El Calafate in Argentine Patagonia is one of the World’s Sexiest Affordable Destinations according to Travel + Leisure magazine on its October 2009 issue.
Los Glaciares National Park covers a surface of some 600.000 has. with 47 glaciers, like Marconi, Viedma, Moyano, Upsala, Agassiz, Bolado, Onelli, Peineta, Spegazzini, Mayo, Ameghino, Moreno and Frías, all of them draining to the Atlantic.
In El Calafate you will find yourself at the gateway to the majestic world of glaciers.
The magnificent Perito Moreno glacier is 60 miles away, and El Calafate is the hub town for this natural wonder, a Unesco world heritage site. Perito Moreno, at almost 200 square kilometres, is one of the world’s last advancing glaciers. To watch the ice turning different shades of blue every few minutes according to the light is a special sight. Argentina‘s Perito Moreno glacier is one of only a few ice fields worldwide that have withstood rising global temperatures.
Nourished by Andean snowmelt, the glacier constantly grows even as it spawns icebergs the size of apartment buildings into a frigid lake, maintaining a nearly perfect equilibrium since measurements began more than a century ago.
A 3-mile-wide glacier located in Argentina’s Patagonia region is defying global warming. The Perito Moreno ice field, here in 2009, is one of the few glaciers in the world that’s actually growing.
Viewed at a safe distance on cruise boats or the wooden observation deck just beyond the glacier’s leading edge, Perito Moreno’s jagged surface radiates a brilliant white in the strong Patagonian sun. Submerged sections glow deep blue. And when the wind blows in a cloud cover, the 3-mile-wide (5 kilometer) glacier seems to glow from within as the surrounding mountains and water turn a meditative gray.
Every few years, Perito Moreno expands enough to touch a point of land across Lake Argentino, cutting the nation’s largest freshwater lake in half and forming an ice dam as it presses against the shore.
The water on one side of the dam surges against the glacier, up to 200 feet (60 meters) above lake level, until it breaks the ice wall with a thunderous crash, drowning the applause of hundreds of tourists.
“It’s like a massive building falling all of the sudden”, “The glacier has a lot of life” these are comments from some visitors.
The rupture is a reminder that while Perito Moreno appears to be a vast, 19-mile-long (30 kilometer) frozen river, it’s a dynamic icescape that moves and cracks unexpectedly.
EXCURSION TO PERITO MORENO GLACIER
Facing the Perito Moreno, the visitor is overwhelmed by the impressive spectacle and can appreciate the many unforgettable vistas of the glacier from the walkpaths.
MINITREKKING ON THE PERITO MORENO GLACIER
Special spikes are adjusted to your footwear before starting the hour and a half trek on the ice. This is a specially attractive hike because it puts you in direct contact with the glacial ice, the glacier peaks and the interior lagoons of a unique blue color and the spectacular view of the glacier walls and the lake as well.
ARGENTINO LAKE NORTH ARM EXCURSION
This boat sails along the north arm of Argentino Lake. The ship travels among enormous sized icebergs of diverse shapes. Upsala and Spegazzini, the largest and the tallest glaciers in the National Park respectively, can be seen from the craft.
Usually, passengers debark at Onelli Bay, and after an 800 meters walk through the forest, they arrive at Onelli Lake, a small body of water populated by countless icebergs that have broken off the three glaciers that converge there: Onelli, Botado and Agassiz.
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