IF YOU GO
Perito Moreno Glacier is located on the south end of Los Glaciares National Park in the Patagonia region
of Argentina. The base town for Perito Moreno is El Calafate which is serviced by El Calafate International
Airport (FTE) with direct flights from Buenos Aires' AEP airport (not EZE). You certainly don’t need a car
or to pay top dollar to join a group tour to get to Perito Moreno Glacier. It is easily accessible by bus
via Caltur with daily departures during peak season. You can buy your tickets at the bus station in
El Calafate (it’s outside downtown, so plan accordingly), or you can buy online with a credit card
at Caltur's website or third-party website Voy En Bus for a minimum surcharge. The cost is
600 Argentine Pesos (about $35) for a roundtrip ticket. Transit time is about 1.5 hours each way.
The park itself charges an entrance fee of 500 Argentine Pesos and they only take cash, so make
sure you have cash in hand. At the park itself, there is a restaurant, a gift shop, and restrooms.
If you want to get on a boat to get up close to icebergs and the glacier wall, there are a couple of
options. We went on a boat that cruised the northern side of Glaciar Perito Moreno on board
Southern Spirit that lasted about an hour. After the boat ride, we walked from the north side
of the park to the south end, with a lunch stop at one of the view points in between. I would
recommend going this route and by so doing, you would avoid the crowds since
most of the tourists start south to north.
We packed crackers, cheese, salami and a small bottle
of Malbec bought at a small market in El Calafate and had lunch with the best possible views
imaginable. We chanced upon a secluded bench that we had all to ourselves and had front row
seats to the glaciers calving every ten minutes or so.
If you are visiting during the summer, Southern Spirit has tours that navigate through Lago Argentina
past Glaciar Perito Moreno, but with guided hikes included in Bahia Toro and Cerro Negro where you
get to hike through a forest and see a waterfall. (We didn’t get to go on this one because these tours
started in November and we were there in late October. We would have totally gone on this one, though.)
You could find information about Southern Spirit here, but if already in El Calafate, you may also visit
their physical location on the main drag, Avenida Libertador 1319. Recommendations about traveling
to El Calafate will be posted soon!
Gray Line Tours also offer boat tours, but they navigate the north side. They also offer boat tours
to sail across the Upsala and Spegazzini Glaciers at a somewhat steep price. There are also
"Big Ice" tours that take you out to the glacier itself and do a guided hike, harness and
crampons included. Prepare for sticker shock though as these don't come cheap.
For more information, check out Gray Line Tours here.