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El Calafate - Moreno Glacier

El Calafate, Argentina

So relieved to be off the mammouth stint on yet another South American ´Tour bus´, phew! I´ve arrived at possibly the best hostel ever made, as we walk into America Del Sur on the outskirts of El Calafate town, im asked to take my shoes off. ´You won´t be needing those in here´. Still tired form the journey (and the fact its 1:30 am), i realise that there is heated flooring throughout the hostel eventually. Excellent! What a great start to the visit.

My first day here was quite uneventful. As it is off season for most Southern towns in Argentina, a lot of the restaurants and shops are closed for the winter. Its mad seeing a town so desterted, a huge difference from Buenos Aires. The further south we get, the lower the temperature gets too. Ice and snow is ever increasing - im actually beginning to enjoy it. By the end of the day i have aclimatised to the luxury hostel, which also includes a huge lounge area with widescreen TV and sofa´s, and as the sun sets the most amazing view (yes i know i always say that) can be seen from our dining room. The evening presents us with some more new faces, a Kiwi Shaun and a frenchman Pascal (Princess Pacal of Patagonia to be precise). They tell us of theNAvimag, a watered down cruise shiptaking passengersfrom Puerto Mont to Puerto Natales over 4 days. The way they descibed it sounded like heaven, so we book up for an alternative to hefty bus rides. They also give us some good advice on Chile and their travels so far. In return we get them drunk and show them how to play President! We also meeta German guy, Michael who suggests going for a walk down by the lake the next morning, while the boys are pre-occupied by the damn football. Im so embarrassed by the next tur of events its unreal. Apologies again Michael for standing you up. Inmy drunken state the night before i agreed to meet Michael in thelounge to go for a walk at 7:30. THATS RIGHT 7:30. Even writing it now it doesnt seem right. I roll out of bed at 10:30 having slept through my alarm, which resides on my arm. Sheepishly i get dressed, and head down to the lounge, to my surprise Michael is still waiting for me! I make my excuses and we head out to skate on the ice laden lake, check out the scenery and have a good old chinwag. Persuade Michael to educate me on the topic of Omelette making in the evening, eatdrink and geerally be merry with Pascal, Shaun and the Chicas.

Next day is the big one, the reason we have travelled down to El Calafate. Drum roll please.... ... ... yes its the day trip to see the Moreno Glacier! 60 metres high of jagged ice-peaks, this is the most active Glacier in the world, situated in the Parque Nacional Los Glaciers (genius name). Mini-bus collection at 7:30 meant that a long 2hr bus journy was ahead. As we head up the mountains to our drop off point, thick fog clouds around as far as the eye can see. Not a good sign for seeing the Glacier. Our guide tells us not to panic, it should clear up, and continues with the tour, unfazed. She shows us on a map the 7 walkways to which we can see panoramic views of the Glacier. Not much bloody se when I cant see more than 10 metres in from of me, ay! I wander down to the closest point to theGlacier in Hope of catching a glimpse of soemthing other than white, and hear a deafening sound of ice breaking off the Glacierinto the waters below. A few hours pass of looking a basially nothing, and after Steve and i declined the boat trip in front of the Glacier, our move begins to pay of.

You know me, the dare-devil i am, trek down the 400m trail to the furthest point on the Glacier in icy conditions. The fog begins to clear, with breath taking consequences...

Steve and I even see a huge chunk of ice break off into the sea, we almost go mad with excitement!! So the trip wasnt´t a waste and we go home with happy faces. Our bus for Ushuaia leaves at 3am the next morning, and Shaun is travelling down there too so we´ll have another pal at the end of the world! Yawn, im fed up with 20+ bus rides from hell...

permalink written by  Vegtibbles on June 14, 2006 from El Calafate, Argentina
from the travel blog: The Crazy Adventures of the Tibbler
tagged MorenoGlacier

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Now, that´s one big chunk of ice!

El Calafate, Argentina

After a belly full of dinner in Puerto Natales and a good nights rest, we headed to El Calafate to see the fabled Perito Moreno Glacier. Even though we have now seen many glaciers, this one really shouldn´t be missed. It is incredible and the fact that you can get so close is pretty cool too.

It is the most impressive glacier we´ve seen and certainly the most active in terms of how much ice continually crashes into the water below with a thunder.

Some facts; the Perito Moreno Glacier is around 32km long, with a 5km face of which 60 meters is visible above the water. It is approximately a further 150 meters under water!!!

We spent around 2 hours watching the glacier from different viewing platforms and seeing the massive chunks of ice carve their way off the face. We also took a one hour boat ride to get up close and personal with the glacier. It took us to within 200 meters of the face. From here we could tell how far away the viewing platforms were from the glacier and realised just how massive this thing is. A different perspective and totally worth it. By the end of the boat ride the weather had closed in and there wasn´t much more to see anymore, but lucky us, we were on the bus and heading back into El Calafate.

We also took the time to go to El Chalten, a small town in another part of the Los Glaciers National Park. From here you can do a number of day hikes to see Mount Fitz Roy and also Cerro Torre. We had originally planned on doing a two night hike into the park, but unfortunately the weather closed in so we decided to hire a cabin for the two nights instead. What a great decision that was!!! We thought that we´d experienced winds in Torres del Paine, but the winds here were just incredible. At times we thought that the big bad wolf was outside, huffing and puffing to blow our house down!!!

We did a day hike to view Mount Fitz Roy, but unfortunately the clouds were settled in and we didn´t get much of a view at all.

All in all though, we had a nice couple of days here in a picturesque little village.

permalink written by  chrishoorweg on December 2, 2007 from El Calafate, Argentina
from the travel blog: and one last trip before we come home.........?
tagged MorenoGlacier

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