One of the most impressive trips I have done this year – visiting the glaciers in El Calafate, Argentina. Since I live in Buenos Aires I always wanted to visit the South of Argentina to see the famous glaciers. And this year I made my dream come true.
Flying directly from Buenos Aires to El Calafate makes you realize how huge Argentina actually is. After almost four hour flight one arrives in Patagonia with a totally different landscape and climate. I was so excited to finally have made it here.
El Calafate is a small, cute town, which could also be somewhere in Canada or Switzerland, with its small shops and restaurants. Since it is a touristic place, there are many hotels to stay in. The first night we stayed in a boutique hotel called “Los Ponchos“, which I can highly recommend. Super cute and nice rooms. Not very central but anyways, everything is very close to reach by car or taxi.
On the first day, to get an overview of what we will see, we went to the famous Glaciarium Patagonian Ice Museum. A great start to the trip to learn more about the glaciers and to get an overview of what is happening with the melting icecaps. I can highly recommend to drive there by car or taxi (since it is a bit further out). They even have an ice bar in an ice room, where you can enjoy a nice, strong drink. Yes, very cold indeed – but also good to see.
THE BOAT TRIP
The next day we were picked up at our hotel by a bus from the MarPatag Cruise ship where we spend the next two days on to drive to the glaciers. A super nice and luxurious cruise with beautiful cabins, with a cozy living area and a beautiful dining room. The whole boat was more or less made out of glass, so you cold always enjoy the best view no matter where you were on the boat.
We stayed two full days and one night on the MarPatag Cruise. It was absolutely fantastic. The first day we visited the Glacier Spegazzini, which was my favorite part of the trip. Since we were on our own boat we could go as close as possible to the glacier and see the icecaps fall into the freezing water.
And the best part was we were completely alone. No other tourist or boats. It was spectacular. Afterwards we went on the main land to hike up the mountains to have a complete overview of the Glacier Spegazzini.
After being woken up by a huge ice piece floating in the water pumping against the boat in the morning, we were ready to see the famous Perito Moreno Glacier, which is one of the only glaciers still growing. First we went on the main land, where they have build a walking way too get the best overview of the glacier.
It was great to take photos there and listen the icecaps crashing. Afterwards we went back on the boat to enjoy a delicious lunch with a view on the glacier. We all ate very slow to enjoy it as along as possible.
THE GLACIER HIKE
The next day, back in El Calafate, one could be part of a hike over the Perito Moreno Glacier, which I can highly recommend! One needs to be between the age of 18 and 50 to be allowed to do it. It is a whole day hike over the glacier, with great tour guides from the area, glacier lakes and a packed lunch, which you will enjoy sitting on the glacier listening to the movement of the ice.
So if you plan a trip to El Calafate, definitely do the MarPatag Cruise and the hike over the glacier. Some people stay in El Calafate and just do a day cruises with hundreds of other people. But if you have the opportunity do the MarPatag Cruise, do it!
Photos by Christoph, Leopold, Alexander and Helena Schoeller