The photos I took in Patagonia, Argentina, although far from being complex and filtered, are direct reflections of my short, yet unforgettable experiences that will remain indelible in my memory for as long as I live! For someone like me who’s currently living and working in the cosmopolitan emirate of Dubai, and who was born and raised literally on the other side of the globe – in a tropical country where snow, much more glacier in mammoth proportion are non-existent, seeing the Perito Moreno Glacier up close is something that doesn’t happen on a daily basis! That entire day was truly special, unparalleled to say the least.
Taking a short 3 hour road trip from the charming and inviting town of El Calafate, which served as my home base in Patagonia, to the quiet town of El Chalten, simply to take a glimpse of how mighty, Mount Fitz Roy is, provided me priceless memories and stories that I could share over and over again.
I let my photographs below convey how incredibly beautiful God’s creations in South America are – at a region that’s almost at the end of the world. I also provided some relevant details about my trip at the end of this photo essay. Enjoy!
18 September 2017, My 41st Birthday. PERITO MORENO GLACIER PARK.
My first glimpse to that enormous Perito Moreno Glacier before the park’s entrance.
Contract your eye muscles and you will see a ferry bringing tourists nearer the glacier.
The spot where the map of the park was briefed to us, located right outside the restaurant.
Behold. The Perito Moreno Glacier, viewed from yellow or central circuit.
The northern wall of Perito Moreno.
A condor in flight from the left side of the glacier.
Hello, Bullies and Haters! How’s life treating you? JUST KIDDING!!!
I loved how the wooden and steel circuits blended so well with nature! And can you see that blue painted dot on the steel rod on the photo above? It indicates you’re in the blue circuit. How clever these signs were made discreet in order not to go against the natural beauty of the place. Do you agree? Of course!
I experienced 5 to 6 cracking of the glacier, like what I captured on the photo above. It sounded like thunder, that caught everyone’s senses each time it cracked.
As near as it gets.
“Honey, hold my hand, the place’s so romantic!” LOL!
While I enjoyed the entire place with my camera and tripod!
Another condor took its flight.
That ferry trip that I didn’t take. I had fun at the park, nonetheless!
The Terminus in Lago Argentino. It spans length of 30km, with a width of 5km and thickness of 560ft.
Like when I saw Iguazu Falls from Brasil, I cried and uttered my prayer of thanks upon the site of this wonder. There are things – big and small, that make me feel God never leaves and abandons me. His creations that I see on my trips, remind me to be more faithful, despite and in spite of.
The north wall of the glacier viewed from the blue circuit.
How tiny people are in front of nature.
I still couldn’t believe that my wanderlust brought me here, and HE agreed!
I took the yellow (central) circuit and blue circuit going down to exit (shown above), and sat on benches in between.
One of my last glimpses at Perito Moreno Glacier before my exit.
I saw a father with his child on a stroller coming from the blue circuit, as they went on the ferry ride. Oh good Lord – all the best on the stairs!
I entered the park through yellow circuit and exited through the blue. Yey!
19 September 2017. Day trip to El Chalten from El Calafate.
The next day, I was picked up from Hotel La Cantera in El Calafate and took the 3-hour-road trip with other random tourists to El Chalten. Our first stop? Lago Argentino!
Second stop over was at La Leona Hotel for bladder breaks that cost 10 ARS (0.50 USD) and coffee or tea breaks for others.
Take beautiful road trips anywhere. You owe it to yourself!
Snowcapped mountain range, Lago Argentino with chunks of glacial ice afloat.
At this sight, I wiped my tears again and stared blankly before I clicked my cam.
And then, the sight of Mount Fitz Roy. It was breathtakingly gorgeous!
The colourful and quiet town of El Chalten.
Take a look at the town of El Chalten, with glorious view of Mount Fitz Roy on the left.
All vistors to El Chalten particularly the hikers were brought for short Orientation and briefing at the Tourist Information Center of El Chalten.
Following short briefing, with advice from the driver that he will pick us up at 5PM at the bus station in town, I went on my hike.
Contract your eye muscles again and take a look at the tiny-looking-fellow hikers on the photo above.
See the hikers?
Felt a little sense of fulfilment hiking to this vantage point!
The view of Mount Fitz Roy from Mirador Los Condores, the first viewing point.
Never have I seen such amazing peaks! It remains as one of the most difficult to climb mountains in the world as per seasoned hikers and mountain climbers.
I was happy I went and pursued my decisions!
As per briefing, it will require 8 hours for one way hike, total of 16 hours return to reach Laguna de los Tres, one of the best and most frequently visited viewing spots of hikers, to view Mount Fitz Roy. With only a day tour and only few hours to spend, I settled with the first viewing place – Mirador Los Condores that I reached after almost an hour of hiking from the Tourism Center. Hey, not bad for my very first hike ever!
I ate my lunch of packed sandwich, chocolate candies and drank distilled water, enjoyed cool and crisp and fresh mountain breeze, and savoured the moment literally!
Can’t get enough of this view!
One last glimpse before my descent (Wow, as if I hiked so high! LOL).
At almost 3PM, I was walking back to the Tourism Office.
Then, I saw El Calafate yellow flowers and berries in El Chalten!
I walked towards the town of El Chalten via their small bridge across Rio Fitz Roy.
I wish this town stays this way. Sometimes, it’s good that a place doesn’t have fast-food joints yet.
The marker that greets everyone who visits the town of El Chalten.
I felt frozen at this father-and-daughter sight as I miss traveling with my own son. I look forward to the day that I can travel the world again with Gabby!
For the meantime, I enjoy fun times with my travel buddy, @gelothebear. Follow him on IG!
I managed to go around the small town of El Chalten, visited a souvenir shop where I bought some postcards, and sat inside that coffee shop adjacent to the bus station, where I ate pizza and sipped coke and coffee.
The bus driver picked us at 5PM, and we all took that road trip again back to El Calafate. The view of sunset from the highway was priceless as usual!
PERITO MORENO GLACIER PARK
- Where is Perito Moreno Glacier Park? It’s a part of Los Glaciares National Park, located in south west province of Santa Cruz, Argentina, about 80km or less than 2 hour-bus-trip or charted ride from El Calafate; and bordering with Chile.
- Why travel to Perito Moreno Glacier Park? The entire Los Glaciares National Park was inscribed as one of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites in 1981. It’s one of the most stunning in my opinion (comparable to Iguazu Falls in magnificence). Unlike other glaciers in the world, Perito Moreno is advancing, and still growing! It’s remarkably the most accessible glacier in the world! Many bus operators and travel agencies that are associated with hotels and hostels, ply from El Calafate to the park. These vans or buses can pick you directly from where you stay.
- How much does it cost to reach and enter Perito Moreno Glacier Park? From my trip last September 18, 2017, return bus tickets that I purchased through my hotel that came with a multi-lingual tourist guide that provided information about Patagonia, cost 900 ARS (44 USD), while admission ticket to the park cost 500 ARS (29 USD).
- What are the must-know details for the trip to Perito Moreno Glacier Park? After the short briefing just before the entrance of the park by our bus guide, we were all provided enough time from almost 12noon to 3:30PM to spend our leisurely time inside the park. Highly recommended to bring your own packed lunch – a sandwich and bottled water would do, as there’s only one restaurant outside the park. Tourists can also enjoy walking on the glacier and ending the guided trek with a glass of whiskey with glacier ice. Another way of enjoying it is by riding a ferry that goes near the glacier. There are different colour-coded circuits or wooden and steel walking path and stairs namely, blue, yellow and red that all offer different vantage points. We were advised that red circuit will bring you the closest or nearest to the glacier, however it requires about 400 steps down and of course, it will take 400 steps to go up to return as well. I took the central circuit which is yellow, then I turned right and walked my way out through the blue circuit that offered sweeping views of the northern wall of the glacier. It took me 45 minutes with slow paced walking, and stopping at every viewing decks, to walk through entire blue circuit (only, excluding yellow circuit) to the exit gates. Before 3:30PM, I found myself back at the parking area, where I had ample time for bladder break, before hopping again at our bus, for return trip to my hotel in El Calafate.
- What’s the best time to travel to Southern Patagonia in Argentina? September is the start of peak season, and continues to Spring time in October and November. December through February are considered Summer months which also draw tourists and travelers to visit.
- Was it too cold? My visit last September 2017 wasn’t that cold, I mean it didn’t top my experience in Lapland, Finland at negative 28 degree Celsius. In Patagonia last September, weather was only 3 to 11 degrees.
MOUNT FITZ ROY in EL CHALTEN, ARGENTINA
- Where is Mount Fitz Roy? Bordering Argentina and Chile, it’s located near the town of El Chalten, about 3 hour drive from the town of El Calafate.
- Why travel to El Chalten? It’s a quiet and quaint town that’s also inviting particularly for hikers. They say it’s the hiking capital of South America where you can reach the best viewing places of Mount Fitz Roy and its range of snowcapped mountains.
- How much does it cost to reach El Chalten? Tourists can purchase bus tickets to El Chalten from El Calafate – I did it through my hotel and paid 1000 ARS (56 USD) for return tickets.
- How long is the day trip to El Chalten from El Calafate? The huge and comfortable air-conditioned van picked me up from my hotel – Hotel La Cantera at 9AM, road trip lasted 3 hours with 15-20 minute photo-op stops at 2 viewing points; and the same picked me up from the bus station in El Chalten at 5PM of the same day.
- What are the must-know details for the trip to El Chalten? El Chalten has a few accommodation (budget hostels included) for travelers who prefer to stay overnight or for a longer period. Wifi-access are good to intermittent. All visitors are being brought by all buses to the Tourism Office for briefing of must-do and must-not-do while hiking. Free maps of the town and hiking path may be obtained from the Tourism Office. Staff are multi-lingual, choose the group where you belong during the Orientation – Spanish speaking or English speaking. El Chalten has restaurants, a kiddie park, bus station, cafes, souvenir shops; basically, it’s an entire community in a very peaceful and beautiful part of Argentina.
How To Reach Patagonia in Argentina?
- As El Calafate serves the gateway to Argentinian Patagonia, I took a 3-hour-flight from Buenos Aires to El Calafate through LAN Airlines. I purchased my return tickets on sale via FlyFar website (which I found through Momondo app), for only 196 CAD (158 USD) instead of the regular return airfare of 490 USD. It was a steal! A really great deal that fell on my lap! Right timing validated my travel plans! Cannot be thankful enough!
*****While I was a sponsored guests at the 3 hotels in Argentina (Patios de San Telmo and Home Hotel in Buenos Aires, and Hotel La Cantera in El Calafate – all direct links are on my blog’s sidebar) and in Palacio Barolo Tours, all words and photographs were never influenced, and all opinions are my own.
Although I am not sponsored by Fuji Film, all my photos that appear on this photo essay were taken using Fuji XA2, with 18-55mm and 50-230mm lens.
Have you been to Buenos Aires and in Patagonia? How was your experience?