This is one of the premium stops down at the southern nether regions of Argentina, and one that we’d flown down specifically to see. To be clear on why we flew down instead of taking the bus, our bus back North to Bariloche (yesterday) was 22 hours and yet it is still another 22 hours South of Buenos Aires. We were facing 44 hours of hardcore busing (some of the seats are just not big enough for big legs…). Also, loops are much more fun than busing down and back on the same roads.
The setting: Perito Moreno Glacier, Patagonia, Argentina
Snow gathers on the peaks of the Andes and packs down and pushes its way down the mountainside, breaks off and melts into a lake. We were very lucky and had a stunning sunny, clear, still day to take it all in. We started by taking a boat out onto the lake and motoring up and down in front of the glacier for 90 minutes, giving us a good sense of how massive the glacier cliff face really was (50 meters high!).
Much cooler, however, was a series of balconies built on the opposing shore directly in front of the Perito Moreno Glacier itself. There are two lakes split by a narrow channel. In the winter the glacier comes down and pinches off the channel, causing the water level to rise 20 meters higher in one lake than the other. Directly across the channel where the glacier impacts on land again is a beautiful series of walkways and balconies where you can sit walk around or just sit on the benches and watch (and listen) to the ice.
The cool thing about this glacier is that it’s moving at 6m / day so its constantly cracking, banging and calving off huge chunks of ice in satisfyingly dramatic fashion while you sit and watch it. So sat on our chosen balcony and listened for the cannon-fire-like noises of giant chunks of ice cracking. Every 15 minutes or so we’d be rewarded with large ice chunks crashing down into the water below. The largest piece we saw was like a 50m tower that had cracked quite far back. It looked just like a 6 story white tower building that pushed off the side of the cliff and slid into the water and made a lovely large wave where it hit the water.
It was mesmerizing and we didn’t want to leave. We checked the different views from various balconies until Christina was told off for sitting inappropriately on a railing (who am I travelling with?) and then walked back up to the parking lot under the suspicious gaze of the park ranger. Thankfully the bus company was much more welcoming with a surprise shot of Calafate liquor waiting for us before we set off again.