It was time to get back to Argentina and this part of the trip was what tormented me weeks before we started our journey. We had nothing booked and we were not sure about our transfer from Puerto Natales in Chile to El Calafate. It is a 4/5 hour drive and going by taxi was surely not an option. A couple of days later we had a flight booked from El Calafate to Puerto Iguazú in Northern Argentina so one way or another we had to get to our destination. Information on the internet is not so easy to find and being low season buses were not operating regularly. We had tried to contact our hotels, however they only told us that buses were not operating on the day we wanted the transfer.
We ended up booking a glacier tour to Perito Moreno from Puerto Natales and told the driver that we wanted to be left at El Calafate, as this was the easiest option although the trip was not cheap. It costed us around €80 per person, but at this point we wanted peace of mind and settled for this tour. We were picked up very early in the morning, at around 7 a.m. and we were at the border with Argentina by the time the sun was rising. We were very lucky as this day was crystal clear and we got to see the sun rising on the Andes mountains and Torres del Paine National Park, which we had visited the day before. The road was long and all we could see for hundreds of kilometres was vast plains and no sign of human intrusion. These views persisted for good part of the trip and we were mesmerised by the vastness of these lands. We practically drove in the middle of nowhere for about 5 hours!
At around 1 p.m. we got to the national park of the Perito Moreno glacier and we were very anxious to see this giant from close. This glacier, which is bigger than my tiny Malta, is the easiest to access although it is not the biggest one in the area. It covers an area of 250 km² and is the third biggest source of fresh water in the world. Another curious fact about this glacier is that it is still advancing, when the rest of the glaciers are retreating. When we got in front of this monster all we could think about is how small we are. We were not even able to see the far end of the glacier! The different shades of blue of the glacier are absolutely astonishing and complimenting this view are the sounds similar to thunders of the ice crushing against the mountains. From time to time pieces of ice were falling off the glacier and this spectacle was absolutely amazing.
Thanks to this glacier, the nearby El Calafate became one of the richest areas in the entire country and thus expensive. The standard of living here is very high and the salaries are the highest in Argentina. Hotels, restaurants and excursions are expensive and although we would have loved to try the glacier trekking we had to give it a skip as it costed over €250 per person. Maybe we will try that on another glacier somewhere else in the world. However I doubt that we will ever see a spectacle of nature on the same level as Perito Moreno.