Just 85 kilometers from the city of El Calafate, the imposing Perito Moreno glacier awaits us, where thanks to a system of viewpoints and walkways we were able to enjoy looking at it a little closer.
85 kilometers from the center of El Calafate and within Los Glaciares National Park, the spectacular viewpoints of the Perito Moreno Glacier awaited us. From the entrance to the protected area to the viewpoint sector, there are 30 kilometers of the most amazing nature. We skirted the Brazo Rico of Lake Argentino and walked through the beautiful forest of lengas, ciruelillos, calafates, and larches, which embellished our path.
The expectation took hold of us as we went down the steps to reach the first viewpoint. We knew that the Perito Moreno glacier perseveres in time, in the same place. We knew that it had closed the passage between the Canal de Los Témpanos and the Brazo Rico, increasing its flow at a rate of 5 centimeters per day.
Now and then we heard it break and it reinforced our hope of a new break. We had the illusion that, if the natural dam was maintained throughout the summer, a new breach could occur. We close our eyes and listen to that extraordinary mass of ice below.
The guide gave us an informative talk before starting the tour of the walkways and once he marked the way for us, we began to walk. The guides promise that each viewpoint offers a new perspective and as we go we discover them ourselves.
Before reaching the first balcony, we find the plaque declaring it the World Heritage Site, delivered by UNESCO in 1981. A little further on, two lecterns provide information on the glacial processes and the Perito Moreno in particular.
We began to feel tired from trekking on the ice and decided to go downstairs to rest a bit. From the entrance to the footbridge area, you descend 400 meters to the lower balcony, the closest to the front of the glacier. The best place to appreciate the northern sector of the glacier is found on the intermediate balcony, which also offers an excellent view of the Canal de Los Témpanos.
Although the largest glaciers in the park are the Viedma and the Upsala, the Perito Moreno allows reaching its maximum front more easily thanks to the fact that it is only 200 meters above sea level. This avoids having to do a long stretch of trekking or navigation, as you have to do to reach the other glaciers.
This enormous mass of ice in the province of Santa Cruz, with an area of fourteen thousand square kilometers, represents the third-largest in the world, after Antarctica and Greenland.
Standing in front of this immense natural monument, we feel captivated. Every once in a while, the silence would be broken with a roar from the depths of the glacier, and, breaking the stillness, some piece of that solid seventy-meter wall would come crashing down.
With good reason, the Perito Moreno Glacier has earned a place among the wonders of the world. And not only is this immense and majestic mass of ice changing to our delight, but Los Glaciares National Park also inaugurated, in commemoration of its 70th anniversary in 2007, a reform plan that will allow all visitors to enjoy this protected beauty. The project includes the paving of National Route 40 to new infrastructures such as viewpoints, shelters, walkways, and special circuits for people with motor disabilities.
Thanks to all these reforms, the park will be able to receive more and more tourists, who year after year increase in number, to reveal the best and most beautiful natural wonders of Argentine soil.