A perfect day at Perito Moreno glacier
18th of February 2012. Everyone in the house of Pablo and Cristian, our Couchsurfing friends in El Calafate, woke up before 7 am and left. Me and Lyra, a friend of mine traveling with me for 2 weeks, stayed in bed until 7.30 am. So tired! Another night with almost no sleep. I so wanted to stay in bed longer but we could not. It was our last day in El Calafate and Perito Moreno glacier was a must!
After breakfast at house, and a cup of green tea as usual, we walked to the road outside of El Calafate town to hitchhike to Perito Moreno.
I remember how everyone was saying that it was impossible to hitchhike there and that we had to take the tourist bus going there. But as the bus was 120 pesos round trip, we decided to try hitchhiking to save some money. And it is usually also fun, so why not.
After 30 minutes of trying to persuade the cars to take us to Perito Moreno, I started to feel desperate. It was my longest hitchhiking so far. But then a huge car with 7 drunk guys stopped. But I refused to go with them. They left and in 5 minutes a truck pulled over with 4 guys from Tierra del Fuego. So we hopped on. First, they also looked like weirdos and there was no space, so I couldn’t move my legs at all. But the guy on my left had the nicest forearms ever so I was more than satisfied. The guys were from the backstage of the concerts happening in EL Calafate the days we were there and they invited us to go to the backstage at night.
The guys were so nice that they pretended me and Lyra were also Argentinian so we paid just 40 pesos entrance fee instead of 100 pesos for foreigners. We stopped for a bit at Mirador de los Suspiros to take some photos. Then the guys took us all the way up to the last parking lot where we split. Me and Lyra took a free minivan to the restaurant and walk down a couple of balconies to the closest balcony.
I was just in front of Perito Moreno glacier when I wrote this. It was sunny and I couldn’t stop looking at the glacier. Actually, I was staring at it with my mouth open.
The only way to describe it is saying the glacier was UNREAL, SURREAL. White, blueish, greyish, and even black at some places. It was the second glacier on the lake I have ever seen from so close, after the one in Iceland in 2009. But Perito Moreno was huge and looked like drawn, like a photo. I could stare at it with admiration for ever, if only I didn’t have to go to toilet all the way up to the restaurant! 🙂
After, we came back down again and took a place to lie down to get some tan. Perito Moreno seems so perfect, I loved the spiky peaks of it. From time to time I could hear how its parts broke, but always somewhere inside. I’d love to see a rupture like the one in 2004, I was thinking to myself. Just without people dying. Just a big rupture of the glacier.
There were nice cute birds and mice below my feet trying to get all the leftovers from the tourists’ lunch. A couple of broken icebergs floating on the Lake Argentino reminded me of the uncountable number of icebergs in Iceland. But it was freezing when I was there. Here, at Perito Moreno glacier, I was getting tan on my face and arms.
I was thinking of the 4 Belgian guys we met last night at the concert again, the same ones from Torres del Paine national park. They said they were going to Perito Moreno for the sunset today. I woke up from the little siesta, opened my eyes and saw them coming to the balcony. Unbelievable, the world is so small! Or was it the power of my thoughts that brought them there?
We laughed at our meeting again and they went to the balcony more down. That time, I was really stalking them and took some photos of them. Dieter was making nice funny faces as usual. And Arne with Bram pretending to be serious. I had a good laugh when I saw that it was 4 of them there but still every single one of them took a photo of himself with both camera and mobile phone without giving them to one out of the other 3 guys to take the photos. Can’t help it, but I love them all 😀 It doesn’t happen very often that you meet a group of people and you like all the persons. Most of the time there is at least someone who you don’t get along with that well. But with these 4 guys it was different.
Once they left to take more photos of Perito Moreno, I took the second part of siesta letting the sunbeams to make it nicer. All of a sudden, I heard someone shouting ”Alex”. It was Suzanne, a French girl I met before in Ushuaia. Another big coincidence. But it was not everything. After a while, still at the same balcony, a couple from Jerusalem we had the lunch with in Torres del Paine, came. I was in shock! During 1 hour, at one place, we just met by accident 7 people I met a couple of times before traveling around Argentina. It felt nice to know people 🙂
People started leaving Perito Moreno after 4 pm. We were scared of not catching a car back to El Calafate, so we went to toilet and planned to hitchhike. But I wanted to meet the Belgian guys again. My sixth sense was telling me they were going to be in the restaurant. I told Lyra what I thought so we passed by and they were really at the restaurant having a beer. They never invited us but who cares haha. We sat there and chat for hours waiting for the sunset. It was 4 of them but I still knew they were gonna take us back to the town, even being 6 of us. I just felt it. So I enjoyed the conversation and all the jokes with them and didn’t care any more about how to get to the town.
Then we headed off down to the glacier again to take some photos of the sunset above it. Unfortunately, the sky was not pinky as we wanted, but the clouds had such a beautiful weird shape that we all loved it.
And we got a chance to see some big ruptures so I was happy. It seemed like the glacier was breaking apart more before sunset than during the day. It moves 2 m to the front every day so we just had to see some ruptures. There were huge waves at the lake after each rupture. And all with a lot of noise, like thunders.
It was really cold and windy again and we were hungry, at least I was starving (nothing new). It got worse once Hendrik, the one with the sweetest blue eyes, mentioned snowflakes and freezer and pizza in the freezer. It was such a funny conversation about all these things. But made me more hungry!
Then all 6 of us sit into the car and headed off back to El Calafate. In one day, both ”hitchhiking” was painful for my long legs. But it was for free! And the music in the car was so relaxing while watching the last minutes of romantic sunset above Lago Argentino and Perito Moreno in the horizon. And the company I had could not be better. So who cared that for an hour I couldn’t feel my legs!
When we finally got back to El Calafate, it was around 11 pm. The guys dropped us at the concert so we could meet up the couple from Jerusalem there. I was exhausted and hungry, so found some pizza. Was just in a pizza mood after all the chat about the pizza in the freezer at the glacier. Nir and Shira bought some tasty chocolate as a dessert after pizza. But I didn’t really like the band singing, so after an hour we went to Pablo’s house to sleep. I was upset a bit not seeing the Belgians again and especially not saying goodbye to them. But thankfully, they decided to go to El Bolson the following day, the same like us, which I didn’t find out until the next day 🙂
And so I fell asleep at 1.30 am. Exhausted from the perfect day at Perito Moreno Glacier.
- no smoking, no fire, no pets allowed
- if you can go by car, go in the afternoon after 3 pm which is when there are less people so you can enjoy it better
- there are many companies offering bus trips from El Calafate to Perito Moreno, but all of them cost 120 pesos round trip and have the same timetables – one is in the morning and comes back at 4 pm, the other at 1 pm to 7.30 pm
- you should book the bus trip to Perito Moreno a day before
- there are free vans operating around Perito Moreno, once you pay the entrance. The last one is at 6 pm
- if you decide to go hitchhiking, go early morning from El Calafate as it is when most of the people go so there is a bigger chance someone will take you
- entrance fee for Argentinian is 40 pesos, 100 pesos for foreigners
- there are no toilets close to Perito Moreno, the closest ones are in the restaurant