Wednesday, February 8, 2012

El Calafate, Argentina 4-5 Feb 2012

After 4 borders crossing with 4 extra stamps in my almost full passport, 1 ferry ride and 2 changed of bus finally I arrived in El Calafate after 20 hours. I went straight to the hostel and sleep.

El Calafate derived from a name of a blue berry plant commonly found in Patagonia. There is a saying if you eat the blue berry, you will definitely return to the city. :-) Everyone comes here for one reason, to see the enormous Perito Moreno Glacier. Perito Moreno Glacier is 5 kms wide, with an average height of 74m above the surface of the water of Lake Argentino and a total ice depth of 170m. Due to its size and accessibility, Perito Moreno is one of the most visited place in southern Patagonia.

Since we are 3, we decided to rent a car to visit the area around the Glacier National Park. We started off to visit Lago Roca, 50km from El Calafate. The landscape was mainly low land bushes, mountain and lake. We passed by some ranches and sheep farms. The road was rocky and dusty. From the view point of Lago Roca, we could see Perito Moreno Glacier forcing its way out in between the mountain. We had a quick lunch while admiring the breathtaking view of violet blue Roca Lake.

I took over to drive to Perito Moreno Glacier, it was my first time driving on the other site of the road, and shifting gear with my right hand. :-) It wasn’t long till I got used to it. Thanks to the gals who have trusted me and gave me their support. It was another 50km drive before we arrived to the first view point. The entrance to the park is AP100, it is expensive but nothing is cheap in Patagonia.

We arrived to the final view point at 3pm. We stood there with our jaw opened! We were speechless! We saw the biggest piece of floating ice just like a river flowing towards us. Nothing can be more impressive!  As we walked towards the closest viewing platform, we felt so tiny against this giant wall of ice. 

Perito Moreno Glacier

The glacier is advancing 2m a day, periodically the glacier will form a natural dam in the Lake Argentino, separating the lake to 2 part, causing the water on the other side to rise above the main level of the lake. The enormous pressure produced by the increasing height of the water will break the ice barrier causing a spectacular rupture event. This is not regular as it recurs naturally at any frequency at once a year to less than once a decade. While we were there, we witnessed several times the melting and collapsing of ice wall which produced a huge thunder sound and then follows with a big splash and waves in the lake. We spent 4 hours starring at these big pieces of floating ice. Words could not express what we felt, photos could not justify the enormous size of it. You will have to come see it for yourself! :-)

Once again Patagonia has blown me away! 

Hostel Posada Patagonica Nakel– AP90 for a 6 beds dorm with breakfast and wifi

Taxi from Terminal to Hostel – AP21 shared by 3
24hr car rental – AP342 shared by 3
Gasoline – AP62 shared by 3
Bus from El Calafate to El Chalten– AP90

Perito Moreno Glacier Park – AP100

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