I have now seen a few glaciers on my vacations and hiking trips. To be honest, I never thought I would say that. I am not really sure why I never thought I would visit a glacier.
It was never really on my bucket list, but then it just happened. The first glacier I saw was in Glacier National Park and to be completely honest, I wasn’t that impressed. You can ask my husband and father-in-law. The first words I said when I saw it was “that’s it?”
I remember the hike up to the glacier being absolutely beautiful, but when I actually arrived at the glacier I was disappointed. It just seemed a little pathetic.
But, that is not the glacier we are talking about today! The Perito Moreno Glacier is so different. I was in complete AWE when I saw this glacier. My hope and excitement for glaciers was restored.
The Perito Moreno Glacier is huge and absolutely stunning!
Fun fact: this is one of the very few glaciers that is advancing instead of retreating.
The Perito Moreno Glacier is located 80km from the town of El Calafate. It is not actually near the town of Perito Moreno as you may think. This glacier covers 250 square kilometers.
1. Best time to visit
The most popular time to visit the Perito Moreno Glacier is from January to March as this is the summer months in Patagonia. If you are looking to visit when it is less crowded try going between April and May. Just be aware that it will be colder during these months.
I visited the Glacier in the first week of March and the boat ride to the glacier was definitely packed full. Not everyone got a seat. However, when we were walking around the pathways to view the glacier from above it did not seem as crowded.
2. You can get there by taxi, private car or bus
There are a few different ways to get to the glacier. You can get there by taxi, by bus or by private car. If you are looking for a more “intimate” experience then I recommend grabbing your own rental car, so that you can be on your time.
However, if you don’t plan to rent a car then you can choose to take a tax. The best thing to do would be to ask the taxi driver to wait for you once they drop you off. This may sound like a lot of money, but if you split it with people it actually ends up being pretty cheap.
The last option is the bus option. This is the route I did. To be honest this route was totally fine with me. The buses are quite comfortable, mine even had a USB port to charge my phone with, and it was a relaxing easy ride to get there.
FYI: Taxi prices will be around 1500 pesos and a bus will be around 550 pesos.
3. Avoid the Crowds
As stated above, visiting the Glacier during tourist season will obviously make it more crowded than normal. However, there are still a few ways you can avoid the crowds even if you do go during peak season.
The best way to avoid the crowds would be to go early or late to the glacier. There are a few ways to do this.
If you plan to take the bus then choose the latest shuttle departure possible, usually 1pm o r 2pm. Most tourists tend to leave the glacier between 4-5pm. So, if you take the later bus you will have just gotten started when they are all leaving.
If you choose to rent a car or take a taxi then you can arrive even later or opt for the early option. You have more flexibility with these options and could arrive around 4pm or even go as early as 8am.
In the summer months the glacier opens at 8am and closes at 6pm.
In the winter months the glacier opens at 9am and closes at 4pm.
4. You can visit by boat and by foot
There are a few options for seeing the glacier and different tours you can take depending on what you would like to do.
You can explore the glacier from up above at your own leisurely pace as one option. Grab a coffee, read about the history of the glacier, and listen to it crackling from pretty epic viewpoints on the boardwalk.
Boat tours are also offered if you want to get a little closer to the glacier. This offers a different angle of seeing the glacier. Now you will be below the peak of it. The glacier can reach up to 240 feet, so you will be staring up at it. You may even be lucky enough to see a chunk fall off.
The last option is to do an ice trek where you actually get to walk on the glacier. This is the option I did and I HIGHLY recommend it! It was the coolest experience ever. Even though I was freezing it was a once in a lifetime kind of thing! You get to take a boat over to the staging area. Then they get you all set up with crampons and a hard helmet and then you are off on your guided tour of the glacier!
There is even a little surprise at the end! Whiskey with ice from the glacier itself. The tour I did lasted about two hours.
5. Pack for cold weather
Prepare for cold weather! The weather in Patagonia can vary so much, so you always need to be ready. Also, you are visiting a large mound of ice-which is cold.
When I personally visited this glacier it was cold and rainy. The tour company did offer us gloves and a jacket, but they had limited amounts. I was wearing multiple layers and still freezing.
A lot of the people on my trip did not bring gloves and regretted it. I highly recommend bringing gloves!
6. There is an entrance fee
This one is kind of confusing. If you plan to book an ice trek through a guided tour (which you have to do if you plan to trek) you will still need to pay an entrance fee.
You are also required to pay an entrance fee even if you are just viewing the glacier from above because you are entering the Los Glaciares National Park. Currently the fee is around $50USD.
7. Be prepared to spend a lot of time here
This glacier is HUGE. Literally, you won’t be able to see the whole thing. It is that big. You will want to prepare to spend a lot of time here. Enjoy the experience of getting to see it from the boat, walk on it, and see it from afar. You can also spend time in the gift shop!
I grabbed a warm coffee from the little cafe and walked around the boardwalk as I watched chunks of ice fall off.
8. You can hear the ice cracking
This was one of the coolest things about visiting the Perito Moreno Glacier. You can hear the sound of the ice cracking from far away. If you are lucky enough, which you probably will be, you can also see chunks of the glacier fall off!
Pieces of ice are constantly falling off even though this glacier is still growing! Isn’t that incredible! You won’t want to miss this!
It is the coolest sound.
FINAL THOUGHTS FROM YOUR OUTDOOR LOVING GIRL
If Patagonia wasn’t on your bucketlist before I highly recommend you add it to your list now! The glacier alone is worth it!
If you need help planning your trip I have a lot of resources for you! You can begin by planning your trip with the Patagonia essential guide! And check out this article to help you get started with a packing list.
And that’s it! I hope you found this article helpful and as always I would love for you to share it on pinterest or just save the article for later!