Perito Moreno is not just a glacier, it’s the glacier. All throughout South America, when you talk about glaciers, this one is the behemoth on everyone’s list. At the face, the glacier is three miles wide, 200 feet high. Although it is not clear why, it is also one of the few remaining advancing glaciers in the world, pushing forward as much as six feet a day, which means you are sure to witness pieces breaking off (calving) and splashing into the lagoon below.
When you’re ready to visit the glacier, you’ve got three options. You can go to the stands set up to watch the front face of the glacier, with a soundtrack of cracking and crashing, and occasional giant splashes of water at the base of the glacier. A boat ride in the lagoon might be more your style, a closer look at the glacier, and down at its level, so you hear the cracking more loudly, appreciate the height of the glacier, and see the snowy bits fall before a chunk comes off of the face.
But the glacier isn’t just the front, calving part you see from the platform or the lagoon. It is, in fact, the world’s third largest source of fresh water, measuring 97 square miles and 19 miles in length. And if you want to get up close and personal with the glacier, you’ve got to hike it. And if you want to get even closer, you’ve got to take a tour that includes a hike inside the Perito Moreno glacier.
Fitted with crampons and a harness, and led by a guide, you go below the surface of the glacier. The ice crunches with each step, and light turns from white to blue and white again as you navigate ice tunnels, past dark blue lagoons, beside seemingly bottomless cracks and into deep caves.
The photo opportunities are excellent under the ice, but listening to the glacier sigh and crackle from the inside is the best souvenir of all.