Morning! El Calafate!
Our tour today of Perito Moreno Glacier Tour with Mini trekking started 9am-ish. It was really sunny and dry and I felt we should have a really nice day out and looked forward to trekking on the glacier, at the time we didn’t know that the climate is divided to wetland and dryland in this region.
The tour bus contained nearly 50 passengers, clearly it was a popular tour! Before we head over to the national park of Perito Moreno Glacier, we stopped half way where our guide told us to enjoy the last bit of dry weather before we head to the wetland.
As the bus was approaching the national park, it became greyer and greyer. Before we entered, we stopped at the viewing point to see the glacier in the distance. Then it started to rain.
Perito Moreno Glacier is located in southwest Santa Cruz Province, Argentina. It’s one of the most important tourist attractions in Patagonia. The 250 square meter ice formation and 30km in length is one of 48 glaciers fed by the southern Patagonian Ice Field located in the Andes system shared with Chile. This ice field is world’s third largest reserve of fresh water. Pressures from the weight of the ice slowly pushes the glacier over the southern arm of Argentina Lake, demanding the section of separating it from the rest of the lake.
When we finally stood in front of the glacier, I didn’t know what words I could use to describe the impact of seeing this enormous piece of ice. Well, I’ve seen pictures before arriving, but the actual object and picture is not comparable. It’s impressive! I’ve never seen anything like this in my life. Here it is, in Patagonia. We travelled thousands of miles to get here and see such a spectacle. Believe me, it was worth the journey.
Right in front of the iceberg, there are 3 coloured lines of walking paths. They are well maintained and suitable for all ages. We were told to follow certain routes which were estimated to take around 1 hour of walking, or you could do a smaller circle then take the bus to get back to the car park where the tour bus will be waiting.
We chose to walk all the way back to the car park. The view was impressive but the walk in the rain was not pleasant. Especially when you have to take millions of pictures and worrying the rain is going to damage your devices. Apart from getting myself soaking wet, I truly enjoyed the walk and the view of this incredible natural treasure.
There are couple of restaurants by the car park. Since it was raining and cold, many people crammed in and tried to use the facilities to warm up and dry themselves. You won’t be allowed to enjoy this space under a roof if you are not going to purchase either food or beverages. We had to stand outside with many others who also brought their pack lunch under a small piece of cover near the car park.
After lunch the bus took us to the port where we had to embark on a boat to get to the bank nearest to the glacier. By the time we started trekking on glacier it began to rain hard!
You are taken to a spot where the guides fit to each trekker ice cleats so that you are able to walk on the ice safely. These are basically a metal frame with straps which the guides carefully fit to each person to make sure that everyone is ready to go.
The big group was then divided to several small group of approx 10 people each group and each group is accompanied with a trekking guide. Each guide then shows each group the safe ways to walk both up and down the glacier – feet positioning and so on.
Each guide has a lot of experience and were very patient, we were very happy with their enthusiasm and professionalism.
The trekking on the glacier took about 1 hour. At the end of the trekking, we were rewarded with a glass of whiskey on the rocks! The “thousands years old” ice is chipped directly from the glacier itself, so was probably the purest ice you can have. What an experience!
It rained so hard on the day that before we returned back to the main car park everybody huddled in front of some braziers in one of the log cabins by the dock, and coffee was offered to everyone to help to warm up.