Guided excursion to Perito Moreno Glacier. It’s an early morning departure from El Calafate to Los Glaciares National Park, a 90min drive to the walkways and viewing platform overlooking the glacier.
The thundering shards of falling ice are a breath-taking spectacle as you pass at a safe distance along the walkway in front of the Canal de los Tempanos, which separates Brazo Rico from the main part of the lake. The glacier is a staggering 5km wide and stands 60m above the surface of the lake. Its ice mass is fed by the southern continental ice field from the west, and from other smaller glaciers in the vicinity.
In the afternoon, board the Safari Nautico or Moreno Fiesta for an hour-long cruise on the lake beneath the glacier, with a commentary. Alternatively, you can just walk and contemplate, away from the other visitors.
There's also a guided excursion to Estancia Cristina. This full-day trip explores the iceberg-strewn fingers of Lago Argentino. There are about 15 bumpy minutes as the comfortable motor cruiser crosses the southern arm of the lake. Soon, the first icebergs come into view as the boat continues towards the Upsala Channel and the vast Upsala Glacier. It isn't possible to get close to the glacier because of the floating ice in its vanguard but the surrounding scenery is wonderful.
Continue into the Cristina Channel, and dock at Estancia Cristina. Explore one of Patagonia's most remote historic estancias, established in 1914 by English pioneer Joseph Masters and named after his daughter. Some of the infrastructure was damaged by fire in 2009, but a guided tour will take you to its surviving buildings and museum. Have lunch before going on a 10km drive by all-terrain vehicle into the mountains to a refuge. Here, walk for half an hour to a viewpoint, offering - weather permitting - a fabulous panorama of the eastern side of the Upsala glacier, the Southern Patagonian ice cap, Lago Guillermo and - of course - the Andes. Drive back to the estancia and in the late afternoon, sail back towards Punta Bandera and your hotel.