Maybe it’s because my birthday is coming up, but I thought I would do a big week here on TAO. I haven’t been too proud of my blogging lately (that’s all on me), so I thought I would blog about some of the bigger adventures I’ve experienced this year.
I’m going to switch gears when talking about Argentina to focus on our time in Patagonia. The Patagonia region in the southern tip of South America is split between both Argentina and Chile. We decided for the sake of time and cost to stick to the Argentina side and to base ourselves in the town of El Calafate. El Calafate has exploded in the last ten years with the construction of the airport, which is a 20 minute drive outside of town.
Since we arrived in early April at the tail end of the major season there, we didn’t venture off to neighbhoring El Chalten for hiking and other activities. We still easily filled up on activities during our three days in El Calafate. Honestly, you could spend a whole week or more just in the Southern Patagonia region and go even more south to Ushuaia, the gateway to Antartica. I will get to Antarctica someday. I will.
Lago Argentino (Argentina’s largest lake) on the way to Perito Moreno
We decided to take advantage of our first day in the area by checking out Perito Moreno Glacier up close and personal. For those of you interested in glacier trekking (more on that in another post), the trekking tours usually include an hour to view the glacier before you trek.
Husband J and I used a bus service from El Calafate to the glacier, which is an approximately 50 minute ride. Since we arrived that morning, we did the afternoon excursion. We were there WAAAY too long. I liked that we had lots of time to walk around, take pictures and relax, but the scheduled return time was after the visitors’ center’s closing time. We convinced the bus driver to return to El Calafate a little early. My advice is to either rent your own car if you’ll be there for long enough, or take a morning bus to see the glacier.
On the way to the glacier, between moments of thinking, “Are we there yet?” and munching on these tasty and cheap empanadas we bought at the bus station, I was beginning to rethink this afternoon jaunt. Then we pulled over at a lookout point, and THEN I got excited.
Don’t let that smile on my face fool you! There was a distinct drop in temperature from the time we left El Calafate to this lookout point, and we weren’t even right next to the glacier yet.
When we finally go to the glacier itself, the pasarelas, or walkways, were actually pretty impressive. They’re an extensive series of walkways designed to make viewing the glacier pretty easy for just about anyone. There are both stairs as well as ramps, so there should be no worries about your level of physical fitness, or if you’re full from one too many steaks (or I guess in Patagonia’s case, lamb).
Don’t feed the animals! Okay. That’s not what these sign say, but some of these are good reminders not to act a fool.
I had to say hi of course.
My advice is not to just stick to the one area that allows you to see the glacier from the front, but to take the ramps that allow you to see the glacier from different angles.
Even with all of the running around the pasarelas, we just spent most of our time just staring at this beautiful block of ice. You’d think it gets old, but it really doesn’t. Seeing ice for miles and miles blows your mind.
The portion closest to us was just the start. The ice goes on and on.
As much as the ice looks beautiful, it also looks treacherous.
Cold but happy in front of the glacier
Watching the ice fall from the face of the glacier is jarring and eery. Granted, we were at the glacier during the afternoon with bright, melting sun, but seeing huge chunks of ice made us think of global warming.
This used to be a huge block of ice connected to the glacier.
My misgivings about the falling ice weren’t off either.
Luckily, the pasaraelas are much much safer than what visitors used to encounter when visiting the glacier.
While this was our first time at Perito Moreno, it wouldn’t be the last….