The beauty of Perito Moreno Glacier in Patagonia has earned it the nickname of the "Eighth Wonder of the World” in Argentina. It’s the planet's third-largest reserve of fresh water and one of the continent's last advancing glaciers, slowly making its way in crackling celestial blue from the granite spires of the Chilean Torres del Paine into Argentina's Los Glaciares National Park (Parque Nacional Los Glaciares).
One of the most accessible ice fields on the planet, Perito Moreno sits at the top of many travelers’ must-see list in Patagonia. While many visitors are content to stay on solid ground and observe the ice from a series of platforms across the Iceberg Channel (Canal de los Tempanos) from the glacier, more adventurous travelers can explore the inlet on a boat tour, or don crampons and head out onto the ever-shifting ice field itself. The Glaciarium, located in El Calafate, serves as an excellent introduction to the science of glaciers.
Things to Know Before You Go
- This natural wonder is a must-visit for nature lovers and adventure travelers.
- Marvel at the ice from afar, or get a closer look with a boat ride or ice trekking adventure.
- A full-day tour of the glacier from El Calafate can last anywhere from six to 12 hours depending on the chosen options and activities.
- Dress in warm layers, as the national park can be chilly, even during the Argentine summer.
How to Get to Perito Moreno Glacier
El Calafate, a town about 50 miles (80 kilometers) from the glacier, is served by El Calafate International Airport, with regular service from cities in Argentina and Chile. While a vast majority of visitors head to the glacier as part of a guided tour, once you're in El Calafate, you can catch a bus to the glacier (as well as other points in Los Glaciares National Park).
When to Get There
Summer in Argentina (wintter in the Northern Hemisphere) is the most popular time to visit the glacier, as the weather is warmest. While temperatures cool down in October, March, and April, the tradeoffs are sparser crowds and a more peaceful environment for communing with Mother Nature. If you travel between May and August, expect frequent rain and average temperatures around 36° F (2° C).
Hear the Thunder
One of the most magical experiences at Perito Moreno Glacier is hearing the thunderous crack of ice as a berg is birthed into the channel. This glacier is one of the best places from which to take in the phenomenon. It happens most frequently on sunny days in the late afternoon after the sun has had time to warm the ice.