Reasons to go
- Perito Moreno is one of the safest and most easily accessible glaciers in the world
- No experience is required for an ice hike: don crampons and feel the ice crunching under your feet
- Watch chunks of the glacier crash into the water as it creaks and calves
- Close proximity to El Calafate means you can spend the whole day exploring the surroundings
How can I experience Perito Moreno Glacier?
Visit Perito Moreno Glacier
If you've never donned crampons or used an ice axe before then this is a great opportunity, no previous experience is required!
Trekking over the glacier, you'll clamber over deep blue crevasses, witness incredible ice caves and seracs, and splash through rivers of meltwater with an experienced guide and all the necessary safety equipment.
There are two different ice hike routes; both take a full day and include your transport to and from El Calafate. The 'Mini Ice' gives you 1h 40mins on the ice itself as part of a two-hour guided tour (age limit 10 - 65 years). The 'Big Ice' is aimed at more adventurous visitors and gives you 3h 30mins on the ice (age limit 18 - 50).
Boat and hike
Combine a visit to Perito Moreno with an exploration of the fjords of Los Glaciares National Park. Hike around the ancient forests, black sand beaches, hidden waterfalls and massive hanging glaciers before sailing up to Perito Moreno.
You'll have time to gaze at the wall of ice from your boat, and also from the viewing balconies which offer spectacular views.
Take in the sheer size and beauty of Perito Moreno from a network of viewing balconies.
This is the most affordable and time efficient option to see the glacier, and still allows you to get stunning photos and see/hear the glacier calve and crash up close.
You can get to the walkways by car, or combine with a boat trip to take you up to the face of the glacier as well.
Jump in a kayak and paddle the pristine meltwater towards the glacier, where you can enjoy a silence not found on the boat trips or viewing balconies, only disturbed by the crashing of ice as it calves. Sitting atop the water allows you to explore from a unique position and experience a sense of scale as Perito Moreno towers impressively ahead.
You can combine kayaking with a visit to the viewing balconies for varied perspectives of the glacier.
Trips that visit Perito Moreno Glacier
Just observing Perito Moreno from the walkways is an unforgettable experience, but if you have more time or are feeling more adventurous we highly recommend a boat trip up to the face of the glacier, and an ice hike on it's surface.
FAQs about Perito Moreno Glacier
Perito Moreno Glacier is accessed from the town of El Calafate, which can be reached by air from Buenos Aires or other domestic airports in Argentina, or by bus from Punta Arenas in Chile.
The Fitz Roy Range is accessed from the mountain town of El Chalten, which you can reach by bus (three hours) from the town of El Calafate, near to Perito Moreno.
Yes, you can access Torres del Paine by bus from the nearby town of El Calafate. The journey is approx five hours long to Puerto Natales, the gateway to Torres del Paine, from there it is another few hours into the park.
No, there is no experience required for ice hiking on Perito Moreno.
Yes, the shorter 'mini ice' hike has age limits of 10 to 65, and the longer 'big ice' hike has age limits of 18 - 50.
What our customers think
Big Ice trek was an outstanding experience - staff were great! We would never have thought of such an experience and that’s a credit to Swoop!
Anne Marie McGonigal United Kingdom December 2018
The glacier was a surprise--we weren't expecting it to be so impressive.
Jen Keister United States Of America November 2018
The hike on Perito Moreno glacier was so cool! I have hiked on other glaciers when the weather was bad, and we happened to get a bright and sunny day for this tour, so it made it very enjoyable.
Alysha Colorado, USA December 2017
The Perito Moreno Glacier is breathtaking and easily accessible from the raised walkway in the park. We also did the boat tour, which offers history and closer view of the glacier.
Richard & Susan Canada October 2017
About Perito Moreno Glacier
Why is it special?
There are three reasons why Perito Moreno is so unique:
Accessibility: Very few glaciers are this easily accessible, whilst also being incredibly safe. It is close to the town of El Calafate, in a stable climate, viewable from walkways, by boat, and on the surface of the glacier itself.
Stability: Perito Moreno has been regarded as stable: it's surface, width and length have remained largely the same since 1971. This means that the snowfall in the accumulation zone is enough to balance out the mass lost from melting in the percolation zone.
Breaking: As it stretches into the Magallanes Peninsula, the glacier obstructs the water draining from Lago Rico into Lago Argentino. This causes water levels in Lago Rico to rise, increasing in pressure and eventually causing the glacier to break. This can take anything from one day to an entire week depending on the amount of water accumulated in Lago Rico, and the ice mass blocking it. These breaking cycles are irregular, happening every 2-16 years: the last ones were 2006, 2004 and before that 1988!
It's not hard to see why Perito Moreno is one of the best known glaciers in the world.
It is one of the largest glaciers of the Los Glaciares region, at a massive 254 square kilometres. It is 19 miles long, 3 miles wide, and 730 metres thick at it's deepest point. The glacier is fed by the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, the worlds third largest freshwater reserve.
Perito Moreno towers an average of 55 metres above the surface of the lake at its face, and descends around 120 metres below the surface. Unlike most glaciers worldwide which are in retreat, Perito Moreno is believed to be advancing at a rate of 2.64 metres a day.
Although quite touristy, the ice hike on Perito Moreno is well worth a try. I remember stopping and staring in wonder at jagged seracs in the distance, and hopping over the deep blue crevasses beneath me.
Chloe O'Keeffe Patagonia Specialist
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