Our first destination on the Argentinian side of Patagonia was the town of El Calafate. This town is a 7 hour bus ride away from Puerto Natales in Chile. The main reason for our visit to El Calafate was the world-famous Perito Moreno Glacier, about 80 km away. We opted for a guided tour, organised by Patagonia dreams (€60 per person).
The tour operator picked us up from our hostel at 8.45 and after a couple of other stops, we were on our way to Parque Nacional los Glaciares. We drove for about one hour, until we reached the entrance of the park. Here we had to pay for our entrance ticket (700 pesos, €16). If you pay by card, you have to get off the bus here to pay at the ticket booths. If you prefer paying in cash, you can stay inside the bus. Staff members of the park board the bus and sell you the tickets there.
From here it takes another 30 minutes by bus or car to reach the ferry stations. On the way to the ferry stations you get tons of viewpoints from where you get amazing views on the glacier. The Perito Moreno Glacier totals 250 km² and is the second biggest glacier in Argentina (the Viedma Glacier is the biggest at 970 km²!). The minute you lay eyes on the glacier, you’ll be impressed by its size and beautiful blue colour.
Boat ride to the Perito Moreno Glacier
Our guide got us our boat tickets, so we didn’t have to worry about anything at all, and we embarked the boat once we arrived at the station. The boat ride took 60 minutes and brought us up to 100 metres away from the glacier. Our boat was filled to the brim, which meant we were about 120 people in total. The boat had indoor seating for everyone, but the outdoor area is actually not that big.
Since, obviously, everyone wanted to get a good look of the glacier, the outdoor areas were full of people. At times it felt a bit like we were packed in like sardines. Luckily, we were one of the first ones out, so we got a chance to take pictures before everyone else started to arrive. However, after a while, it got a bit too packed for Simen, who decided to admire the glacier from inside the boat.
The glacier is quite active, and at times there were big chunks of ice falling down, which was really impressive! After taking dozens of pictures and admiring the glacier for about 50 minutes, it was time to head back to shore.
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Patagonia has been amazing! We not only did tons of wonderful hikes, but we also visited the Perito Moreno glacier. This glacier totals 250 km2 and is the 2nd biggest in Argentina. #peritomoreno #patagonia #elcalafate #loveplanetearth #argentina #exploretheworld #travelphotography #travellove #travelblogger #nofilter
Hiking with a view on the footbridges
After our boat ride, the bus dropped us off at restaurant Nativos de la Patagonia. Here we got about 2.5 hours of free time to explore the footbridges. There are several loops which depart from here, which all offer amazing views on the Perito Moreno glacier. The most scenic one, however, is the “yellow trail”. This trail brings you past the first and second balconies. From these balconies you’ll be able to enjoy spectacular views on the glacier. We hiked both the yellow and the red trail.
The footbridges are very safe and secure, and are an easy way to hike close to the glacier and get amazing views. Along the footbridges you’ll also spot professional photographers who will take your picture for you, if you’d like.
After our hikes, we went to the restaurant for a quick snack before hopping on the bus and heading back to Calafate. The whole excursion took about 7-8 hours and was very nice and very well organised.