AR$200/€133. The plane was very small, the stewards were the most relaxed we’ve seen, the toilets stank at every landing (we had two stops before El Calafate), and we had food and drinks throughout the flight. From the number of passengers (mostly Argentinians), this is still a hidden gem. You don’t find it on Skyscanner or Google flights, so you need to go to one of their agencies (you can find them both in Buenos Aires and in El Calafate).
Airport transfer: From El Calafate airport, we took a bus for AR$120/€8 which dropped us off at the hotel.
Where to stay: We stayed at El Kalenshen, formerly know (and found on Google maps) as Howard Johnson. We had a nice stay here, were pleased with their services and we ended up using the same company for the accommodation in El Chalten.
Where to eat: There are many offers around town; you can find warm soups, pizza, and pasta etc. I would just move away from the main street where prices are ridiculous.
If you like it, why not Pin it!
Patagonia:the highlight of Argentina
El Calafate is a must if you visit Patagonia, even if for only one day. Seeing Perito Moreno, for me was one of the highlights of the trip.
If I have convinced you to go to Patagonia, don’t miss trekking in El Chalten. It is a must! Post coming soon.