Covering more than two thousand square miles, more than 350 stunning Patagonia glaciers are located in famous Los Glaciers National Park. The protected area is a major tourist attraction situated in Santa Cruz province, attracting thousands of travelers annually. This World Heritage site includes only two areas accessible to tourists including Perito Merino Glacier and the Fitz Roy Mountain area close to the town of Chalten. The two most famous glaciers in Patagonia are Upsala and Perito Merino, best seen by taking one of the region’s exciting cruises.
Traveling to Upsala Glacier is like traveling to another land. It is South America’s biggest and most beautiful glacier and the most arresting of all geographical points in the country. Near El Calafate in Argentinian Patagonia, astounding Upsala Glacier is situated in the northern section of Lago Argentina in Los Glaciers National Park. At six miles in width and more than thirty-one miles long, Upsala is the most visited of all glaciers in Patagonia aside from the Spegazzini and Perito Merino Glacier. The undeniable beauty of crystalized blue ice combined with the overwhelming natural beauty of the area’s mountainous backdrop creates a vision unlike any other. It is one of the top things to do in the country.
Reaching the Patagonia glaciers requires transportation via boating, hiking, 4x4 driving, or even horseback riding. The trekking required to reach the glaciers is suitable for many levels making it an ideal activity for the entire family. Heading off in the early morning is advised to enjoy the complete breadth of this stunning area. The Upsala Glacier is only accessible via boat cruises leaving from El Calafate to Puerto Bandera. The cruise takes visitors through Lago Argentino to the Upsala wing of the lake, docking right at the base of the imposing facade of Upsala. Tours are easily arranged in Ushuaia, Bariloche, El Calafate, and Puerto Madryn through Patagonia resorts, area travel agents, Patagonia hotels, and other tour operators.
A trip to Perito Merino Glacier is one of the most unforgettable excursions and wonderful experiences in all of Patagonia. Tours to Perito Merino Glacier begin by fringing the Bahia Redonda on Lake Argentino cruising past beautiful Isla Solitaire. Along the route, rich wildlife throughout this pristine environment presents itself with ostriches, foxes and other species seen throughout the valley. Additional points of interest on route to the glaciers in Patagonia include traditional farmhouses, Rio Centinela, Cerro Comision o De Los Elefantes and Cerro Frias where many guanacos, members of the camelid family, roam free. Upon passing the Rio Mitre Los in Glaciers National Park, the Paired Moreno Glacier comes magnificently into view at Curva de Los Suspiros.
Visiting the Patagonia glaciers is something not to be missed when traveling in the breathtaking region. There is also the option of hiking around the glaciers in Patagonia which is something to consider as well. Though a wondrous sight by cruise, hiking amid the impressive ice formations is amazing. Throughout the national park, summer time temperatures reach a high of about seventy degrees Fahrenheit while winter weather sees temperatures not much higher than around thirty degrees Fahrenheit. It’s best to dress in layers in the winter months when temperatures can be biting. Also note that cruises to the Patagonia glaciers can last more than ten hours. Lunch isn’t provided so it\'s best to bring your own unless you want to splurge on an expensive bite to eat in one of the few restaurants on route. Visiting the Patagonia glaciers is something not to be missed when traveling in the breathtaking region. The explosive sound heard when the glaciers crack is one that will forever resonate in your mind, and if you’re lucky enough, you might witness the monumental fall of a colossal ice block falling swiftly into the icy water below.