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How To Visit Perito Moreno Glacier: A Complete Guide


Modified: January 3, 2024

by Rosalia Brookins



Welcome to the stunning and awe-inspiring world of Perito Moreno Glacier. Located in the southern region of Argentina, this magnificent glacier is one of the most popular tourist attractions in Central & South America. With its imposing size, breathtaking views, and ever-changing landscape, visiting Perito Moreno Glacier is an experience you won’t want to miss.


Stretching over 250 square kilometers and towering 70 meters above the surface of Lake Argentino, Perito Moreno Glacier is a natural wonder of immense beauty. It is part of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, one of the largest reserves of fresh water in the world. The glacier is famous for its stunning blue hues and the thunderous sound of ice calving into the lake. It truly is a spectacle that will leave you in awe.


Aside from its sheer beauty, Perito Moreno Glacier is also a UNESCO World Heritage site and is known for its significant contribution to the study of glaciology. It has become a hotspot for researchers and scientists seeking to understand the dynamics of glaciation and climate change.


Visiting Perito Moreno Glacier is an adventure that offers a unique and unforgettable experience. Whether you are an avid nature lover, an adventure enthusiast, or simply seeking a serene and picturesque getaway, this glacier has something to offer everyone.


In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the various aspects of visiting Perito Moreno Glacier. From the best time to visit and how to get there, to trekking options, boat tours, and safety tips, we will provide you with all the essential information to make the most out of your visit to this remarkable natural wonder.


About Perito Moreno Glacier

Perito Moreno Glacier is a mesmerizing ice formation located in Los Glaciares National Park in the Santa Cruz Province of Argentina. What makes this glacier truly unique is its stability, unlike most glaciers in the world that are shrinking due to climate change, Perito Moreno Glacier is actually growing!


The glacier is named after Francisco Moreno, an Argentine explorer who played a significant role in surveying and mapping Patagonia in the 19th century. It covers an area of approximately 250 square kilometers and stands at a height of around 70 meters above the surface of Lake Argentino.


One of the most fascinating aspects of Perito Moreno Glacier is its constant movement. It acts as a natural dam, trapping the waters of Lake Argentino and creating a temporary ice bridge. This bridge eventually collapses, resulting in a spectacular display known as “calving,” where massive chunks of ice break off and crash into the lake, creating a thunderous roar. This event can be witnessed from various viewpoints along the glacier’s front wall.


Perito Moreno Glacier is renowned for its stunning blue hues. The color is a result of the compression of ice crystals over time, which causes light refraction and gives the glacier its vibrant blue appearance. The dazzling color, combined with the towering ice walls and the surrounding mountains, makes for a truly breathtaking sight.


The glacier is also home to numerous ice caves and crevasses, which add to its mystical charm. These formations provide opportunities for exploration and adventure, allowing visitors to get up close and personal with the glacier’s icy features.


Perito Moreno Glacier is not only a sight to behold but also a treasure trove for scientific research. Its accessible location and unique characteristics make it an ideal location for glaciologists to study the dynamics and behavior of glaciers.


As part of Los Glaciares National Park, Perito Moreno Glacier offers visitors a chance to immerse themselves in the untouched beauty of Patagonia. Surrounded by the pristine forests and mountains of the Andes, the glacier offers a peaceful and serene atmosphere where visitors can connect with nature on a profound level.


Now that you have a better understanding of the captivating qualities of Perito Moreno Glacier, let’s explore the best time to visit and how to get there.


When to Visit

Perito Moreno Glacier is a year-round destination, but the best time to visit depends on your preferences and what you hope to experience during your trip.


One of the most popular times to visit is during the summer months of December to February. This is when the weather is relatively mild, with temperatures ranging from 13°C to 20°C (55°F to 68°F). The longer daylight hours also allow for more time to explore and take in the breathtaking views of the glacier. However, keep in mind that this is also peak tourist season, so expect larger crowds and higher prices.


If you prefer cooler temperatures and smaller crowds, consider visiting during the spring and fall months of September to November or March to May. During these shoulder seasons, the weather is still pleasant, with temperatures ranging from 7°C to 15°C (45°F to 59°F). It’s a great time to enjoy the outdoors and witness the changing colors of the surrounding landscapes. You may also find more affordable accommodation options during this time.


For those seeking a unique experience, visiting during the winter months of June to August offers a different perspective. The colder temperatures and occasional snowfall create a stunning winter wonderland around the glacier. However, it’s important to note that some hiking trails may be inaccessible during this time due to snow and ice.


Regardless of the season, it’s important to check the weather forecast and be prepared for sudden changes. Patagonia is known for its unpredictable weather patterns, so pack layers and waterproof clothing to stay comfortable during your visit.


Now that you know when to visit, let’s explore how to get to Perito Moreno Glacier.


How to Get There

Getting to Perito Moreno Glacier involves traveling to the town of El Calafate, which serves as the gateway to the glacier. El Calafate is well-connected to other cities in Argentina and neighboring countries via air and bus transportation.


By Air: El Calafate has its own international airport, Comandante Armando Tola International Airport (FTE), which receives flights from major cities in Argentina, as well as from Santiago, Chile. From the airport, you can take a taxi or arrange for a transfer to your accommodation in El Calafate.


By Bus: El Calafate is easily accessible by bus from various cities in Argentina, including Buenos Aires and Bariloche. Several bus companies operate regular services to and from El Calafate, offering comfortable and affordable transportation options. The journey from Buenos Aires to El Calafate, for example, takes around 36 hours.


Once you have arrived in El Calafate, there are several ways to reach Perito Moreno Glacier:


By Rental Car: Renting a car gives you the freedom to explore the area at your own pace. From El Calafate, take the Provincial Route 11 towards Moreno Lake. The drive takes approximately 1.5 to 2 hours, and there are signs along the way directing you to the glacier’s visitor center and viewpoints.


By Public Bus: There are regular bus services from El Calafate to Perito Moreno Glacier. Buses depart from the bus terminal in El Calafate and take approximately 1.5 to 2 hours to reach the glacier. The buses usually offer several stops at different viewpoints along the way, allowing you to enjoy the scenery and take photos.


By Organized Tour: If you prefer a hassle-free experience, you can book a guided tour from El Calafate. Many tour operators offer half-day or full-day tours to Perito Moreno Glacier, which include transportation, a guide, and visits to the best viewpoints. This option is convenient, especially if you don’t want to worry about logistics or navigation.


It’s important to note that there is an admission fee to enter Los Glaciares National Park, which covers access to Perito Moreno Glacier. Make sure to check the current fees and payment methods beforehand.


Now that you know how to reach Perito Moreno Glacier, let’s explore the entrance fees and permits required for visiting.


Entrance Fees and Permits

To visit Perito Moreno Glacier, you will need to pay an entrance fee to enter Los Glaciares National Park. The fees are used to support the conservation and maintenance of the park’s infrastructure.


The entrance fee for foreign visitors varies depending on the season and nationality. It is typically higher for non-residents of Argentina compared to locals or residents of Mercosur countries. The fee can be paid in Argentine pesos, US dollars, or by credit card at the entrance gate or visitor center.


It’s important to note that the entrance fee only covers access to Los Glaciares National Park and Perito Moreno Glacier. Certain activities, such as guided tours, trekking options, and boat tours, may have additional fees.


If you plan to visit other parts of the national park or engage in activities beyond Perito Moreno Glacier, you may need to obtain additional permits, depending on the specific activity. For example, if you plan to trek through the park’s trails or camp overnight, you may require a separate permit. It’s essential to inquire about any necessary permits when planning your visit and ensure you obtain them in advance to avoid any issues.


It’s recommended to check the official website of Los Glaciares National Park or consult with local tour operators for the most up-to-date information on entrance fees and permits.


Now that you know about the entrance fees and permits, let’s explore the guided tours available at Perito Moreno Glacier.


Guided Tours

Exploring Perito Moreno Glacier with a guided tour is a popular choice for many visitors. It offers the advantage of having a knowledgeable guide who can provide insights into the glacier’s formation, history, and the surrounding ecosystem.


There are several guided tour options available, catering to different preferences and interests:


Standard Tour: The standard tour usually includes transportation from El Calafate to Perito Moreno Glacier, entrance fees, and a guide. It allows you to explore the designated walkways and viewpoints at your own pace, providing ample time to marvel at the glacier’s majestic beauty. The guide will share interesting facts and information about the glacier’s features and history.


Mini-Trekking Tour: For a more immersive experience, consider a mini-trekking tour. This guided tour allows you to walk on the glacier itself, equipped with crampons and under the supervision of expert guides. It’s a unique opportunity to get an up-close encounter with the ice, explore the glacier’s crevasses, and learn about its formation and characteristics. The mini-trekking tour typically includes the necessary equipment, transportation, and the entrance fee.


Big Ice Tour: If you’re an adventure seeker looking for an adrenaline rush, the Big Ice Tour is a thrilling option. This more advanced trekking experience takes you deeper into the heart of Perito Moreno Glacier. Led by experienced guides, you’ll navigate through the glacier’s labyrinth of ice formations, encountering breathtaking ice caves and deep crevasses along the way. The Big Ice Tour requires a higher level of physical fitness and is available for a limited number of participants each day.


Boat and Safari Tour: To appreciate the grandeur of Perito Moreno Glacier from a different perspective, consider a boat tour. These tours take you close to the towering ice walls, allowing you to witness the mesmerizing calving process up close. Some boat tours also include a safari-style drive through the surrounding forests, providing opportunities to spot local wildlife such as guanacos, condors, and even pumas.


It’s important to book guided tours in advance, especially during peak tourist season, to secure your spot. The duration and costs of the tours may vary, so it’s advisable to research different tour operators and compare their offerings.


Now that we’ve explored the guided tour options, let’s dive into the trekking options available at Perito Moreno Glacier.


Trekking Options

For those seeking an immersive and adventurous experience at Perito Moreno Glacier, there are several trekking options to choose from. These treks allow you to explore the glacier up close and personal, offering a unique and unforgettable encounter with the icy giant.


Mini-Trekking: The mini-trekking option is a popular choice for visitors who want to walk on the glacier and witness its stunning beauty from a different perspective. Led by experienced guides, you’ll be equipped with crampons to navigate the icy terrain safely. The trek takes you through a predefined path on the glacier, exploring its crevasses and admiring its breathtaking ice formations. This intermediate-level trek usually lasts around 1.5 to 2 hours and requires a moderate level of fitness.


Big Ice: The Big Ice trek is an extended version of the mini-trekking experience, offering a more in-depth exploration of Perito Moreno Glacier. Led by specialized guides, this challenging trek takes you deeper into the glacier, requiring physical stamina and a sense of adventure. You’ll traverse icy landscapes, maneuver through narrow crevasses, and witness awe-inspiring ice formations. The Big Ice trek usually lasts around 3 to 4 hours, and it’s essential to have a good fitness level to participate.


Ice Rivers: For the ultimate glacier adventure, the Ice Rivers trek offers a combination of hiking on the glacier and kayaking through the pristine waters surrounding it. This full-day excursion combines the thrill of walking on the glacier’s surface with the serenity of kayaking on crystal-clear lakes. Led by expert guides, you’ll explore remote areas of the glacier, paddle past icebergs, and immerse yourself in the magical surroundings. The Ice Rivers trek requires a good fitness level and prior kayaking experience.


It’s important to note that all trekking options require adequate clothing, including waterproof and warm layers, as well as suitable footwear. Some tour operators provide the necessary equipment, while others may require you to bring your own. Additionally, always follow the safety instructions provided by the guides to ensure a safe and enjoyable experience.


Trekking on Perito Moreno Glacier is an extraordinary adventure that allows you to connect with the glacier’s natural beauty on a deeper level. It’s an experience that will leave you with lifelong memories and a profound appreciation for the power and fragility of nature.


Now that we’ve explored the trekking options, let’s move on to the boat tours available at Perito Moreno Glacier.


Boat Tours

Boat tours are a fantastic way to experience the grandeur of Perito Moreno Glacier from a different vantage point. These tours take you up close to the glacier, allowing you to witness its towering ice walls, hear the thunderous cracks as ice calving occurs, and truly appreciate the magnitude of this natural wonder.


Classic Boat Tour: The classic boat tour is a popular choice for visitors who want to get a closer look at the glacier and witness the dramatic calving process. The boat takes you across the turquoise waters of Lake Argentino, bringing you within a safe distance of the glacier’s massive ice front. You’ll have ample time to observe the impressive ice formations, listen to the echoing sounds of ice breaking off, and capture stunning photographs. This tour is suitable for all ages and does not require a high level of physical fitness.


Alternative Boat Tours: In addition to the classic boat tour, there are alternative boat tours available that offer different perspectives and experiences. Some tours take you closer to the glacier, cruising through icebergs and providing a more immersive encounter with the glacier’s front walls. Others combine a boat tour with a safari-style drive through the national park, allowing you to explore the surrounding landscapes and spot local wildlife. Consider your preferences and choose a boat tour that best matches your interests.


Boat tours usually operate throughout the year, but the availability and frequency may vary depending on the season. It’s advisable to book your boat tour in advance, especially during the peak tourist season, to secure your spot.


During the boat tour, you’ll have the opportunity to learn about the glacier’s unique characteristics, its role in the region’s ecosystem, and the ongoing research being conducted to better understand glacial dynamics. The guides onboard provide informative commentary and answer any questions you may have, enriching your overall experience.


Keep in mind that boat tours are weather-dependent, and operations may be affected or canceled in case of adverse conditions. It’s always a good idea to check the weather forecast and stay in touch with the tour operator to ensure a smooth and enjoyable boat tour.


Now that we’ve explored the boat tour options, let’s discover the diverse wildlife and flora that call Perito Moreno Glacier their home.


Wildlife and Flora

The ecosystem surrounding Perito Moreno Glacier is home to a diverse array of wildlife and flora, adding to the natural beauty and ecological significance of the area. Exploring the glacier and its surroundings offers ample opportunities to encounter unique species and observe the region’s rich biodiversity.


Wildlife: Throughout the national park, you may have the chance to spot a variety of wildlife species. One of the most commonly sighted animals is the guanaco, a relative of the llama and a symbol of the Patagonian steppe. Keep an eye out for these graceful herbivores roaming the grasslands. Bird enthusiasts will be delighted by the presence of several avian species, including majestic condors soaring through the skies and colorful Austral parakeets perched on tree branches. Lucky visitors may even spot Andean foxes, pumas, or armadillos, though they are more elusive.


Flora: The vegetation around Perito Moreno Glacier consists of a variety of hardy plants adapted to the harsh Patagonian climate. Look for the low-growing, cushion-like plants known as “cushion plants” or “mats” (such as Azorella compacta), which are built to withstand strong winds and extreme temperatures. You’ll also come across the hardy Antarctic beech trees, with their twisted trunks and vibrant autumn foliage. Mosses, lichens, and small flowering plants like the purple Patagonian daisy can be found accentuating the landscape with pops of color.


It’s important to respect the natural environment and observe wildlife from a distance, avoiding any disruptive behavior. Wildlife viewing should be done with care and consideration for the animals’ well-being and their natural habitats.


Remember to bring binoculars and a camera on your visit to Perito Moreno Glacier, as you never know what incredible wildlife sightings await you. Capturing these moments not only allows for lasting memories but also contributes to the promotion of wildlife conservation.


Now that we’ve explored the wildlife and flora, let’s move on to some safety tips to ensure a safe and enjoyable visit to Perito Moreno Glacier.


Safety Tips

Visiting Perito Moreno Glacier provides an incredible adventure surrounded by nature’s beauty, but it’s essential to prioritize safety during your trip. Here are some essential safety tips to keep in mind:


Follow Park Regulations: Adhere to the rules and regulations set by Los Glaciares National Park. These guidelines are in place to protect both visitors and the fragile ecosystem. Respect designated trails, viewpoints, and restricted areas for your safety and the preservation of the environment.


Dress Appropriately: Patagonian weather can be unpredictable, so dress in layers to adapt to changing conditions. Bring warm, waterproof clothing, sturdy footwear, and accessories like hats and gloves to stay comfortable during your visit.


Stay Hydrated and Nourished: The Patagonian climate can be dehydrating, especially during physical activities. Carry enough water and snacks to keep yourself hydrated and energized throughout your visit.


Listen to Guides and Rangers: If you join a guided tour or encounter park rangers, pay attention to their instructions and follow their advice. They have extensive knowledge about the area and can guide you safely through the trails and activities.


Be Aware of Wildlife: While wildlife encounters can be awe-inspiring, maintain a safe distance and avoid disturbing or provoking the animals. Observe wildlife from a distance and use binoculars or zoom lenses for a closer look. Remember, the safety and well-being of both wildlife and visitors are of utmost importance.


Be Cautious near Water: The glacier’s proximity to the lake means there are potential risks associated with water activities. Be cautious near the water’s edge, especially when exploring ice formations or taking boat tours. Follow the instructions of boat tour operators and wear appropriate safety gear provided during water-based excursions.


Stay on Marked Trails: When hiking or trekking, follow marked trails and paths designated for visitors’ safety. Straying off marked trails can lead to dangerous situations, such as getting lost or encountering hazardous terrain.


Bring Essential Supplies: Carry a small backpack with essential supplies, including sunscreen, insect repellent, a first aid kit, and any necessary medications. It’s always better to be prepared for unforeseen situations.


Check Weather Conditions: Patagonian weather can change rapidly, so stay updated on weather conditions before heading out. High winds, rain, and sudden temperature drops are common, so make necessary adjustments to your plans and activities based on the forecast.


Travel Insurance: Consider obtaining travel insurance with adequate coverage to protect yourself in case of any unexpected events or emergencies during your visit to Perito Moreno Glacier.


By following these safety tips, you can ensure a safe and enjoyable experience while exploring the magnificent Perito Moreno Glacier.


Now let’s move on to some photography tips to help you capture the beauty of the glacier and its surroundings.


Photography Tips

Perito Moreno Glacier offers stunning natural landscapes and unique photo opportunities. To make the most of your photography experience, here are some tips to keep in mind:


Capture Different Perspectives: Experiment with different angles and compositions to capture the glacier’s grandeur. Include interesting foreground elements, such as rocks or vegetation, to add depth to your photos. Look for reflections in the water or unique ice formations to create visually striking images.


Use a Wide-Angle Lens: A wide-angle lens allows you to capture the vastness of the glacier and its surroundings in a single frame. It can help emphasize the scale and beauty of the landscape. Additionally, consider using a polarizing filter to reduce glare and enhance colors, especially when photographing the glacier’s icy surfaces.


Utilize Golden Hours: Take advantage of the soft, warm lighting during the golden hours – the hour after sunrise and the hour before sunset. The low angle of the sun’s rays can create a beautiful glow, enhancing the colors and textures of the glacier. Plan your visit accordingly to make the most of these magical lighting conditions.


Consider Long Exposures: Experiment with long exposures to capture the movement of the glacier. This technique can create a dreamy effect by smoothing out the water’s surface and emphasizing the contrast between the stationary ice and flowing water. Use a tripod to ensure sharp and steady shots.


Include People for Scale: To showcase the immense size of Perito Moreno Glacier, consider including people in your shots. Whether it’s fellow tourists or your travel companions, having people in the frame can provide a sense of scale and add an element of storytelling to your photographs.


Focus on Details: While capturing the glacier’s overall beauty is important, don’t forget to focus on the intricate details. Zoom in to capture the textures, patterns, and unique features of the ice formations. Look for interesting shapes, cracks, and reflections that can create visually captivating images.


Be Patient and Observant: Nature is ever-changing, so take your time to observe and wait for those fleeting moments of magic. Pay attention to the movement of the glacier, the wildlife that may appear, and the interaction between light and ice. Patience and anticipation can lead to truly remarkable photographs.


Respect the Environment: When capturing the beauty of Perito Moreno Glacier, remember to respect the environment and wildlife. Avoid trampling on delicate vegetation or disturbing animals for the sake of a shot. Preserve the glacier’s pristine surroundings for future generations to enjoy.


With these photography tips in mind, you will have the opportunity to capture breathtaking images of Perito Moreno Glacier and create lasting memories of your visit.


Finally, it’s time to wrap up our comprehensive guide to visiting Perito Moreno Glacier.



Perito Moreno Glacier is a natural marvel that captivates visitors with its sheer beauty and remarkable presence. This comprehensive guide has provided you with valuable information on how to make the most of your visit to this awe-inspiring destination in Central & South America.


From the moment you set foot on the designated trails or step aboard a boat, you’ll be surrounded by breathtaking landscapes, towering ice walls, and the ever-changing hues of the glacier. Whether you choose to explore the walkways, embark on a guided tour, trek on the ice, or take a boat tour, each experience offers a unique perspective and unrivaled opportunities for adventure and discovery.


Keep in mind the best time to visit according to your preferences, dress appropriately for the unpredictable Patagonian weather, and ensure you adhere to park regulations to protect this delicate ecosystem. Stay safe, respect the wildlife and flora, and be mindful of the stunning surroundings as you capture unforgettable moments with your camera.


Perito Moreno Glacier is not just a destination; it’s an immersive journey into the heart of nature’s raw power and beauty. It’s a place where you can witness the force of ice carving and the delicate balance of ecosystems. It’s an opportunity to connect with the natural world and gain a deeper appreciation for our planet’s wonders.


Whether you’re a nature lover, an adventure seeker, or simply in search of a serene and awe-inspiring destination, Perito Moreno Glacier offers an extraordinary experience. So pack your bags, lace up your hiking boots, and prepare to be amazed by the grandeur of Perito Moreno Glacier – a destination you’ll remember for a lifetime.