As everyone knows, the Perito Moreno is a glacier. One of the few in the world that is not in the process of retreating, and therefore remains stable.
If you want a carefree visit with everything taken care of check out our 4 day Perito Moreno Glacier Tour . You can also organize your own visit, so keep on reading.
The glacier originates from the summits of the Southern Patagonian ice field, which descends through a valley to the southern arm of Lake Argentino. Its front extends over 5 kilometers in length, reaching over 70 meters in height from the level of the lake's waters.
Given its inhospitable location, the first sighting took place in 1879, thanks to the British captain of the Chilean Navy Juan Tomas Rogers. Twenty years later, it was renamed with its current name, in homage to Francisco Pascasio Moreno, known as the "expert" due to his deep knowledge of the region.
In addition to its unquestionable beauty, many reasons have made the Perito Moreno Glacier the main tourist destination in Argentina. One of them is its easy access, as it is the only glacier in Patagonia that can be visited freely from the mainland, without the need to take a boat.
Voyagers Travel offers several tours that visit the entire Patagonia region, here are a few itineraries to inspire you, they all include a visit to Perito Moreno:
All trips include guided visits, accommodation at hand picked hotels, meals and assistance for a carefree vacation. Every single program can be customized to meet your preferences.
The Perito Moreno Glacier is located in front of the Magallanes Peninsula, south of Los Glaciares National Park, in the heart of Argentine Patagonia.
It is located about 80 km to the west of El Calafate, and about 300 kilometers by road to the south of the small village of El Chaltén, the national capital of trekking, one of the most fascinating places in the southern cone where you can go hiking (check out our list of best hikes in South America).
The nearby town of El Calafate, located about 80 kilometers to the east, is the closest town to the Perito Moreno glacier. It is the ideal base of operations from which to explore it, a place that has a multitude of services and amenities where you can spend a few days.
The best way to get to El Calafate from anywhere in Argentina is by plane from Buenos Aires. However, from many nearby cities, including some in Chilean Patagonia such as Puerto Natales, it can also be reached by bus.
To get there by car: Renting a car at El Calafate airport is a great idea to get to know Patagonia and therefore, to visit Perito Moreno on your own.
To go to Perito Moreno from El Calafate, you will only have to drive along the paved road RP 11 for approximately 80 kilometers. Once in the car park, there is a free shuttle service that connects to the area closest to the glacier, where the walkway area is located.
On the way from El Calafate, there are some very beautiful places to stop and gaze at Lake Argentino, especially at sunrise.
The climate in Perito Moreno is unpredictable and hostile. Although summers are usually mild mild, they are also very windy. In winter, in addition to the wind, temperatures are cold and the sky remains partially covered most of the time.
The warm season coincides with the end of the southern spring and summer, from the end of November to mid-March, with an average temperature of 18°C.
The coldest months logically coincide with the southern winter, from the end of May to the end of August, a time when temperatures remain below zero relatively frequently.
Despite this, the area does not record large rainfall. The rainiest season is from the beginning of April to the middle of May, with an average of 31 days of rain, without a doubt a great advantage to visit Perito Moreno.
Best to be prepared and pack properly if you are visiting Patagonia, here are our suggestions on what to wear.
Another of the reasons that give it so much prestige and splendor is the continuous landslides that occur on the front dock. But do not be alarmed by it, the fall of these gigantic blocks of ice, the size of entire buildings, is not caused by the global warming that causes us so much concern.
Precisely, on this occasion, these landslides occur due to their rapid advance through the glacial valley through which it slides.
When it comes into contact with the warm waters of Lake Argentino, its base cracks, and the ice blocks suddenly break off, reminiscent of the controlled demolitions we see on television.
The phenomenon of the great rupture is one of the most anticipated moments by a large part of scientists and researchers. It takes place every few years, although unfortunately, no calculation can predict it in advance.
The last one took place during the early hours of March 11, 2018, just a month before our visit, where it was still possible to see some of the dislodged icebergs floating on the glacial lagoon.
The phenomenon takes place when the advance of the ice mass lands on the Magellan Peninsula, just below the observation bridges. This forms a kind of natural dam, which causes the water of the southern arm of Lake Argentino to generate increasing pressure due to the increase in its level fed by the melting of the area.
When the difference between the water levels on each side is considerable and the wall begins to fracture, water seeps in and ends up undermining the wall until it forms a bridge between the glacier and the peninsula. The passage of water causes the ice "bridge" to lose density, which eventually leads to its collapse. Its noise is deafening.
The Perito Moreno Glacier is a destination that you can visit throughout the year. Despite this, there are seasons that we can consider more appropriate than others. Logical right?
The best time to visit Perito Moreno is between December and February when the temperatures are infinitely more pleasant. Despite this, during these months most Argentines are on vacation. Synonymous with rising prices and large crowds.
During the remaining months of the year, the influx of visitors decreases and the prices of accommodation also. The low season runs from May to August when temperatures are much lower. Despite the cold, this is probably the best time to enjoy its spectacular nature without crowds and alone.
Whatever time you decide to visit Perito Moreno, due to the unpredictable weather in Patagonia, you will always have to do it with a raincoat and warm clothes.
Without a doubt, it is the cheapest way and the best way in which you can see Perito Moreno. The remaining options that we are going to mention should only be complementary.
The complete circuit with stops included and taking a thousand photos is approximately two hours. From the platforms, it is possible to enjoy a complete view of the front of the glacier and observe its constant landslides.
There are five paths differentiated by different colors with a multitude of platforms and viewpoints. Taking the path to the left at all the intersections, the complete circuit is completed, the only one we did not follow was the blue one.
One of the best activities to do is to see the Perito Moreno up close. The walks usually last 60 minutes, and they approach the ice wall of the glacier, always at a reasonable distance due to the danger of landslides. We highly recommend this activity.
There are several options to combine boat trips with other activities. These are the most frequent:
Guided tour by the Perito Moreno in Spanish, which also includes the tour modality with a boat ride.
A boat trip on the Perito Moreno is designed for those who decide to visit the glacier on their own.
It is one of the best options to observe the Perito Moreno from up close, an excellent activity to complement the catwalk walk. This walk cannot be done on your own, you have to hire the excursion service. Prices cost from lops 200usd
If you are one of those people who like to get to know nature up close, this activity is for you. To be able to do it you must rent a Kayak with prices that are between 150-200 USD.
The best options to stay are in the city of El Calafate, being the closest town to the Perito Moreno Glacier.
If you want the best. A refuge of peace, warmth, and comfort with high-quality standards, I recommend that you visit "Alto Calafate". It has a formidable gastronomic variety, unique landscapes, and exclusive access. Without a doubt, the best of El Calafate.
If we want to stay in something cheaper, a good option is the Hotel del Glaciar Libertador.
And if you are looking to be in the middle of nature, you can opt for the Hotel El Galpón del Glaciar, which offers many activities and services to do next to Lake Argentino.