South America’s largest glacier, in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of Los Glaciares National Park near El Calafate, measures 35 miles (56 kilometers) long and 6 miles (10 kilometers) wide. Upsala Glacier is among seven glaciers feeding Lake Argentino, where boats dodge icebergs the size of small islands en route to the wall of ice.
Upsala Glacier is only accessible by taking a boat trip on the milky blue waters of Lake Argentino. Most glacier cruises allow visitors firsthand views of both Upsala and Spegazzini glaciers, and countless icebergs. Those with more time to spare can see the glacier as part of a multi-day tour of Los Glaciares National Park (along with Huyliche Hill and Perito Moreno Glacier) or greater Patagonia.
Things to Know Before You Go
- Upsala Glacier is a must-see for adventure travelers and photographers.
- Dress in layers: The wind blowing off the ice can be chilly, even during summer.
- Don’t forget to bring sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat.
How to Get There
Cruises to view Upsala Glacier depart from Puerto Bandera on Lake Argentino, 28 miles (45 kilometers) west of El Calafate. The easiest way to get there is by joining a guided day trip with round-trip transportation.
When to Get There
The best time to visit Los Glaciares National Park and the Upsala Glacier is between October and March, as many tourist facilities in the region are closed during the winter season in the Southern Hemisphere.
Los Glaciares National Park
As a national park that’s home to 47 glaciers, ice covers 40 percent of this UNESCO-listed site in southwestern Argentina. While Upsala is the largest, Perito Moreno is the most famous, attracting hundreds of thousands of visitors each year. The Southern Patagonian Ice Field feeds all the glaciers in the park, including Upsala and Perito Moreno.