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August 30th, 2016

Perito Moreno Glacier: What, where, when, why, how?

We share all you need to know about the Perito Moreno Glacier.

Where is it?


The Perito Moreno Glacier is located in Argentine Patagonia in the southwest of the country. Specifically it is within the Los Glaciares National Park, 78km from El Calafate.

What is it?


It’s a giant 250km2 ice formation that is over 30km in length, 5km wide and has an average height of 74m. Its total depth beneath the Argentino Lake in is a whopping 170m, making it the world’s third largest reserve of water. The Perito Moreno Glacier is also one of only three Patagonian glaciers which still continue to grow.

Perito Moreno Glacier

Why does it exist?


In very simple terms, glaciers form over many years (often centuries) when an accumulation of snow exceeds the rate at which it melts. They slowly move and shift in form due to the pressures induced by their own weight, creating crevasses (deep cracks) and seracs (ice columns).

Where does its name come from?


The Perito Moreno Glacier is named after the Argentine explorer and academic Francisco Moreno who pioneered a study of the region in the late 1800s. Perito is Spanish for ‘expert’ or ‘specialist’ and Moreno was often affectionately referred to as Perito Moreno by his peers. He is credited with the incorporation of large parts of Patagonia into Argentina and also discovered Lago San Martin and Mount Fitz Roy.

How can I see it?


The Perito Moreno Glacier is very easily accessible and can be included as part of any trip you make with us to southern Patagonia. You can visit the glacier and get up close to its giant ice wall on a raised walking circuit and viewing platform of the southern flank and east facing edge. Or, for an even more exhilarating experience you can trek across the ice field itself. There is both a half-day ‘mini trek’ and full-day ‘Big Ice’ trek option where, equipped with crampons, you will be led across the surface by an expert mountain guide. An alternative option is to cruise on the lake’s water beneath the towering wall of ice which takes you within touching distance of the ice wall. There is also a visitor centre at the glacier giving you further insight into this natural behemoth.


Last updated: 6 Jun 2017


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