Stunning Perito Moreno Glacier, 85 kilometers from El Calafate, has a network of walkways and viewpoints enabling visitors to get a closer look.
In Los Glaciares National Park, 85 kilometers from the center of El Calafate
, the spectacular view points of Perito Moreno glacier
awaited. The 30 kilometer drive form the entrance of the protected area to the vantage points goes through really astonishing natural scenery. We went along the Rico Branch of Lago Argentino
through a beautiful forest of native trees such as lenga
beech, Chilean firetree, Patagonian cypress and calafate
Our excitement grew as we went down the steps to the first viewpoint. We knew the glacier would be there, as it had for so many years. We also knew the pass between the Canal de los Témpanos
and Brazo Chico
had narrowed, increasing its flow volume 5 centimeters a day.
Every now and then the distinctive sound of calving reached our ears, raising our hopes of witnessing a new detachment. We were optimistic because if the natural dam had held out during the summer a new detachment could actually take place. We closed our eyes to hear the mighty roar of the ice giant.
Our guide gave us an informative talk before showing us which way to go. He had promised every stop would provide a different, though nonetheless amazing view, and as we walked on we realized it was true.
Before reaching the first balcony, we saw a plaque, with an inscription dating from 1981, declaring the site UNESCO World Heritage. A little further ahead two stands gave information about glacial processes in general and Perito Moreno
Glacier in particular.
After some time, trekking on the ice took its toll on us, so we decided to go down the steps to have a rest. From the entrance to the walkway sector there is a 400 meter descent to the lower balcony, the closest to the glacier. We found that the best place to observe the northern sector of the glacier was the intermediate balcony which also has an excellent view of the Canal de los Témpanos
and Upsala are the largest glaciers in the park, Perito Moreno
is much easier to approach as it is only 200 meters above sea level, making it possible to avoid a long trek or boat ride.
This enormous ice mass in the Province of Santa Cruz
covers a 14,000 square kilometer area, the third in size after Antarctica and Greenland.
We were absolutely enchanted by this immense natural monument. From time to time silence and stillness were broken by a roar from deep within the glacier as a chunk of the 60 meter high wall plunged into the water.
It comes as no surprise that Perito Moreno
Glacier has become one of the wonders of the world. It is not only this magnificent, lofty mass of ice that has been changing, so has Los Glaciares
National Park. In 2007, to commemorate its 70th anniversary, a plan was announced including the paving Route 40, the construction of more viewpoints, walkways, shelters and special circuits for people with motor disability.
These additions will make it possible to provide even better service to the increasing number of tourists who visit the site every year to revel in the astounding natural wonders Argentina has to offer.