El Calafate

Trip Start Nov 21, 2007
Trip End Oct 01, 2008

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Flag of Argentina  ,
Sunday, January 13, 2008

We made it to our 4th country!!! (only for a few days though!) We are in another portion of Patagonia where the thing to see is a glacier called Perito Moreno.  It is known as the highlight of Parque National Los Glaciares.  By the way, just a small fact...the Argentine citizens pay $12 pesos to get into the park, or ~$4.  Others pay...are you ready...$40 pesos which is about $13.  Not that it breaks the bank, but man, really!

We took a large bus where supposedly we got the last seats.  However, when you see the number of buses in one of our pictures, you will wonder just how many people visit this place a day.  One statistic we read was that El Calafate has about 12,000 people and there are 2,500 tourist a day that ebb and flow every day.  It is a massive tourist spot.

We had a nice lunch of peanut butter and peach jelly (sorry Dad, no grape!) sandwich and ham and cheese for about 2 hours in front of the huge glacier.  It would drop pieces of ice which is called calving.  The sound was massive.  Some sounded like a gun shot, some were more like a bomb.  You would hear the noise and quickly scan the surface to try to see it fall.  Pretty entertaining lunch time!

Then on to the real fun...ICE TREKKING!  A boat took us closer to the glacier.  We then put on these devices called crampons (basically ice pics you tie on to your shoes with shoestrings) which helped us walk on the ice. They looked about like something my grandad might create, but they did the job and our group of 14 made it the whole time with no falls.  It was very rugged terrain.  Hard to describe really.  We roamed around the ice for about 1.5 hours.  At the end, they offered us treats and whiskey before our boat and bus ride home. 

We kept having a difficult time trying to grasp just how big the glacier was...we heard the height was 40 to 70 meters.  You will see some pics (as soon as we get a better connection) where there is a tour boat up near the ice, it looked sooo tiny!!  We hope this helps you understand the massive size of this glacier. 

The other impressive thing is the color of blue you see in the ice.  It is the purest blue and really gives a great example of "ice blue."  We took pictures trying to show this, but we are sure it will just look like a puddle of water!  Sometimes pics don't cut it!
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