17 most incredible Glaciers of Patagonia
Argentina and Chile share one of the most dramatic and spectacular regions of the world: Patagonia. The Andes range plays as the natural border between both countries, and it’s also home to thousands of Glaciers. In this post, we will mention some of the most spectacular Glaciers of Patagonia. How they look and where to find them. Naturally, we’re not mentioning a long list of other incredible ones, which doesn’t mean that they don’t deserve to be on this list!
1). Glacier Perito Moreno, El Calafate, Argentina
Probably one of the most famous Glaciers in the world. It has unique features, such as creating a natural dam against the Magallanes Peninsula, separating the southern arm of Lake Argentino from the rest of it. It’s in the National Park Los Glaciares, full of contrasts, around 77 km from El Calafate. It’s very easy to reach it, which means that you can even fly from Buenos Aires and see it on the very same day.
The surface of the Glacier is 250 km2. Its front (terminus) is 5 km wide, with an average height of 60 meters above the surface of the water. It’s possible to walk on top of it, kayak or navigate near its walls, or just contemplate it from the spectacular balconies. Perito Moreno Glacier is a very active one, with ice chunks falling frequently, thundering all around!
2). Glaciers Upsala & Spegazzini, Lake Argentino, Argentina
These are actually two different glaciers, but we mention them on the same point because are usually visited on the same day. The Glacier Upsala has an extension of around 765 km (third largest in South America, after Pio XI and Viedma), 13km wide on the front, and its walls an average of 40 meters over the water.
The Glacier Spegazzini has a surface of 134km2 and is 1,5km wide on the front. Its most remarkable feature is the height of its front ice wall, which reaches 135meters, the highest in Los Glaciares National Park! Both glaciers – Spegazzini & Upsala- are visited during full-day excursions from El Calafate.
3). Glacier Viedma, El Chaltén, Argentina
This is currently the biggest glacier in Argentina (and of the National Park Los Glaciares). It has a surface of 977km2, with ice walls of around 50 meters on the front. Nowadays it’s seen from far away, usually when driving in the direction of El Chaltén. If you want to visit it, you should hire a custom trip with a local specialist.
4). Glacier Grey, Torres del Paine National Park, Chile
This spectacular glacier (6 km wide and over 30 meters on the front) is divided in two fronts. It counts with a surface of around 270 km2, and it’s very popular among those who do the W trek at the Park. This is one of the „musts“ for those who walk around the Grey Valley.
Likewise the Perito Moreno Glacier, it’s possible to do adventure activities around it. Furthermore, if you like trekking and would like to combine Torres del Paine with El Chalten and El Calafate, we invite you to check our Patagonia Trekking Tours section.
5). Glaciers Balmaceda & Serrano, Bernardo O’Higgins National Park, Chile
These are two different glaciers, located in Bernardo O’Higgins National Park, near Puerto Natales and Torres del Paine. They’re usually visited through full-day excursions from Puerto Natales, and there are even connections with Torres del Paine. They’re surrounded by beautiful forests and scarped mountains.
6). Glacier Pio XI (or Brüggen), Magallanes Region, Chile
This is the highest Glacier of Patagonia and the southern hemisphere, with a surface of 1265km2. You might visit its ice front through private expeditions, and get astonished by its humongous size.
7). Glacier O’Higgins, Villa O’Higgins, Chile
This is one of the “cherries on the cake” for those who finish the road trip along the Carretera Austral. It’s reached through navigations from Villa O’Higgins, a village at the end of this legendary route. It has a surface of 820 km2, a width of 3,5 km on the front, and ice walls with more than 80 meters above the surface of the water. Amazing!
8). Glacier San Rafael, Laguna San Rafael, Chile
Different from the previous ones, which come from the Southern Ice Field, this glacier descends from the Northern Ice Field. It feeds the San Rafael lagoon, which ends in the Moraleda Channel. It has a surface of 760km2, and it’s possible to reach it from Puerto Río Tranquilo or Puerto Chacabuco.
9). Ventisquero Colgante Queulat, National Park Queulat, Chile
Located in the Ayen Region, this hanging glacier is one of the icons of the Carretera Austral.
10). Glacier’s Alley, Chilean Fjords
Also known as the “Glaciers Avenue”, the Glacier’s Alley is a consecution of 5 different glaciers (Holland, Italy, Germany, Spain, and France), distributed along the shore of the Chilean part of Beagle Channel. They descend from the Darwin Ice Field, and to see them, the most popular way is traveling on board the expedition Cruise Australis. This Cruise navigates from Punta Arenas to Ushuaia (and vice versa), visiting also Cape Horn, and many other incredible glaciers and attractions.
11). Southern Continental Ice Field: Mother of all Glaciers
Many of the glaciers mentioned above descend from the Southern Continental Ice Field. This is the third-largest ice cap after Antarctica and Greenland and is shared between Argentina and Chile. You can reach it through multiday expeditions, mainly from El Chaltén. It’s an endless surface covered with ice, very similar to the ice fields seen in Antarctica.
12). Other glaciers, and the advice of an expert.
The glaciers of Patagonia extend to an uncountable list of amazing attractions. For instance, Tronador in Bariloche, Torre & Piedras Blancas in El Chalten, Glaciers Pía, Porter, Águila, and Cóndor on the Chilean Fjords, and so on.
In Beyond BA LATAM we offer tailor-made trips in Argentina and Chile, and if you’re planning to visit some of the Glaciers of Patagonia, we would love to help you to plan a memorable experience. Don’t hesitate to contact us, in order to explore the different possibilities and experiences, in order to find the right trip for you. It will be a pleasure!