Reasons to go to Los Glaciares

  • Gasp at the majesty of Perito Moreno glacier, then explore by boat, kayak or even by donning crampons to hike across its icy back
  • Follow a network of day hiking routes from the mountain town of El Chaltén, to enjoy sublime views of the many peaks and glaciers of the Fitz Roy Massif
  • Embrace your inner gaucho for life on the range at an estancia, exploring the trails on foot or horseback in an epic wilderness
  • Get truly remote with the windswept passes on the Huemul Circuit trek, to wild camp on the shores of an iceberg-strewn lake
  • Challenge yourself on an ice field expedition, traversing some of the toughest and most spectacular scenery that Patagonia has to offer.

Where to go in Los Glaciares

Discover the glaciers of Los Glaciares

Los Glaciares National Park

Few national parks can be more perfectly named than Los Glaciares. It’s home to a jaw-dropping 356 glaciers, and many of them are easily accessible to visitors.

Perito Moreno glacier is Patagonia’s most famous glacier – and for a very good reason. Though it’s named for Argentina’s most famous explorer, Francisco Moreno, you don’t need to be an explorer yourself to enjoy it. It can be quickly reached by road from El Calafate, and its vast cliffs and almost unfathomable length (nearly 19 miles/30km) can be explored in a variety of ways. From boat trips to ice hiking with crampons on its back, Perito Moreno is not to be missed.

Close to El Chaltén, Viedma Glacier is spectacular when seen on the Huemul Circuit trek as it feeds into a vast lake, while day hikers from the town can enjoy numerous other glaciers snaking down from the mountains of the Fitz Roy massif. These include Torre and Piedras Blancas – to be seen on some classic trails – and Cagliero glacier.

Hike the Fitz Roy Massif

Four hikers at Laguna de Los Tres under Mount Fitz Roy in Los Glaciares

The peaks of the Fitz Roy Massif are what makes Los Glaciares National Park world famous hiking and trekking destination.

The instantly recognisable granite peaks of Mount Fitz Roy dominate the north of the park. Originally called Chaltén ('peak of fire') by the indigenous Tehuelche people, that name is now given to the town that sits below the mountains, offering instant access to a superb network of hiking trails.

Iconic day hikes like Laguna de Los Tres and Laguna Torre take you straight to the feet of the greatest peaks, throwing in a few extra glaciers and pretty mountain lakes for good measure, while the Loma del Pliegue Tumbado hike pulls the focus back to reveal stunning panoramas of the entire range.

Multi-day treks offer the chance for much deeper exploration. The most celebrated route here is the Huemul Circuit trek with its four days over dramatic mountain passes and along glaciers taking you to the wildest corners of the park.

The southern part of Los Glaciares is less visited by hikers, but offers no fewer rewards. Here lies a chance to explore a wilderness that stretches to the horizon, past its historic estancias takes you to places so remote you’ll need a boat to bring you home.

Explore the lakes of Los Glaciares

The Bay of Icebergs on Viedma Lake, on the Huemul Circuit trek

Los Glaciares is dotted with lakes. Many of them are tiny turquoise jewels, whose joy lies in coming upon them unexpectedly during a hike, where a glacier has left behind a watery footprint or still keeps it topped up with fresh ice.

Two lakes are absolute giants however. Like their smaller cousins, their milky blue colouring comes from glacial meltwater, making for tremendous photos against their mountain backdrops. Premier among these is Lago Argentina, the country’s largest lake, covering some 600 square miles. This is where visitors come for the great spectacle or Perito Moreno glacier. It’s not the only glacier that feeds into the lake however, and to get a real taste of its vastness waters you’ll need to take a boat north to Upsala glacier, where Patagonia bares its icy soul to a chosen few.

Nearer to El Chaltén, Lago Viedma is more modest in size (a mere 50 miles or 80km long) but is equally dramatic. It’s notable for the immense scouring effect that the receding Videma glacier has had on the surrounding landscape, like giant claws running through the rock. Viedma is somewhere you’ll have to trek to, but those that do can spend the night camping on its shores surrounded by the icebergs that crowd its bays.

Relax in the towns

El Chalten town sign with Mount Fitz Roy in the background

Unlike national parks like Torres del Paine, Los Glaciares allows you to enjoy the best of both worlds: spent the day hiking in the mountains and then return to town in the evening.

El Chaltén is the chilled out mountain town close to Fitz Roy, and on a clear dayvthe peak dominates its skyline, tempting visitors out onto the trails. The town is small but perfectly formed, with a great cafe, restaurant and bar scene to enjoy after some hard days hiking, as well as plenty of outdoor gear shops where you can top up on kit. It's an easy place to lose a few days, where it seems like everyone you meet is either about to head on a trek or has just come back from one. 

El Calafate is the only city in the area. Most visitors will apss through at some point, thanks to its airport linking Los Galciares to the rest of Argentina and its proximity to Perito Moreno glacier. While it can't quite match El Chaltén's quirky charms, its lakeside setting on Lago Argentina and good hotels and facilities make it a good place to base yourself while exploring the southern part of the national park. 

Traverse the ice cap

Glacier hiking on the Southern Ice Field expedition

If Patagonia is a place for adventure, then nowhere is better than the Southern Patagonian Ice Field. This is the third largest icefield in the world (and the biggest outside the polar regions) so it’s not somewhere to be approached casually. Those mentally and physically ready to be tested however should grab an ice-axe, crampons and snowshoes and prepare for a true expedition.

This vast ice field stretches for more than 250 miles (400km) along the Andes, with Los Glaciares being just one of four national parks taken in by its extent. By climbing the Marconi Pass, intrepid explorers can get a taste of its frozen expanses. Much of the ice field remains unexplored and parts of this slowly moving border are still in dispute: a geopolitical accident means that hikers coming from Argentina even stay at a remote refuge erected by Chile. 

Expeditions here typically take eight days. The conditions on the ice field are unpredictable such that two extra days need to be built into the itinerary just to account for the ever-changing weather. Those ready to brave the elements will be rewarded with a truly unforgettable adventure. 

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Swoop says

The main trails are well-trodden for a reason and you'll get spectacular views wherever you go, but the best sunrises and sunsets await those who get a little off-the-beaten-track, and camp out for a night or two among the mountains. 

Trekking in Los Glaciares

Hikers enjoying the view of Fitz Roy in Los Glaciares national park

Trekking in Los Glaciares

Argentina's Los Glaciares is full of jagged granite mountains, electric-blue lakes and sparkling glaciers: perfect for anything from short day hikes to epic wilderness treks.

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Signs to EL Chalten and Laguna de los Tres in Los Glaciares, with the FOtz Roy massif in the background

El Chaltén

Sat at the base of Mount Fitz Roy in Los Glaciares, the town of El Chaltén is one of the world’s greatest destinations for spectacular mountain day hikes and rock climbing.

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Where to stay in Los Glaciares

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With hiking as one of the region’s major draws, the majority of people chose to base themselves in and around El Chaltén. This has the advantage of literally being able to walk straight out your hotel and onto a hiking trail – and return in the evening for a hot shower and to explore the town’s great foodie scene. There’s a good selection of accommodation for all price brackets, from simple guesthouses to glamping and luxury lodges.

El Calafate also has a wide selection of hotels that are perfect for ease of access to Perito Moreno. Outside the city there are some brilliant luxury lodges in wilderness seclusion.

Alternatively, you might choose to get away from everything to stay on an estancia, or traditional Argentinian ranch. You won’t be roughing it with the gauchos, but spending time in a rustic all-inclusive with their own trails, guides and activities, all wrapped up in a homely and welcoming atmosphere.

Los Glaciares accommodation options

El Chaltén Hotels

El Chaltén Hotels

Originally a climbers' mecca, El Chaltén is peppered with hotels that are still mainly run by staff dying to help you get out and about in the mountains. Spend your days amongst …

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El Calafate Hotels

Hotel Kapenke, El Calafate, Argentina

El Calafate is the hub of Argentina's Los Glaciares National Park, and there is no shortage of places to stay. Experience warm Patagonian hospitality at a family run boutique …

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Estancias in Los Glaciares

Estancia Cristina in Los Glaciares

Estancias are the perfect place to disconnect: remote ranches offering a gaucho lifestyle, where you can explore their trails by day then sink into their rustic charms by night.

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How to get to Los Glaciares

Sunset over the Fitz Roy massif on the road to El Chaltén

El Calafate (airport code FTE) is the main gateway to Los Glaciares national park. From here, it’s just 135 miles (215km) by road to the park’s hiking hub at El Chaltén. The journey takes around three hours, with a breathtaking final approach as the Fitz Roy Massif looms up above the highway. From El Calafate, it’s 59 miles (80km) to Perito Moreno glacier.

In high season El Calafate has up six flights a day to the Buenos Aires as well as daily flights to Ushuaia in Tierra del Fuego (75 minutes). Other connections include up to three flights a week to Bariloche, the gateway to Argentina's Lake District (1hr45), Trelew (for Peninsula Valdes, 1hr35) and Cordoba (three hours).

Long distance buses are also available, travelling along the famous Ruta 40 to Bariloche (around 27 hours) or south to Ushuaia (around 18 hours). 

Travel to Chile There are no direct flights from El Calafate into Chile. Torres del Paine National Park is only just across the border from Los Glaciares however, and overland travel is straightforward. Cross-border buses run between El Calafate and Puerto Natales in Chile, taking between 5–7 hours depending on border control. From Puerto Natales it's a further 2½ hours by road to Torres del Paine. 

Travel to Aysen in Chile is a great adventure as it involves lake crossing and trek via Lago O'Higgins/San Martin: you'll really feel off the tourist trail.

How do I get to Los Glaciares?

Illustrated Guide

When to go to Los Glaciares

Sunset over the mountains at Estancia Cristina in Los Glaciares

Spring is the start of the visitors season in Los Glaciares, when receding snow reopens the best trails. Mornings and nights will still be chill, but you’ll be warmed by beating the day hiking crowds to the classic vistas.

Things warm up in summer, with over 17 hours of daylight on midsummer’s day in December. There is typically fine weather (hovering around 66F/19C), but with strong winds. This is peak season, so booking accommodation in advance is essential.

Autumn brings glorious fall colours to Los Glaciares. Add in generally clearer skies and fewer visitors, this can be one of the best times to visit – but later in the season you’ll need to prepare for the chance of snow.

Winter sees very few visitors. Snow closes most of the trails and many hotels shut for the season. When conditions allow, it’s still sometimes possible to do some of the classic day hike Laguna de Los Tres with a guide and snowshoes. Perito Moreno remains accessible throughout the entire year.

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What our travellers think of Los Glaciares

Los Glaciares National Park trips scored 4.4/5 from 389 reviews

There were many amazing moments of the trip, but the Perito Moreno glacier was remarkable. I have never seen anything like it. Read the full review

Travelled: February 2023

Sara Wynne - UK

Our 3 day, 2 night hiking experience with our guide was our highlight (although everything was so amazing-it is difficult to choose). The afternoon hike on our first day took us to the celestial lakes in front of the Fitz Roy. Absolutely breathtaking colors and views! We will always picture this moment when reflecting back on our visit to Patagonia. Read the full review

Travelled: December 2022

Andrea Cohen - USA

The weather was unforgiving and uncooperative which resulted in some setbacks. However, the sheer vastness of Los Glaciares is something that can never be put into words or shown through pictures. It's an experience one can only gain from seeing firsthand. Read the full review

Travelled: November 2022

Nick Jakubowski - USA

Stunning. I don't know what I expected for Los Glaciares park and the glacier walk, but the day exceeded whatever expectations existed. We were lucky to have a friend that's a professional photographer on the trip, she managed to capture the beauty of the glacier and so many memories for our group. Read the full review

Travelled: November 2022

Mariel Sabraw - USA

This is the most beautidul place I've ever been to! Read the full review

Travelled: October 2022

Debbie Knaub - USA

Loved this area of Argentina. Spending time hiking around Fitzroy was the highlight. Read the full review

Travelled: February 2019

Brian McIntyre - United States Of America

The trip was an adventure and to see such beautiful scenery was breathtaking. The people of Patagonia were extremely friendly and helpful and without question getting up close and personal with a Glacier was a truly memorable moment. The shear scale of nature in the raw is a beautiful thing to see Read the full review

Travelled: January 2019

David Cook - United Kingdom

The wilderness, the most dramatic scenery you can experience and the people, warm with compassion and incredible depth of care for their communities. Read the full review

Travelled: October 2016

Nic and Julie Iannarone -

A wonderful experience which far exceeded our expectations with spectacular scenery and events.

Travelled: February 2016

Murray -

Review:

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Los Glaciares: Your Questions Answered

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Estancia Cristina in Los Glaciares

Estancias in Los Glaciares

Estancias are the perfect place to disconnect: remote ranches offering a gaucho lifestyle, where you can explore their trails by day then sink into their rustic charms by night.

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