Stepping stone to Los Glacieres National Park

Trip Start Nov 07, 2012
Trip End Nov 20, 2012

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Flag of Chile  , Magallanes y Antártica Chilena,
Friday, November 16, 2012

We arrived in El Calafate in the Argentine Patagonia in the late afternoon.  The town was quite crowded with locals and with tourists visiting the nearby Glaciares National Park.  It is a cute down basically built to accommodate all the visitors to the region.  There is lots of shopping in the town and it has lots of items which would not typically be found in Buenos Aires as well as things that are.  There are tree lined streets with screeching Buffed necked ibises flying above and nesting in the trees.  The city was named for the indigenous calafate bush which grows in the are and which produces berries that are used for jams, ice creams, and sauces.  Pretty tasty!

Are purpose for the stay here was to visit Los Glaciares National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site.  Created in 1937, Los Glaciares is the second-largest national park in Argentina comprising more than 1,700 square miles and nearly 50 large glaciers.  The glaciers are fed by a the largest continental ice sheet after Antarctica and which begins in the Andes and occupies well over a third of the park's total area. 

The glaciers here are unique.  Unlike other glaciers, which typically form at about 8,200 feet above sea level, those at Los Glaciares form lower, around 5,000 feet which offers visitors a unique access physically and visually.  The highlight of the park is the Perito Moreno Glacier which towers 200 feet above Lake Argentino.  The glacier and the icefield are easily observed from  dozens of platform viewing areas connected by over 700 steps.  The day we were there was partly cloudy so as the clouds moved into and out of the sun, the colors on the glacier would change dramatically from scowling greys to bright blues.  We were able to both hear and see some calving action as well.  This was definitely one of the highlights of our trip as we have never seen anything quite so massive or quite so beautiful.

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