The site and sound of the white giant is absolutely incredible! The famous Perito Moreno glacier is almost impossible to describe and one just tends to stare at it in awe of the wonderful beauty of nature.
As you might know, we were so excited to see this glacier and we spent hours in the bus to get to it. We were definitely not disappointed! It was as amazing as what we thought it would be and even more.
Perito Moreno glacier is situated in Los Glaciares National Park which was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1981. We had to pay 130 Argentinian pesos at the entrance of the park. The tour was booked 3 days before our arrival by our hostel in El Calafate. It’s a good thing we booked a bit in advance because it was fully booked when we arrived in town.
The glacier looks like a massive river of ice with huge waves and cliffs that seem to have been instantly frozen in time. There seems to be a luminous turquoise-baby-blue light shining underneath the ice because the glacier glows in different shades of blue and white. Sharp jagged edges are blended in with spongy, foamy pieces which look like soft clouds but are still hard and icy. There are little streams and tiny waterfalls flowing on the ice and in the crevices. Some water-filled cracks seem to be bottomless because the water in them is so clear but so deep you can’t see an ending.
The sound the glacier makes is just as extraordinary! Every now and then you hear this deep cracking sound as if the giant is moving, waking up. And, when you are close to it’s edge it’s not uncommon to see and hear great masses of ice crash into the lake with a huge splash and resounding roars. There are even sign-boards warning you not to go too close to the edge of the lake because of the huge waves that this causes. We also tasted the icy-cold fresh water from one of the streams near the middle of the glacier…that really refreshes like nothing on earth.
We were picked up by the company from our hostel. We then drove about 50km to the National Park. We first walked around a boardwalk to see the sides of the glacier. A spectacular sight! Then we were taken by a catamaran boat across the lake where we met our glacier guides. After about an hour’s hike we put on our crampons and harnesses and walked about 4 hours on the ice. The crampons really give you a good grip! We stopped to eat our packed lunch at a “picnic spot” on the ice.
It wasn’t all fun….it was raining, snowing and even hailing a bit at some point. It was cold…really cold and there was a piercing wind forcing its way through our skin. At one point our guide gave a chuckle when I made my hands into a fist and water was pouring out of my “waterproof” gloves. What would we have done without the clothes we rented!?
Hielo & Adventura is the travel agency we went with. They are apparently the only company doing the “Big Ice Trek.” They were very professional and I felt safe walking on the ice with them. We wore crampons over our shoes and we had to wear harnesses around our hips. The guidelines for this tour state that it’s only for fit 18-45 year olds. It was rather strenuous especially in our weather conditions! The uphill climb to the glacier’s surface was not too bad but walking and jumping with crampons on the ice will be difficult if you are not agile. Our guides also had to make sure we walked on a safe path but sometimes it felt like we were walking on thin ice.
When we got back on the catamaran to go back we were each given a fancy glass with whiskey on the rocks (glacier rocks). That warmed us up a bit! We couldn’t wait to get back to our hostel to have a lekker, hot shower.
To see, hear, feel, taste and trek Perito Moreno Glacier was an experience of a lifetime, something we will never forget!