Comprehensive and private 3-day photo and nature journey visiting one of the most impressive glaciers in Patagonia, the world-famous Perito Moreno, and also Lago Argentino and Estancia Cristina. Great pre- or post-extension tour to perfectly combines with our Torres del Paine and Chilean Patagonia nature photo trips or expedition cruises to Tierra del Fuego.
3-day trip from El Calafate, Argentina. Available private transfers to Torres del Paine and Puerto Natales, Chile.
Perito Moreno Glacier, Los Glaciares National Park, Santa Cruz, Argentina © Claudio F. Vidal, Far South Expeditions
Los Glaciares National Park is a World Heritage Site situated near the picturesque and pleasant town of El Calafate, in southern Argentinean Patagonia. At the southern tip of South America, and as the Andes become progressively lower in altitude, they are almost entirely covered by a huge ice sheet known as the Southern Patagonian Ice-Field. This vast mass of ice, the third largest freshwater reserve in the planet, generates many outlet glaciers as well as massive lakes in this part of Patagonia. One of these lakes is Lago Argentino and into it flows one of the most famous glaciers in Patagonia, the grand Perito Moreno. It is by far the most imposing glacier of the whole park, and a feature of stunning beauty.
On this photographic and natural history journey we will explore the temperate forests, wind-swept steppes, emerald-colored lakes and the ancient glaciers of this incredible nature reserve and will discover its peculiar flora and fauna. Another highlight of the tour will be a full day visit to Estancia Cristina and its stunning mountain surroundings, plenty of marvelous photographic opportunities as well as sensational vistas of Uppsala Glacier, and other remote corners of this huge and pristine national park.
Itinerary in Brief (3 days, 2 nights)
Day 1 • Perito Moreno Glacier – Boat trip in Lago Argentino – Optional: Ice-hiking excursion – El Calafate (2 nights)
Day 2 • Los Glaciares National Park: Full day exploring Lago Argentino and Estancia Cristina
Day 3 • Morning visit to Laguna Nimez Nature Reserve – End of the trip
• Comprehensive and private tour to explore Perito Moreno Glacier and the stunning landscapes of Los Glaciares National Park.
• Day visit to Estancia Cristina, a spectacular and remote corner of Argentino Lake and the oustanding Upsala Glacier.
• Interesting array of native flora and dedicated excursions to temperate forest and wind-swept steppe ecosystems.
• Great birdwatching opportunities at Los Glaciares National Park and the surroundings of El Calafate.
This program is operated as a custom trip (flexible option which runs on a date of your choice giving you more privacy). This is available upon request for individuals or small private groups.
Detailed Itinerary and Activities
Note: We recommend you to arrive to El Calafate the day before the trip, in order to have an early start towards Perito Moreno Glacier and Los Glaciares National Park on Day 1. You can independently explore the town surroundings. Don’t forget to taste the berries of the Calafate bush (Berbers microphylla) after which the town was named! We highly recommend a visit to Glaciarum, a fantastic museum and interpretation center with comprehensive displays and exhibitions about the Southern Patagonian icefield and its many glaciers. This is a great source of information before you experience the many places we have considered on this itinerary.
Day 1 • Perito Moreno Glacier – Boat trip – Optional: Ice-hiking excursion
Today we will enjoy the breathtaking views of the most famous glacier in Patagonia, the majestic Perito Moreno. This massive ice formation has a length of nearly 20 miles and is one of the 48 outlet glaciers of the Southern Patagonian Icefield. We will be able to walk near the 3-mile wide terminus due to the impressive system of trails and platforms built by the park authorities. The angle of the glacier will be different at every step and we will constantly hear the loud cracking noises from its heavily-crevassed front. This cathedral of ice is surrounded by mixed forests of Lenga (Nothofagus pumilio) and Coihue (Nothofagus betuloides) growing so close to the ice that sometimes they seem to touch each other. Astonishing is to find the Canelo or Winter’s Bark tree (Drymis winteri) and other species from tropical origin like the orchids facing the glacial ice. We expect to see soaring Condors in the area as well as Magellanic Woodpeckers plus other characteristic birds of the Patagonian sub-Antarctic forests.
We will take a short boat trip to enjoy of another angle of the southern branch of this glacier and appreciate its many and colorful crevasses (known as seracs). For more adventurous souls, we can offer an unforgettable hiking trip. Specialized guides will gear you up with crampons and poles and accompany you in have a memorable and safe hike over the ice field. The colors, the shapes and the textures are mind-blowing as well as the scenic finale of the trip, while enjoying a glass of Scotch with millenary ice on it.
Overnight at Hotel Kau Yatun or similar, El Calafate. (Lunch)(Guide).
Perito Moreno Glacier, Los Glaciares National Park, Santa Cruz, Argentina © Far South Expeditions
Day 2 • Los Glaciares National Park: Full day exploring Lago Argentino and Estancia Cristina
Today we will explore the northernmost part of Argentino Lake. We will start our day with a transfer to Puerto Bandera in order to board our boat; then we will cruise, during the whole morning, the freezing waters of the lake, seeing impressive icebergs and eventually will have fascinating views of Upsala Glacier. This is one of the most fast-receding glaciers of the whole icefield.
Later, we will arrive to the scenic Estancia Cristina by noontime and will have most of the afternoon to explore the surroundings in 4×4 vehicles. We will enjoy short hikes (easy to moderate) to some viewpoints where we can see part of the Southern Patagonian Icefield and the imposing Andes. An incredible panoramic view difficult to replicate anywhere in Patagonia! The facilities of the Estancia are very inviting and we will enjoy of a delicious typical lunch of the ranch.
Overnight at Hotel Kau Yatun or similar, El Calafate. (Breakfast, Lunch) (Guide).
Anemone multifida, Fam. Ranunculaceae, Patagonia © Far South Expeditions
Day 3 • Morning visit to Laguna Nimes Nature Reserve – End of the trip
This morning we will explore the tiny but productive Laguna Nimez Nature Reserve. We will be amazed by the large variety of species we will be spotting on this urban wetland including swans, geese and many waterfowl including Red Shoveler, Andean Duck and others. Acrobatic Cinereous Harriers are usually seen flying over the reedbeds in search of prey or attending their nests. From one of the hides/blinds we hope to have great views of colorful Chilean flamingos, a usual visitor to the shore of the Argentino Lake. The trip ends after this excursion. (Breakfast)(Guide)
Los Glaciares National Park can be combined with one or more of the following optional extensions:
• El Chalten & Fitz Roy Mount (3 days) nature and photographic journey to the iconic peaks of Patagonia,
• Torres del Paine Explorer (2-5 days) join one of our private photo safaris and natural history trips to Patagonia's premier mountain and wildlife destination,
• Patagonia Photo Safari (8 days, 7 nights) landscape and wildlife photo trip to mythic Patagonia & Tierra del Fuego, led by resident naturalist guides and photographers,
• Cruise to the Cape Horn (4-5 days), follow Darwin's footsteps across the most remote corners of Patagonia on the wake of the 'Beagle'.
Rates & Conditions
Custom Private Departures: (You choose the date)
Available from September through May.
Departures from El Calafate, Argentina. Ask for private and public transfers to Torres del Paine or Puerto Natales, in Chile.
|Perito Moreno Glacier & Los Glaciares NP
||3 days, 2 nights
|No. of guests
|Price per person (USD)
|Trips are guaranteed to depart with a minimum of 2 participants.
What the trip includes/excludes
The above prices are per person in US Dollars (US$), based on double occupancy. Rate for 3 participants is based sharing a triple room. All payments are in US Dollars.
Single supplement will be added if single accommodations are requested.
The trip price includes: All accommodations, meals and guide services as stated in the itinerary, private ground transportation during the tour, boat trip to Perito Moreno (southern branch) and Estancia Cristina, and park entrance fees.
The trip price excludes: Domestic flights, transfers from/to El Calafate airport, tipping, travel insurance, excess baggage charges, drinks, à la carte dishes, laundry, telephone calls and anything else of a purely personal nature.
To book this tour, please complete our online registration form. We will process your booking form and will send you (within 24 hours) a note with space confirmation and a deposit invoice with payment instructions. The deposit amount is US$ 500 per person.
Full payment of the tour fee is due 90 days prior to tour departure.
NOTE: Inquires received on Saturdays, Sundays and Holidays will be replied during the following working day.
Notice of cancellation can only be accepted IN WRITING from the person who signed the booking form and takes effect on the day such noticed is received by us.
Refunds are made according to the following schedule:
If cancellation is made 120 days or more before departure date, the deposit less US$ 200 is refundable.
If cancellation is made between 120 and 60 days before departure, the deposit is not refundable, but any payments covering the balance of the fee will be refunded.
If cancellation is made fewer than 60 days before departure date, no refund is available.
This policy and fee schedule also applies to pre-trip and post trip extensions, as well as any transfers from one tour to another. We strongly recommend the purchase of trip cancellation insurance to protect yourself.
Check out our photo gallery with images from recent trips to Los Glaciares National Park
Los Glaciares National Park
Los Glaciares National Park is one of the most important protected areas in Patagonia. It covers approximately 1.8 million acres and is located between latitudes 49º15’ and 50º50’S. The landscape significance of the region, together with a diverse mosaic of ecosystems, encouraged the Argentinean government to declare it a National Park in 1937. In 1981, the UNESCO strengthened its international community awareness, including it in the “Natural World Heritage Sites.”
It is one of the most attractive natural parks of Argentina. The name “Los Glaciares” comes from its principal attraction, the extraordinary frozen tongues of several glaciers that open into profound valleys descending from the huge 5,000 sq. miles South Patagonian Ice Field, calving in great emerald-colored lakes.
The first explorers arrived to this remote region by the end of the 19th century. The initial reports reveal the impact and surprise caused by the dramatic landscapes of glaciers and forests.
Los Glaciares Nacional Park invites us to a rejuvenating experience, encountering a nature that transports us to the origin of the Patagonian landscapes. We begin to understand that everything is in constant change, and in transformation we find equilibrium.
The most diverse natural sceneries co-habit among the principal features in the park. In the northern part of the park lies the imposing massif of El Chaltén or “Smoking mountain” in the tongue of the local indigenous Aonikenk, who saw the clouds as smoke. This massif is a granite formation with vertical walls, originated in the Late Tertiary and recently sculpted by the devastating erosive forces of the ice.
In the central and southern part of the park, extraordinary ice masses invade the landscape. They are temperate glaciers because they develop at surprisingly low latitude and close to sea level. Astonishingly, vegetation colonize free places left by glaciers, almost leaning on the glacier tongues, offering a diverse and colorful contrast through the seasons.
Weather shows extreme temperature conditions depending on the season and the altitude, while rain creates a sharp humidity gradient set by the constant westerly winds: from over 10,000 mm per year to less than 200 mm in just 60 miles of distance. These conditions are mirrored in vegetation, from evergreen forest to spiny shrubs in the steppe.Wildlife inhabits forests and wetlands. Birds are the most numerous, with almost one hundred species. Among mammals, the Puma – the great feline of the region– and the Huemul — a scarcely seen deer — are notable for their size. Among the most curious and easily seen are foxes, skunks and the charismatic armadillos. On top of the ice an amazing inhabitant waits for us: the Andiperla willinki, an insect capable of living in this most hostile of environments.