Another beautiful day and we are off early for a long day to El Calafate and Perito Moreno glacier. Around 150 km on gravel through endless roadworks and the remainder on sealed roads with the occasional pothole or subsidence to keep us on our toes.
Perito Moreno is rated as Argentina’s #1 tourist attraction with most people staying in El Calafate before driving or bussing the final 90 km into the National Park. After the desolation of the highway El Calafate was a bit of a shock – hoardes of people and traffic jams in the main street which was lined with restaurants and tourist shops. On the way in we stopped for fuel and continued straight on to the glacier to catch the best early afternoon light.
The road in winds around the bank of the lake fed by the glacier and from around 10 km away we were rewarded with great views. 60 metres high at its face and 4 km wide, it is fed by the 13,000 ha Patagonian icefield and advances 2 m each day – almost impossible to imagine. The extensive walkways and viewing platforms allow visitors to see the glacier from every angle and watch as chunks regularly fall off with a loud crack. Very spectacular!!
Finding our hotel was supposed to be easy. We had an address and GPS directions – how could this be difficult? Ignoring the GPS direction to do an illegal left turn we found a steep track a little further along leading to a new four lane highway leading towards the lake. So far so good. The next direction was along a partly barricaded concrete road which ended with a 20 cm drop – not so good so we reversed and found a dirt road which wound around for another few kms before arriving at the very new Design Suites hotel stuck in the middle of now-where but with great views across the lake. Unfortunately our rooms were all on the wrong side so we got great views of a car park in a room like a sauna – the temperature control was turned all the way to cold but the architects had decided a hotel in Patagonia wouldn’t need aircon. And the dining room wasn’t working. Fortunately they offered a shuttle bus back into town so we could find somewhere to eat. The recommendation was to try La Cocina and enjoyed one of the best meals of the trip – thanks Ed!