The Complete Guide to Visiting Argentina’s Perito Moreno Glacier

The Complete Guide to Visiting Argentina’s Perito Moreno Glacier 2024

Welcome to the edge of the extraordinary, where the thunderous echoes of ice calving from the Perito Moreno Glacier fill the air with excitement and wonder. This massive glacier, nestled in the heart of Argentina’s Los Glaciares National Park, isn’t just a sight to behold—it’s a dynamic natural phenomenon that you can experience up close. With its towering ice walls standing over 240 feet high and spanning more than 3 miles wide, Perito Moreno is not only one of Argentina’s most awe-inspiring natural attractions but also one of the most accessible and visitor-friendly glaciers in the world.

From the thrilling sound of massive ice blocks crashing into the lake to the serene views of snow-capped peaks, Perito Moreno offers an unforgettable adventure for all types of travelers. Whether you’re looking to capture the perfect glacier photo, embark on a thrilling ice trek, or simply soak in the majestic views from a safe distance, this guide will help you plan the perfect visit to one of Patagonia’s most iconic landmarks.

Perito moreno glacier argentina

Where is the Perito Moreno Glacier?

The Perito Moreno Glacier is located in the southwest part of Santa Cruz Province in Argentine Patagonia. Specifically, it forms a part of Los Glaciares National Park, which is famous for its large ice cap field—the third largest reserve of fresh water in the world. The glacier is approximately 80 kilometers from the small, picturesque town of El Calafate, which serves as the gateway for most tourists visiting the glacier.

Geographically, Perito Moreno is one of the 48 glaciers fed by the Southern Patagonian Ice Field that spans the Andes between Chile and Argentina. Unique in its accessibility, it is one of the very few glaciers in the world that is advancing while many others are receding. This peculiarity not only makes it a vital study center for glaciologists but also adds to its allure as a tourist destination, promising a different experience with each visit.

Positioned in a region known for its rugged, remote beauty, the glacier overlooks the turquoise waters of Lago Argentino and is framed by lush forests and mountain peaks, creating a stunning visual contrast that is a photographer’s and nature lover’s dream.

Argentina Los Glaciares National Park

How to Get to Los Glaciares National Park

Reaching Los Glaciares National Park, the home of the iconic Perito Moreno Glacier, is an adventure in itself, filled with stunning landscapes and the promise of encountering one of the world’s most spectacular natural wonders. Here’s how you can make your way to this incredible destination:

From El Calafate

The nearest urban center to Los Glaciares National Park is El Calafate, a small town that serves as a hub for tourists planning to visit the glacier. El Calafate is well-connected by air with frequent flights from Buenos Aires and other major cities in Argentina. Once you arrive in El Calafate, the gateway to Perito Moreno is just about 80 kilometers away.

By Bus

Traveling by bus from El Calafate to Perito Moreno Glacier is the most popular and economical option. The journey takes approximately 1.5 to 2 hours. Buses are available from the main bus terminal in El Calafate and operate on a schedule designed to accommodate tourists planning to spend a day at the glacier. It’s advisable to purchase your bus ticket in advance during the high season to ensure availability. The cost is typically around 600 ARS (about $30 USD), but prices can fluctuate based on the season.

By Car or Taxi

For those preferring a more personal or flexible travel option, renting a car or taking a taxi allows you to travel at your own pace and enjoy the scenic vistas along the route. The drive to Los Glaciares National Park is straightforward, following the well-marked and maintained roads leading out of El Calafate.


Adventurous travelers might consider hitchhiking to Perito Moreno Glacier. This is a common practice in Patagonia and can be a viable option, especially during the tourist season when many visitors are heading towards the park. However, it’s important to start early in the day and be prepared for varying wait times.

visit perito moreno glacier

The Entrance Fee for Los Glaciares National Park

Planning a visit to the Perito Moreno Glacier within Los Glaciares National Park involves understanding the updated entrance fee structure, which not only supports the park’s conservation efforts but also offers a unique promotional discount for return visits.

Entrance Fee

As of October 11, 2023, the general entrance fee for Los Glaciares National Park is 12000 ARS, which is approximately 12 USD. This fee allows access to the well-maintained trails and numerous viewing platforms that offer panoramic views of the majestic Perito Moreno Glacier.

Promotional Pass

This promotional pass offers a 50% discount on the entrance fee for a second visit within 72 hours of the first entry. This is particularly beneficial for visitors who wish to experience the park across multiple days to fully appreciate the changing views and activities at different times or weather conditions.

Payment Methods

In a significant update to the payment methods, visitors now have more options at their disposal. Entrance fees can be paid using Visa/Mastercard credit cards, Electron debit cards, or in cash with Argentine pesos. These payment facilities are available at the Río Mitre – Moreno Glacier corridor and the Punta Bandera port, enhancing the convenience for tourists.

Tour Options for Visiting El Perito Moreno

Exploring the Perito Moreno Glacier can be an exhilarating experience, with various tour options available that cater to different interests and levels of adventure. Whether you prefer to admire the glacier from a distance or engage in a more hands-on exploration, there’s something for everyone.

Boat Tours

Boat tours offer a unique perspective of Perito Moreno, allowing you to get up close to the towering ice walls. These tours typically depart from the Bajo de las Sombras port, a short drive from the main viewing platforms. As you glide across the Rico Arm of Lake Argentino, you’ll approach the massive glacier, witnessing the sheer scale and beauty of its icy façade.

You’ll travel within a safe distance of the glacier to witness its grandeur and possibly see ice calving events, where huge chunks of ice break off into the water.

boat perito moreno glacier

Trekking on the Ice

For those looking for an adventure, ice trekking tours allow you to walk on the surface of Perito Moreno itself. Equipped with crampons and guided by experienced professionals, you’ll traverse the rugged glacier surface, exploring its crevasses and seracs up close.

Mini Trek

The Mini Trek is a popular option for those who want a taste of ice trekking without committing to a full day. This shorter version still offers the thrill of walking on the glacier but requires less physical exertion and takes less time.

Each of these tour options provides a different way to experience and appreciate the incredible natural beauty of the Perito Moreno Glacier.

Powered by GetYourGuide

Tour vs Going Independently

When planning your visit to El Perito Moreno Glacier, one of the key decisions you’ll face is whether to join an organized tour or explore independently. Each option has its own set of advantages and considerations, depending on your preferences, budget, and comfort with navigating foreign environments.

Going with a Tour

Joining an organized tour can enhance your experience by providing expert guidance and additional insights into the glacier’s geology, history, and ecology. Tours often include convenient transportation from El Calafate and might also offer extras like meals or additional activities.

Advantages of Tours:

  • Convenience: Everything is arranged for you, including transportation and park entry.
  • Safety: Guides are trained to lead groups safely on the glacier, especially important during ice treks.
  • Educational: Learn more about the glacier from knowledgeable guides.
  • Social: Meet and interact with fellow travelers.


  • Cost: Tours can be more expensive than going independently.
  • Less Flexibility: Tours have fixed schedules and limited free time.

Going Independently

For those who prefer flexibility and adventure at their own pace, visiting Perito Moreno independently can be a rewarding choice. You have the freedom to spend as much time as you like at each viewpoint and can tailor the day to your interests.

Advantages of Going Independently:

  • Flexibility: Decide your own schedule and spend as much time as you desire at different viewpoints.
  • Cost-Effective: Save money by arranging your own transport and avoiding the mark-up on tour packages.
  • Personalized Experience: Choose the activities that interest you most without being bound by a group itinerary.


  • Logistics: You need to manage your own transportation and entry fees.
  • No Guided Information: Unless you research in advance, you might miss out on understanding the full context of what you’re seeing.
  • Safety: When doing activities like ice trekking, ensure you’re adequately prepared or opt for a mini-tour for safety.

Combining Both Approaches

Many visitors find a middle ground by booking specific parts of their trip, like the ice trekking, through tour operators, while exploring the viewing platforms and other areas independently. This approach allows for both the safety and knowledge of guided tours where it counts, and the freedom to explore independently where less risk is involved.

Ultimately, the choice between touring and going independently should align with your personal travel style, budget, and the kind of experience you wish to have at Perito Moreno Glacier. Each option offers a unique way to experience this stunning natural wonder.

perito moreno glacier boat

When to Visit El Perito Moreno

Choosing the right time to visit El Perito Moreno Glacier can greatly influence your experience, as weather conditions and seasonal variations play a significant role in accessibility and the types of activities available. Here’s a breakdown of what to expect during different times of the year:

Summer (December to February)

Summer is the peak tourist season in Patagonia, and for good reason. During these months, you can expect the warmest weather, which makes it more comfortable to spend extended periods outdoors. The temperatures are conducive to longer treks and boat tours, and you’ll find that all services, including tours and public transport, are operating at full capacity.


  • Best Weather: Warm temperatures and longer daylight hours.
  • Full Services: All tours and transport options are available.
  • Vibrant Atmosphere: The park is lively, with more visitors and group activities.


  • Crowds: This is the busiest time of year, so expect more tourists and potential wait times at attractions.
  • Higher Prices: Accommodation and tours may charge peak season rates.

Autumn (March to May)

Autumn brings a magical change to the landscape as the foliage starts to change color, adding a picturesque backdrop to the already stunning views of the glacier. The weather is cooler than in summer, but still comfortable enough for most activities.


  • Fewer Crowds: The drop in tourist numbers can lead to a more tranquil experience.
  • Beautiful Scenery: Enhanced natural beauty with autumn colors.
  • Mild Weather: Still suitable for all activities, with fewer fluctuations in temperature.


  • Cooler Temperatures: Prepare for chillier conditions, especially in the mornings and evenings.

Winter (June to August)

Winter in Patagonia is harsh, and while the Perito Moreno Glacier is accessible year-round, the cold weather can make some activities less comfortable. However, the winter landscape offers a unique icy beauty that can be quite spectacular.


  • Dramatic Scenery: Snow-covered peaks and crisp ice provide stunning photographic opportunities.
  • Lowest Crowds: Fewer visitors result in a more personal experience.


  • Limited Access: Some tours and transport options may be reduced or unavailable.
  • Harsh Weather: Be prepared for very cold temperatures and the possibility of sudden weather changes.

Spring (September to November)

Spring is another less crowded season, and as the ice starts to thaw, the sounds of the glacier calving are more pronounced. The reawakening of flora and fauna also adds vibrancy to the park.


  • Active Glacier: More frequent calving events due to the warming temperatures.
  • Renewed Nature: Wildlife and plants are more visible and active.
  • Comfortable Weather: Less wind and milder temperatures than in winter.


  • Variable Weather: Conditions can be unpredictable; dressing in layers is advisable.

Each season offers a unique way to experience Perito Moreno, whether you prefer the bustling energy of summer or the serene beauty of winter. Consider what type of experience you’re looking for and plan accordingly to get the most out of your visit.

Visiting El Calafate

El Calafate serves as the gateway to the stunning Perito Moreno Glacier and the broader wonders of Los Glaciares National Park. This charming town is not only a hub for travelers seeking to explore the glacier but also offers a variety of attractions and amenities that can enrich your Patagonian adventure.

Why Visit El Calafate?

El Calafate is named after the calafate bush, native to Patagonia, and it’s said that eating its berries ensures your return to the region. The town itself offers a cozy, welcoming atmosphere, with a range of accommodation options from hostels to luxury hotels.

  • Cultural Attractions: The town features museums like the Glaciarium, a glaciology center that provides extensive insights into ice and glaciers, and the Centro de Interpretación Histórica, which offers a deep dive into the area’s history and culture.
  • Local Cuisine: El Calafate is also famous for its lamb, often prepared as asado (barbecue), and the calafate berry, which is used in various local dishes and jams.
  • Shopping and Handicrafts: You can explore shops selling handicrafts made by local artisans, including woolens and traditional Patagonian goods.
Things to do in argentina

Activities Around El Calafate

Beyond its role as the starting point for glacier tours, El Calafate offers activities that cater to a wide range of interests:

  • Lake Argentino: Boat trips on Lake Argentino offer stunning views of icebergs and remote glaciers not easily accessible by land.
  • Bird Watching: The nearby Laguna Nimez Reserve is a haven for bird enthusiasts, featuring species like the Chilean flamingo and the black-necked swan.
  • Hiking and Trekking: Numerous trails cater to all fitness levels, offering everything from leisurely walks to challenging treks.
  • Ice Skating and Ice Trekking: In winter, the opportunity to ice skate on frozen parts of Lake Argentino or go ice trekking on nearby glaciers presents itself as a unique experience.

El Calafate is not just a stopover; it’s a destination in its own right, offering a blend of natural beauty, cultural insights, and gastronomic delights that promise a memorable stay.

About the author
Things to do in argentina
Museo de Arte Tigre: Buenos Aires' Premier Art Destination

Museo de Arte Tigre: Buenos Aires’ Premier Art Destination

Visit Museo de Arte Tigre in Buenos Aires to experience a blend of history and art. Enjoy guided tours and explore Argentine masterpieces from renowned artists.
Alvear Icon Hotel & Residences Luxury and Modernity in Puerto Madero

Alvear Icon Hotel & Residences: Luxury and Modernity in Puerto Madero

Enjoy a luxurious stay and culinary delights at Alvear Icon Hotel in Buenos Aires. Discover elegant suites, stunning views, and gourmet dining experiences.
Obelisco buenos aires

Obelisco in Buenos Aires

Obelisco in Buenos Aires, a symbol of the city's rich history and culture. Learn about its construction, significance, and must-see nearby attractions. Plan your visit today to explore this central landmark in the heart of Buenos Aires.
cerro Uritorco

Hiking Guide to Uritorco

Plan your hike up Uritorco, Learn about the trail, key rest points, nearby activities, and safety tips for an unforgettable adventure.
Best Beaches in Argentina Must-Visit Coastal Gems

Best Beaches in Argentina: Must-Visit Coastal Gems

Looking for Argentina's top beach destinations? Discover the country's most stunning beaches in Argentina, from Mar de las Pampas to Cariló, in our comprehensive 2024 guide.
Top Hotels and Inns in San Rafael, Mendoza

Top Hotels and Inns in San Rafael, Mendoza

Find your ideal lodging in San Rafael, Mendoza. From luxurious suites to charming inns, explore the top-rated accommodations with excellent amenities and prime locations.
Puerto Madryn

Best time to visit and see whales in Puerto Madryn 2024

Discover the best times and ways to witness the majestic southern right whales in Puerto Madryn. This guide provides essential tips and top locations for unforgettable whale watching experiences from both the coast and by boat.
Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires

A Guided Tour of the Legendary Teatro Colón in Buenos Aires

Go behind the velvet curtains at Buenos Aires' Teatro Colón, an opulent opera house that has hosted legendary performers for over a century. Guided tours reveal architectural marvels and fascinating history.
San Telmo buenos aires

Your Ultimate List of Things to Do in San Telmo: Experience Buenos Aires Like a Local

Explore the historic neighborhood of San Telmo in Buenos Aires. Discover top attractions like Plaza Dorrego, Mercado de San Telmo, exquisite local churches, and lush green parks. Indulge in authentic Argentine cuisine at renowned parrillas. Experience the rich culture and charm of San Telmo, a must-visit destination for any traveler.
Ultimate Guide to Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tours in Buenos Aires

Ultimate Guide to Hop-On Hop-Off Bus Tours in Buenos Aires 2024

Discover the best of Buenos Aires with our comprehensive guide to hop-on hop-off bus tours. Explore major attractions and hidden gems at your own pace with flexible tour options. Ideal for first-time visitors and returning travelers alike.

Leave a Comment