We took a seven hour bus ride across the border from Puerto Natales, Chile to Calafate, Argentina so that we could fly direct to Buenos Aires from there.
Despite a minor snag at the border where I was almost sent hitch-hiking back across the dead zone into Chile by an ornery bloodless Argentine customs official, we made it.
We spent two nights in Calafate so that we’d have a full day to see the Perito Moreno Glacier. Sadly, it is one of only three in Patagonia that is not retracting.
While Calafate itself leaves a little to be desired — expensive, touristy, all about the glacier, and doesn’t seem to have much culture — the glacier tour was actually quite amazing.
The Perito Moreno Glacier averages about 240 ft in height and spans nearly 100 spare miles. It’s like a massive ice sheet with a looming flat face as you approach it by boat. Given that it’s the middle of summer, we witnessed a bunch of “calving,” where huge chunks of ice crash into the lake below with a thunderous roar. Pretty cool to witness.
We also did the mini trek on the glacier, crampons and all, which was impressive though touristy.
We stayed in a small hostel called Ave de los Lagos, which had some cleanliness issues but the owners (Fabi and Daniel) were super nice. It was really more of a homestay. They had two little boys: Tomas (8), who asked me to play soccer with him every 10 minutes (which I did, happily); and Queremias (3), an adorable little terror who occasionally sprinted around the hostel naked holding nothing but a bucket, and who can already ride a two-wheeler at age three.
We also witnessed the most amazing sunset I’ve ever seen — like a vibrant orange tornado holding perfectly still on the horizon. Don’t take my word for it, judge for yourself:
An interesting two days in Calafate with a few very memorable highlights.