Glaciers National Park

Overview

Introduction

Glaciers National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site 1,300 mi/2,080 km southwest of Buenos Aires, has some of the most spectacular sights in Argentina. One of the planet's few advancing glaciers, Perito Moreno Glacier periodically dams the Brazo Rico of Lago Argentino, causing the water to rise. Eventually the melting ice below can no longer support the weight of the water behind it, and the dam collapses in an explosion of ice and water.

This spectacular event had been occurring, on average, every four years until a 16-year lull struck in the 1980s and '90s. In March 2004, a dramatic collapse took place, much to the delight of visitors lucky enough to be there. It subsequently ruptured again in 2006, 2008 and 2012.

The 22-mi-/35-km-long glacier is spectacular, and from a series of catwalks and vantage points on the Peninsula Magallanes you can watch and listen as tremendous chunks of ice crash into the Canal de los Tempanos. Visitors in good physical condition can hike on the iceberg itself. Buses run from Calafate to Moreno during tourist season (November-February). You can take a one-hour boat ride to get near the glacier's walls.

In the far north of the park are Mount Fitzroy and Cerro Torre, popular with climbers and hikers. Chalten, the village closest to the mountains, can be reached by bus from El Calafate, which is the best base for visitors to the area. El Calafate is also a good jumping-off point for tours to the Torres del Paine National Park, across the border in Chile.

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