How to Visit Perito Moreno Glacier from El Calafate - Argentina

Things to do in El Calafate - Argentina

Since the first time I have visited El Calafate, I’ve always been a fanatic of the Perito Moreno Glaciar. I consider it, a must see Argentine natural attraction, that no traveler must miss. Spending a full day at The Balconies, a series of walkways and viewpoints to the glacier, and having lunch in the picnic area with the impressive beauty of the glacier in front of you, is a unique experience that surely won’t disappoint the most exigent of tourists. In addition, the glacier has the advantage of having a relatively easy access from the city of El Calafate. In this post, I want to write about the different alternatives for visiting the Glacier.

There are three main ways to visit Perito Moreno Glacier’s walkways:

Caltur and Patagonia Ya! run regular buses departing from the city of Calafate at 9:30 and 10:30 am daily. The trip last for about an hour and has a cost of around US$ 10. The return is at 03:30 and 04:30 pm.

If you have a car (or have hired one), you have to take the Ruta provincial 11 (provincial road 11) to the west. For the first 40km, the route follows the southern shore of Lago Argentino (Bahia Redonda), the landscape here belongs to the sparsely vegetated Patagonian steppe, but after crossing Rio Mitre starts the so called Magellanic forest, mostly formed by deciduous southern beech species: Lengas, Ñires, and Guindos. The last 24km over Peninsula de Magallanes are dirt road. An alternative route from El Calafate follows ruta 15 in the direction of Lago Roca. There is a turn-off when the route meets Estancia Alta Vista to the right leading back to the ruta provincial 11. This alternative route is entirely dirt road, but has more possibilities for seeing local fauna (birds) than the previous one; also it permits to appreciate same Estancias from the road.

For those who prefer knowing places through excursions, there are a number of regular tours to the glacier daily. Basically, all of them pick the passengers at the hotel, offer a guided trip to the walkways, and leave the travelers there for three hours to fully appreciate the Glacier. This basic regular excursion costs around US$45 and can be combined with the Safari Nautico or with the Minitrekking.

A thing to consider if you travel in a group of 3 or 4 persons (or can join one) is that remises (taxis) or renting a car could be cheaper and more flexible than the other alternatives. But whatever the way you choose to visit the glacier, don’t forget to bring a hearty picnic with you to fully enjoy the day.

Time: full day

The Photo of the Walkways is courtesy of: Tres

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