Perito Moreno: Meet a 160 meter high ice wall written by Jacob Gowland Jørgensen.
The ice war is raging
The first sound is huge bang. Great things falling. Things that break. Structures that collapse like a scaffolding in an autumn storm. But it is not, it is a massive and huge glacier that runs up from the Andes Mountains, and where the vanguard of the ice meets the meltwater lake that it has created.
Here there is no pleasant creaking sound of freshly fallen snow. Here there is a huge lump of ice of 250 km2 in battle with itself and the surrounding nature, and it is a deeply fascinating sight.
A fast glacier
Now glaciers are not usually associated with speed, and if they are not in rapid retreat due to climate change, they also often move a few centimeters a year. But in the south Argentina is Perito Moreno, one of the fastest glaciers in the world.
It moves two meters a day. This means that there is constant activity in and around the ice. At the same time, it has created one of the largest lakes in South America, Lago Argentino, with the characteristic green-blue color that only glacial lakes have.
Perito Moreno is very conveniently located in Los Glaciares National Park, where there are about 300 glaciers gathered in a beautiful and wild corner of Patagonia, right on the border with Chile. If you are into nature experiences, this area should be written directly on your bucket list of places to visit.
Glaciers from 1000 angles
We drive from the nearest town, El Calafate, out to the glacier. Or town and city, living well over 25.000 in El Calafate. They are spread out over large areas, because if there is enough of it here in Patagonia, then it is space. There is an average of 1 person per. km2, and then of course a lot of sheep and cows here in the ultimate agricultural country Argentina.
We drive directly towards the Andes, where there is snow on the top all year round. We have packed the warm clothes in the bag, because even though it is high summer and 15 degrees inside the city, the temperature drops as we approach the glacier, which acts as a giant freezer with a defective door, so the cold stands and pumps out into the eternal westerly wind. .
Our skilled guide Gisela tells vividly about the area and its settler stories while we enjoy the nature of Patagonia gliding past. Suddenly it stands there. The ice wall, which tells us that this is the end of the journey for the 250 km2 lump of ice, named after one of the local mountain heroes and explorers, Francisco Moreno.
Even here from a distance, it is a fascinating sight. We can just glimpse a ship in front of the ice wall, it looks like a toy.
We arrive, and go out on the paths that run along the glacier. Apart from the bangs and the cheers of the visitors, when a huge piece of ice falls into the lake, there are no sounds here. We're sheltered from the wind.
At a distance of 50-100 meters, we enjoy the unique ice formations and colors that change from white to deep, deep blue. We can see how the huge glacier wall moves in its two arms, to the north and to the south. We walk around the paths, and experience, admire and photograph the glacier from 1000 angles, because it is as if it is constantly changing. It will be admired.
The ice whale in the meltwater
We board a small ship sailing out to the north wall, and only here do we understand how huge the glacier is. We sail towards the 60 meter high ice wall, while the captain tells us that there are also 100 meters of glacier below the surface.
As if on command, the lake responds, and bubbles come up some distance in front of us, which go a few seconds, and then an ice block of 25-30 meters shoots up from below the depth, followed by 5 smaller pieces. Like a giant whale with its cubs that have come to the surface to draw air, it sizzles and bubbles and then sinks into the depths again.
If you were in doubt whether it was smart with a safety distance of 150 meters to the glacier before the trip, at least you were not after. We only feel a small splash in the water, because even though the broken lump of ice from the depths was huge, it still moved peacefully through the water on its way up through the meltwater.
We sail back, and consider whether the creator of the Argentine flag, flying from the small ship, might have seen Perito Moreno before choosing the colors, for rarely has a flag fitted so well into its surroundings as here. White and light blue with a sun above.
It is a perfect end to the day's trip, and back in the bus our guide jokes that she will hurry to tell some practical things, because in a little while we will all probably sleep anyway - overwhelmed by impressions from mother nature in free ice play. And quite rightly, the necks become soft and we drive back to the city on a nap, while the sound of falling ice and images of deep blue ice formations run around our heads.
Now I understand why there are always pictures of Perito Moreno in a tourist video or brochure from Argentina. For just like its at least as impressive counterpart at the other end of the country, the Iguazu National Park, this place is so much more than what you can see in a picture. It is a physical experience of dimensions, served in the easy way where you do not have to be a mountaineer to experience the wild nature.
Flights to Perito Moreno
The nearest city and airport is El Calafate, where you can fly to from many places in the country, and often several times a day from Buenos Aires. The airline LATAM is a tad more time-stable than Aerolineas Argentinas, which is so often a little cheaper. There are reliable rumors that Norwegian will start domestic routes in Argentina. You should expect DKK 2.000-2.500 for a return ticket from Buenos Aires, but there are also almost 3000 km.
There are two airports in Buenos Aires. The large one is officially called Ministro Pistarini International Airport, but is called Ezeiza after the city where it is located, and has the code EZE. It is located an hour south of the city, and this is where the vast majority of international planes land.
The little one also has two names, Jorge Newbery Airport and what everyone calls it, Aeroparque, codenamed AEP. It is located right in the middle of the city, and this is where domestic flights land primarily, so it is the best bet if you are in the city anyway. If you are looking for BUE-FTE you will get flights from both airports to El Calafate.
The season is very short in Patagonia, and January is the month where the Argentines themselves have summer holidays, so you need to be out there in extra good time in terms of planning.
Hotels near Perito Moreno
There are a few hotels located in the area between El Calafate and the National Park, but most are located in the city itself. We lived on La Cantera and later on Posada Larsen, both of which can clearly be recommended.
And yes, Posada Larsen is built by Danish emigrants who first went on a trip past Uruguay and later came to southern Argentina. It can be recommended to combine with one trip to El Chalten.
Good trip to Argentina and Perito Moreno.