Patagonia glacier tours can be booked directly from adventure operators in the town of El Calafate or the little mountain village of El Chalten. While many more experienced trekkers and the more intrepid travelers do this, the majority of visitors choose to book them further in advance to ensure that all arrangements are secure and that they have experienced professional guides to accompany them. While it is possible to trek on your own in Patagonia, this is not always advisable for less experienced trekkers and travelers. Additionally, most people will have a more rewarding experience in the company of someone who can explain the flora and fauna as well as the history and culture of the region. These kinds of glacier tours can be found in your own home country, usually as part of longer Argentina vacations or even combined with other countries. A popular combination for the latter is a trek along the Inca Trail in Peru to discover the magical Machu Picchu and other Inca ruins. They are usually operated with small groups of only six to 18 participants, which is better for the fragile ecosystems and allows a more in-depth experience.
Typical Patagonia glacier tours last for seven to ten days, normally beginning in the capital of Buenos Aires and including a guided tour of the city. After this visit, you will probably fly to El Calafate; a direct flight takes a little longer than three hours. You may spend the night in this lively town, or be driven directly to El Chalten. Since the drive to El Chalten takes a good four hours, you may want to choose to overnight in El Calafate. However, if you can do this leg of the trip in a single day, you’ll be able to begin you trekking the following morning. The first trek is apt to be to Laguna de los Tres, a moderately strenuous trek for about 13 miles round-trip, and taking a total of about eight hours. The trek to this glacial lake provides stunning views of Mount Fitz Roy. You’ll spend another night in El Chalten and then have another full-day trek, perhaps to Laguna Torre, another glacial lake. Another day’s excursion will probably travel into the Parc Nacional Los Glaciares to Perito Moreno, one of the most amazing of all the Patagonia glaciers. This massive glacier is three miles wide and towers 240 feet above Lago Argentino. Views of the glacier are done by boat, and you have the opportunity to witness (and hear) the thunderous cracking of ice as the glacier claves into the lake. Many of these kinds of glacier tours will offer a night or two at a home or estancia, providing unique opportunities for cultural interaction.