Perito Moreno Glacier
Along the disputed borderlines of Argentina and Chile’s Patagonia region is the Perito Moreno Glacier. I had seen glaciers before but when I rode my motorcycle out to see this one up close I was stopped in my tracks surprised by the size of it. From miles away I could see the massive glacier coming down from the Andes. Little did I know that what I could see from the road wasn’t even the whole thing. I’d have to ride further to get an up-close view.
Perito Moreno Glacier is located in the southern part of Los Glaciares National Park. Less than 2 hours from the town of El Calafate, it is the largest attraction in Argentina’s Patagonia. The government takes full advantage of the glacier’s popularity by charging 130 pesos (16 USD at current official rate) to enter the park. If you want to avoid the fee you can arrive before 8am but I wasn’t going to get out of my tent and start riding that early. Besides, the best time to see the glacier is in the afternoon when huge sheets of ice break off and fall into the lake.
Perito Moreno has some impressive facts. Standing on the viewing platform only a few hundred feet away from this chunk of ice it’s hard to grasp the sheer size of it. Along the front the glacier is over 3 miles wide and runs 19 miles long. The height of the ice in the front is over 180 ft tall. Unlike the majority of other glaciers around the world, this is one of only three glaciers of the 48 in Patagonia not receding. In fact it’s actually advancing 7 feet per day on average.
There are plenty of viewing decks and trails to observe the glacier. For those that want to get really up close they offer ice trekking and boat tours. I stood on the decks for a couple of hours hoping to see large sheets break away into the lake. It’d start with hearing loud cracks and then a second later the sheets would come crashing down into the lake, creating a ripple effect of waves spreading out into the turquoise water.