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The Glaciers of Patagonia
When Pascual “Perito” Moreno (Perito is the spanish word for “expert”) saw the glaciers for the first time, he had a visionary thought: those places should be protected for the next generations, in order to be enjoyed and contemplated by everyone, and also for educational and scientific purposes.
Now, after many years of advance in technology and geographical knowledge, and with the creation of the National Parks as well, we can see that what Moreno saw was just a part of an uncountable chain of glaciers hanging across of the Andes Range.
It´s plenty of them not only in Southern Patagonia, but also in other destinations further north.
Nevertheless, there is a big concentration in the triangle formed by El Calafate (Argentina), El Chaltén (Argentina) and Torres del Paine (Chile), and as those destinations are relatively close from each other, you can visit them on the same trip to Patagonia, arriving (for instance) with a flight in El Calafate.
Let´s have a look to the main Glaciers around, and how to reach them:
1. From El Calafate
Glacier Perito Moreno
The star, naturally, is the Glacier Perito Moreno, which is probably the easiest glacier to be reached in the world. Literally, 70 km along an easy road, drive you to the cat walks, just in front of this Colossus block of ice which knocks you out just when you see it. Absolutely recommended, a must, and you only need a full day tour to visit it (you have different sort of experiences, such as the traditional and comfortable way, without difficulties, to the different trekkings and minitrekkings over the ice).
Glaciers Upsala, Seco & Spegazzini
These Glaciers still part of the chain that forms the National Park Los Glaciares (recognised by UNESCO), and can be seen through different Navigations along the Lake Argentino, and the different channels. Most of them are full day excursions, starting from El Calafate, and there are even some which allow you to combine with a flight out on the same day (in case you have a tight itinerary).
The Glacier Upsala is one of the largest in South America, and it´s continuously reducing due different factors, among them, the global warming. The barrier of icebergs spread along the way, is impressive.
The Glacier Spegazzini, is one of the highest, hanging from one of the mountains, as it would be a river of ice coming to the lake.
There are some other Glaciers in that part of the Lake Argentino, such as Onelli, but the access demands another preparation.
2. From El Chalten
Right behind Mounts Fitz Roy and Torre, extends the Continental Ice Platform, shared by Argentina and Chile, which actually looks as if it would be a mini “Antarctica”. Many glaciers are born from this huge block, and in Chaltén we have a couple of them.
270 KM North Calafate, El Chaltén stands as the Capital for Trekking in Argentina. Paths of different difficulties can lead you to different stunning views, such as the Glacier de los 3, Glacier Piedras Blancas, Glacier Torre, Glacier Huemul, Glacier Viedma (you can navigate in front of it), and some other ones. El Chaltén has also the advantage of combining the glaciers with mounts, rivers, lakes and forests that are beautiful.
3. From Torres del Paine
About 5 hours (driving distance) from El Calafate, stands the National Park Torres del Paine. This pearl of Patagonia, is huge, and you can spend days if you want to explore it all. One of the most known Glaciers, is the Glacier Grey, in Lake Grey, and there are many activities that you can do in connection to it. We have also the Glaciers Dickson and the Glacier Francés.
Chile has also lot´s of Glaciers spread along Southern Patagonia, which in combination to those in the Argentinean side, can create the perfect atmosphere for a fantastic trip.
We invite you to contact us and tell us about your travel ideas and thoughts, so we can help you find the best option for your trip to Patagonia.
As an example, you can take a look at some of our selected tours in Southern Patagonia.