El Calafate – Moreno Glacier
Visiting the white beauty
El Calafate belongs to Argentine Patagonia and is the capital of the region „Lago Argentino Department“. After the first few days in the tent and the glory of Patagonia’s nature El Calafate was a great contrast. The tourist town with the long-drawn main street and its souvenir shops, nice restaurants and bank branches is the starting point for a visit to the well-developed Moreno glacier. This is located in the Los Glaciares National Park and is one of the largest outlet glaciers in this area. Contrary to most glaciers the Petito Moreno does not draw back, the ice production and calving * are in a similar ratio. The calving front ends at a small peninsula which can be reached very well by buses. By some even wheelchair accessible infrastructure with their different sightseeing platforms, these glaciers has become one of the biggest tourist attractions of Argentina.
It was also the goal of our trip to El Calafate and so we were picked up by a local tour operator at our hostel after a night. Before we went to the glacier, we had a stop at the ranch „Estancia Rio Mitre“ and got a close look into the life and the wildlife of the region. Especially the quite trusting guanacos were a popular photo opportunity. James from our group had to realize that it is better to avoid these animals when they set up their ears. Doing that can cause a kick or a bump.
After this animal encounter we snatched a short drive and got the first look of the Petito Moreno. Shining white it winds its way from the mountains to Lake Argentino and at the sight of the white / blue shimmering ice you get in the mood to jump into the water and swim over. But you lose the interest very quickly when you just stretch your hand into the water. ;)
The next two hours we were busy to admire the glacier from all possible positions. Everywhere it cracked and crashed as if he wanted to talk to us and we hoped to see calving like all other visitors. Unfortunately bangs and splashes normally happen when you show your back to the glacier. After turning around you can often see only the gigantic waves formed in water during immersion of huge ice.
After this frosty encounter we warmed up with a hot chocolate and were on our way back to our hostel.
Salute from far away,
Tina and Andi Itchy Feet
*Calving is the canceling of large ice masses from the sea or inland water glacier.