What to see in Argentina
If you are thinking of travelling to Perito Moreno, prepare yourself for a landscape that words can barely describe. To begin with, you should know that it lies within the third largest continental ice mass in the world. The glacier reaches a height of seventy metres and its face is 5 km wide.
The amazing Perito Moreno glacier is about 70 km away from the city of Calafate. All the excursions and the travellers who make the visit on their own set out from here.
But Calafate has its own points of interest.
In this museum you will find very interesting information about the history of Patagonia, from prehistoric times to the present day. The centre places special emphasis on the colonial period and the creation of the states of Chile and Argentina, a history that was not always a bed of roses.
If you thought that ice was just the stuff that cools your drinks, you are very much mistaken. In the Ice Museum you will learn how glaciers are formed and develop, as well as the history of the ice fields of Patagonia.
Travelling to Perito Moreno does not have to be limited to the glacier. It's worth reserving a place in your travel diary for the whole Calafate area. For example, sail along one of the arms of Lake Argentino, which together form what is known as Bahía Redonda. It has a waterfront area where horses graze. There aren't many wetland meadows in the world, so don't miss this one.
At one end of the waterfront is the Municipal Ecological Reserve of Laguna Nímez, a part of the wetland especially suitable for birdwatching. Here you can find swans, flamingos and up to 80 different species.
Calafate is not a city of monuments, but its streets and squares have a certain charm. The best way to get to know its most authentic part is to walk to the top. And not only because of the views of the city itself, but also because of the panorama you will get of Lake Argentino and the Andes. If you want to explore the surroundings on your own, you can do it on horseback. It's one of the activities that will give you closer acquaintance with the area.
Once you are in Patagonia you'll have to decide how you want to approach the famous glacier: would you prefer to go trekking or simply take the walkways? Both options will bring you closer to the immense walls of ice and there are possibilities of combining them.
Don't be confused by the references to walkways. These are not the typical gangways, but rather a network of paths several kilometres long that have been created on the slope facing the glacier. The view will blow your mind.
When you're there you'll see big chunks of ice fall off the glacier. Although we are in an undeniable climate crisis, the truth is that this is not the reason for the ice falls. The Perito Moreno is a glacier in equilibrium. The ice from which it is made forms and detaches in a cycle as the glacier passes through the Magellan Peninsula.
If you are visiting Patagonia, Perito Moreno is the most usual place to see, but it's not the only glacier in the area. The national park is called Los Glaciares for a reason. The Spagazzini and Upsala glaciers are a little further from Calafate and the best way to reach them is by boat. You'll be sailing between two large ice fields with a very unusual white landscape.
It's been a few years since any boat has been allowed to cross the sea of ice around the Upsala, so you'll view it from a safe distance. Bear this information in mind if you decide to make one of the so-called trekking tours to Upsala. In fact, it is a path that leads to Estancia Cristina, where there is a viewpoint from which you can observe the glacier.
If you don't want to spend too much time away from Calafate, you can undertake a half-day excursion to the two glaciers mentioned. The focus is usually on the first one, although you cannot disembark there. Remember that the sea of ice floes is dangerous.