It occurred to me while I was writing these posts from our Patagonia adventure, that I didn’t provide a clear map of where we were – it’s kind of confusing and I honestly didn’t know until we were there! So below is a rough google maps image of where we were; we flew in and out of Buenos Aires, took a domestic flight to El Calafate, then bussed around from there. As you can see, there was a lot of bus time involved.
On to day 5 – we had arrived the night before in El Calafate and expected a tourist-y sort of day where we’d visit the Perito Moreno Glacier, El Calafate’s main attraction.
We stayed in an okay Hosteria Los Hielos – not bad, but not the same hospitality or spirit of Kaulem. Breakfast was fairly standard – corn flakes & fruit plus some freshly baked bread. I also tried some mate tea (pronounced ma-tay); I’m more of a green tea fan myself.
We were starting to notice the Nestle brand was everywhere in South America and were later told they have a bit of a monopoly (I can’t verify this) – but I can verify corn flakes were EVERYWHERE. And most coffees, teas, sugars, etc. were Nestle brand.
But on to the tour: our small bus picked us up sometime around 9 and drove us an hour or so west to the Los Glaciares National Park. I was in the back of the bus with a grandpa and college-age grandson and they were very fun to talk to in my very poor Spanish and the grandson’s pretty good English. I love deciphering and attempting to speak other languages now – I just wish I had the focus to learn more.
We soon arrived at the park and had a quick stop at a lookout on the way.
Once we got to the park, we had the choice of taking the boat or not for $12 USD (the exchange rate was extremely favorable for us if we paid in USD), so we went for it since the weather was good. The ride out was a little on the chilly side – bring your windbreaker & hat!
As we got closer, we could see why this was a main attraction! Pictures will by no means do this justice:
I was in awe of such a wonder of nature. I’d definitely recommend the boat ride, it allows you to look up at the glacier and get an idea of how massive it is.
And remember, this is literally the tip of the iceberg – the glacier extends down quite deep. The colors and formations just amazed me. The Perito Moreno isn’t the largest glacier in Patagonia, but arguably the most beautiful. Tourist tip: everyone will crowd on the top deck and push/shove to take pictures the first ten minutes. Then they get cold and bored and there is plenty of time for more amazing shots, just be patient.
After the boat trip, you can go walk the stairways around the park and see the glacier from a different view. There are four lookout points or so. The glacier extends as far as the eye can see!
Yep, it still could turn cold quickly!
We found a nice lookout point with few people where David was determined to see ice break off the glacier – we saw a few little breaks, but nothing major.
And then it was lunchtime. Bakery-made empanadas and an apple while overlooking the glacier – no complaints!
There’s also a café at the top of the stairways, but it’s a little pricey with more limited selection, so I was glad we brought food, but they do have hot drinks if you get cold! Or you could share some afternoon Yerba Mate with the Argentinians – it seems everyone had their Yerba Mate thermos and passed it around each afternoon.
The evening was spent back in El Calafate with a stop at the bar before eating at a Parilla (grill) known for the local lamb meat. We found this friend at the bar where we enjoyed some Berlina brews – Patagonia is full of friendly dogs! As for the lamb, David said it was a little dry; I opted for a veggie soup instead.
And in other exciting news, this was the day David’s baggage arrived – only FIVE days after the original flight. David was definitely a good sport despite having to wear the same clothes many days in a row and decided to enjoy the vacation despite the upset – another reason I love him!
Next we head to Chile!