Beholding the Perito Moreno Glacier from its Seven Panoramic Boardwalks

  • The Perito Moreno is of the few glaciers in the world that is actually growing and advancing

Prepare to visit one of the world’s most unique and awe-inspiring glaciers: The Perito Moreno Glacier. This grandiose glacier showcases its mighty glory in the Patagonian Glaciers National Park, which has been declared as a Mankind’s Natural Heritage site by UNESCO. The park’s vast size not only gives it the distinction of being the largest ice mantle in the world after Antarctica, but it’s also the third largest fresh water reserve on the planet as well.

The Perito Moreno is of the few glaciers in the world that is actually growing and advancing. This is opposed to the majority of the world’s glaciers that are retreating and melting due to the effects of global warming. So you’ll be witnessing one of the most important survivors of the last ice age…a time when glaciers covered 30% of the world’s oceans and 32% of all land!

Our destination is the panoramic boardwalks which overlook the Perito Moreno Glacier. Here, amidst the backdrop of the majestic, snow-capped Andes, you’ll find yourself immersed in an unforgettable glacier experience, while enjoy amazing picture taking opportunities from the seven panoramic balconies facing the front of the glacier. These boardwalks range in length from 460 to 2100 feet (140 to 640 meters). In general, these boardwalks are easy to access. The one exception would be the southern balcony, which requires heading down a long, descending path. However, the extra effort for this trail is definitely worth it because of the unique panorama overlooking the Perito Moreno Glacier that awaits you at the end of it. The ice that sits above the water measures at an impressive 262 feet (80 meters), which is close to the height of a 25 story building! And while that’s an incredibly vast size for the human eye to take in, consider that this measurement is only 15% of the glaciers total height. Five times more ice is hidden underwater. That means that Perito Moreno’s total height comes in at a massive 1834 feet (560 meters). Imagine a humongous ice skyscraper that reaches well past the Empire State Building in New York City. Now that is truly a massive “chunk” of ice!

While the glacier itself is definitely the main attraction, the park also boast quite remarkable scenery as well like glacial streams, small lagoons, crevasses, gullies, and plenty of impressive ice formations surrounded by the scenic beauty of the Andes mountain range, lakes and forested areas.

Our tour begins in the morning with a one hour and thirty minute ride from your hotel to the panoramic boardwalks overlooking the Perito Moreno Glacier. Views along this ride are definitely picturesque, so the ride itself might feel quite a bit shorter with all of the beautiful scenery to behold. During the trip to the panoramic boardwalks, there will be one stop along the way. It’s known as the “curva de los suspiros” (the “sighing” turn). This is where we’ll be able to catch a first glimpse of the Perito Moreno Glacier, and then after the “sighing” turn, the glacier is suddenly there in all its impressiveness as if it’s finally revealing itself to us. There are many nuances that make the Perito Moreno Glacier so unique and picturesque, like various cracks and shapes of ice as well as the colors of the ice itself. Ranging from white to dark blue, the various tones in color are the results of different layers of ice being under different levels of pressure. Scientists can actually determine the age of the ice by its color, similar to how a tree’s age can be told by counting its rings!

If it’s your lucky day, you may be able to witness the crackling noises from the ice as it begins to give way and slides off the glacier into the water below with an impressive crash. It’s definitely an experience you won’t soon forget…and that’s only a small rupture! Larger, more forceful ruptures occur every two years or so as a normal cycle of the moving ice. When a large rupture occurs, huge chunks of ice plummet down into water in a spectacular fashion.

The day culminates with a relaxed drive back to the comfort of your hotel in El Calafate, knowing you have seen a must-see attraction of a lifetime!

Difficulty: easy.

Duration: full day.

Guide: group guide.

Vehicle: group vehicle. Approximate traveled distance: 100 miles (160 kilometers).

Includes: entrance ticket to the Glaciers National Park.