The Deep Blues of the Massive Perito Moreno Glacier

I crossed the border from Puerto Natales to El Calafate feeling a bit apprehensive about moving on from the great group and time I’d had in PN. It’s hard to leave a situation that’s grown really comfortable and throw yourself back into the “Hi, where are you from?” scenario. But it has to be done if you’re going to keep on the road.

Wouldn’t you know, my apprehensions went away 5 minutes into arriving at I Keu Ken Hostel in El Calafate. The hostel was up the hill from town with a gorgeous view of the aqua blue Lago Argentino. Ignacio checked me in and asked if I’d be joining for the asado tonight — ARG$100 (~$14 USD) for a full asado, salad, and all you can drink wine and beer. “But you have to decide in 10 minutes because we’re running out to buy wine.” …. Sold!

Thirty minutes later I was sitting at a 20-top table with other travelers, getting served platter of meat after platter of meat by the hostel guys. Here is our trusty chef:

Argentine Asado

Round 1: Chorizo and Morcillo (blood sausage – I passed on the latter). Round 2: lamb. Round 3: chicken. Round 4: beef. Round 5: pork. I thought we were done after Round 3, but couldn’t say no, it was all so delicious! Paired with a carrot/tomato/onion salad and endless carafes of wine, it was a great night.

I sat across the table from a girl from Germany and another from Japan, and next to a fellow west coaster from San Francisco. We all talked so long that once the light faded from the sky Ignacio added candles to the table to light our way into the night.

I love these recurring eye-opener moments where life finds a way to remind you why you’re traveling and that you can’t hold on to experiences the same way you would on a two week vacation from home. It’s like my mind/heart is a hard drive and I need to be sure to keep clearing some space to be open to the flood of new experiences and people that come my way. I was nervous leaving what had grown comfortable to me in PN, almost dreading being let down, but was greeted with an entirely new positive in El Calafate.

The next morning I woke up early for the full day Perito Moreno Glacier tour. Our first stop was an estancia for a coffee and a quick hello to the adorable sheep. This guy and I had a heart to heart:


Smart guys, hiding from the rain:

Sheep hiding from rain

Rainbow landscape:

Rainbow landscape

El Calafate Panorama

The weather started out iffy/rainy, including a “trek” along the beach where we were getting pelted with rain (miserable)…

Beach near Perito Moreno

… but then we made it to the glacier and wow:

The glacier

Me, excited, so much ice
Icefield for days:

Ice forever

Perito Moreno Glacier Panorama

Perito Moreno Glacier is a very active glacier, with ice sections falling every few minutes. The icefield that feeds this glacier is the third largest reserve of freshwater in the world, and Perito Moreno is one of three glaciers in Patagonia that are actually growing rather than receding.

The rain morphed into sun by the time we were on the boat portion (just 50m from the glacial wall, watching ice sections calf off into the water with a deep kaboom and splash). Your ears would pick up on the calving sound starting up but it was the vibrations in your chest that let you know a section was on its way. From the boat we saw this big piece splash in:

Perito Moreno Glacier calving off

The blues were so blue, I just wanted to be exploring up there, imagining hidden worlds inside blue caverns of ice.

Strange glacier formations

Blue glacial ice

Here are some more photos: