The Perito Moreno Glacier in Patagonia, Argentina, is definitely a must-see and worth a trip. I have already seen several glaciers – in Norway, Canada and also Chile and Argentina – but I never was so impressed by one. The glacier belongs to the Campo de Hielo Sur, the biggest glacier area of the South American Andes. For about 18,000 years, the eternal ice of the Perito Moreno Glacier has been pushing its way into Lago Argentino.
The Perito Moreno Glacier is 30 kilometers long and up to 5 kilometers wide. The total glacier area is about 254 square kilometers big. These are dimensions that I can hardly imagine – especially not on a photo, because the widths don’t come out here. Therefore, I tried to make the dimensions clear on the picture below. The height at the end of the glacier is 70 meters, which is about 18 floors of a skyscraper.
The Perito Moreno Glacier has a stable size
The Perito Moreno Glacier is one of the few glaciers that do not get smaller. Why? This was unclear for a long time and you still find many different explanations. At the glacier itself, they explained that it´s because of the strong and cold winds that exist here. The mountains on the right and the left of the glacier form a real wind tunnel. The Perito Moreno thus manages to build up the same mass of ice in high regions, as melts down at the lake daily.
By the way,
that the glacier basically does not get smaller does not mean that it always
looks the same. In summer it is getting a bit smaller and can partly end where
the 3.5km line is in the photo above. In winter, when the winds get colder, the
glacier grows again and again and then even reaches the mainland on the other
side of Lago Argentino. Then the lake is even completely divided.
Probably the most beautiful view of the Perito Moreno Glacier can be enjoyed from the National Park Visitor Centre. From here several round trips start, where you can discover the glacier from different perspectives. You should take some time for this, because if you watch the glacier a little bit longer you have a good chance to watch the so-called calving. That means a part of the glacier breaks off and falls into the water. This might not sound so exciting, but those who have experienced it once know that this is a real highlight. The high waves that the ice can cause are not even as spectacular as the unique sounds it makes – the cracking and rumbling.
Highlight – Glacier hike on the Perito Moreno Glacier
A glacier hike is certainly not a cheap activity but an absolute recommendation. Why is it a recommendation? The amazing colours of the crevasses, the structure of the ice and the unique noises are not nearly as impressive from the distance as directly on the glacier. We probably saw every blue and turquoise tone that is available on the colour palette. Unfortunately, also something that is only partly visible in the pictures.
The water is so clear and clean that you can also drink it, what I did of course. By the way, since the glacier is growing so fast, the routes over the glacier have to be changed every day, because the landscape changes so fast. So, you have to trust the guides a lot.