You can see the Perito Moreno glacier close up on your own in a half-day's outing by taxi, rental car, or bus (give yourself a minimum of 1 hr. at the glacier). But several exciting activities in the Perito Moreno region afford a more in-depth and thrilling experience. "Minitrekking" (although there is nothing "mini" about it) takes guests of all ages and abilities for a walk upon the glacier. The trip begins with a 20-minute boat ride across the Brazo Rico, followed by a 30-minute walk to the glacier. From here guests are outfitted with crampons and other safety gear, and then they spend approximately 1 1/2 hours atop the ice, complete with a stop for a whiskey on the thousand-year-old "rocks." This great trip gives visitors the chance to peer into the electric-blue crevasses of the glacier and fully appreciate its size. More experienced, fit, and adventurous visitors can opt for the Big Ice option, which has a more technical approach and gives you much more time (upwards of 4 hr.) to walk on the glacier. Both Big Ice and Minitrekking are organized exclusively by Hielo y Aventura, which has its main office at Av. del Libertador 935 (tel. 02902/492205; www.hieloyaventura.com). Big Ice costs $175 (£118) including the transfer from El Calafate. Minitrekking will run you $135 (£74) with transfer. Remember, you have to bring your own lunch from town. And don't forget the sunscreen!
Solo Patagonia, Av. del Libertador 867 (tel. 02902/491105; www.solopatagonia.com), offers visitors navigation trips through the Brazo Rico to the face of Perito Moreno for $50 (£34), departing hourly from 10:30am to 3:30pm from the Muelle Moreno port next to the glacier's visitor center. Their Todo Glaciares trip departs from Puerto Punta Bandera and visits the Spegazzini (the tallest glacier in the park), Uspala (the largest), and Onelli glaciers for $295 (£199). They also have a day trip to spectacular Estancia Cristina via the Upsala Glacier.
How to See the Glacier
Do not miss the chance to see the majestic Perito Moreno Glacier, one of the world's most stunning sites and a great lesson in nature. You've got a number of options for making your visit worthwhile, depending on your time frame and budget.
- Rent a car and drive to the glacier from town. This option is not cheap unless you are a group of four. It's helpful if you have a midday flight and gives you freedom to come late in the afternoon, when the crowds have petered off.
- Take the local bus that has three departures daily. It's the best budget option, and a good choice if you want to stick to your own schedule.
- Hop on a local tour. This gives you more information and understanding of what you're looking at. But you're stuck with the tour's schedule. Some tours offer a short hike along Icebergs Channel (Canal de los Témpanos) or boat trips along the north wall. Most are bilingual, and some include snacks.
- Sign up for Hielo y Aventura's Minitrekking, to take a walk on the ice and get a good look at its southern wall along the Rico Arm of Lago Argentino. It's a half-day outing; you can include a stroll on the boardwalks.
- For an in-depth and unforgettable exploration of the big white sheet, Hielo y Aventura's Big Ice is the most complete glacier experience. A good level of fitness is required.
Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.