» Argentina, Patagonie – El Calafate, Perito Moreno Glacier
Argentina, Patagonie – El Calafate, Perito Moreno Glacier
The town was named after Calafate fruit, sweet berries used to make marmelades. Legend has it that he who tastes the fruit will never fullfill his taste. What makes El Calafate a popular destnation today, is Perito Moreno, a melting glacier. Los Glaciares national park covers an area of 500 thousand hectares and features 47 glaciers.
Patagonian ice plains are the second largest in the world right behind Antarctica. It has been also known as "continental ice of Patagonia". It covers an area of 2 600 km2. Apart from 47 main glaciers, 13 of which flow into the Atlantic there are 200 more glaciers of lesser size. This southern gem has one more feature to it. Unlike other formations which appear as 2500 meters above sea level, these are only at 1500 meters going down to mere 200 meters which makes them incredibly accessible.
Luise Piedro Bueno organized the first expedition into the area in 1867. The expedition reached as far as the mouth of the Santa Cruz rive in the total of 33 day and 16 day on their way back. They reached Lago Roca. The group was excited since they thought they reached the way to the Pacific. Moreover, a lake was discovered and named Lago Argentino by Francisco Moreno in 1877. Him and Carlos Moyano made another expedition along the Santa Cruz river. They started on Isla Pavon island.
Perito Moreno glacier was given its name as late as in 1899. It is situated 85 kilometers from the town. To reach El Calafate you need to travel by bus from El Chalténu. Unfortunately the price is far from favorable as it costs about 600 Argentinian pesos. The price pushed us to hitchhiking again despite it takes longer. Yet we are lucky and we manage to get to El Calafate. There are many hotels and even a camp. We don't plan to stay for long since we are interested to getting to Perito Moreno. After we are done with it we will move furhter down south.
If you don't happen to travel by car, you have to pay a one-day trip to te glacier at some travel agency. Well, you actually pay only for a bus which takes you there and back at designated time. Admission is not included. Moving around the park is so well designed that you only walk along wooden walkways. You can sit down and watch the glacier from all different angles. If the weather is favorable and warm, you may hear pieces of ice breaking off. Even though these might seem like small pieces from the distance, the glacier is 60 meters over the lake. So actually these are huge pieces larger than a bus. The glacier moves constantly and its moving creates the break offs. However, new ice is created constantly so it doesn't get smaller. It is up to 5 kilometers long. Amazing experience.
Perito Moreno glacier fulfilled our expectations and we don't feel the need to see other glaciers. Therefore we hitchhike to Río Gallegos, the southernmost continental town on the Atlantic shores. Also, it is a distribution center in Tierra del Fuego. Tourist industry flourished mostly thanks to penguin colonies and the lighthouse on Cape Virgenes. Río Gallegos is only a place where we stay over night. Then we move by bus to Río Grande. The reason behind choosing bus is that we need to travel by ferry and cross Chilean territory. Hence, hitchhiking is out of question.
On our way we can observe changing landscape of Tierra del Fuego, guanaco and nandu lamas jumping around. But we tell you more next time.
GPS: (ledovec) 50°29'52.6"S 73°08'16.3"W
Text and photos: Tomáš Novák
There are many interesting places around Buenos Aires. To conclude our journey in Argentina, we visited Lujan and Tigre. Then we took a ferry to Uruguay.
Port Puerto Madryn is situated on a cliff making an edge of a plateau. From there you may enjoy the vista over the endless Atlantic ocean. Whale observation is the main attraction over there. However, keep in mind you can do this activity only from June till December. Local cliffs make observing whales so much easier.
Trelew is situated in the lower part of the Chubut river valley. The town was founded during a colonization wave in the 1884. Then the Welsh settlers were searching for a way to a port so they could bring their agricultural production. Construction of a railroad connecting the valley and Puerto Madryn was allowed. Trelew was founded as a railway terminal.
We leave Tierra del Fuego for north. In a bus we cross the Rio Gallegos and then we hitchhike again. Now we would ride along Ruta 3 along the coastline up to Buenos Aires.
The name Tierra del Fuego possibly came to be when some explorers spotted the coast of unknown land with fires scattered around and smoke clouds from the fires of the indigenous people. The fire must have lookd like the island floats in haze above the sea.
We walk around the city center on our following days in Buenos Aires. Apart from historic houses or churches we see Teatro Colon, considered one of the best opera houses in the world for its amazing acoustics. Opened in 1908, the theater hosted some of the most famous dirigents, singers, and dancers of the 20th century. Consider Igor Stravinski or Luciano Pavarotti. In 2010, the city finished theater's renovation and opened it to the public.
Argentinian capital of Buenos Aires is a cosmopolitan city, home to 13 million porteños, as the inhabitants of Buenos Aires are often dubbed. Also, it is one of the most fabulous capitals in Latin Americe. Historic and modern architectur meet here and add to wonderful atmosphere of the city with vibrant night life.
As we arrive in El Chaltén, steppes seem to be replaced by forests. Mountain rise high up into the sky. But the wind stays the same. Tourists love El Chaltén for beautiful nature. Glaciers, mountains, lagoons, waterfalls, and forests. Great temptation to take a walk to. Moreover, you can drink right from a river or a lake.
The further south we get, the worse the weather is. Constant wind, clouds crossing the sky, and cold. There are almost no cars to hitch. But we try our luck still.
Patagonia is an exceptional place. You won't experience anything like it anywhere else in the world. Only in South America. The Andes create a tall tall wall in the west, in the east there is the blue waters of the Atlantic ocean, it is the land of pines and lakes, and there is huge plain in its central part. And in the south there is the Tierra del Fuego and the town of Ushuaia. It is true end of the world.
Bariloche is am Argentinian town situated in Rio Negro amidst thousands year old forests, snow capped mountains, and crystal clear lakes. The town is situated within Nahuel Huapi national park (which neighbors the Andes). Local nature gives plenty of oportunity to do many adventurous activities throughout the year. In 2012, Bariloche was declared the capital of adventure tourism and the national town of chocolate in 2015.
The town is situated on the foothill of the Andes. It is a beautiful oasis made by man thanks to huge irrigation system supported by the rivers of Mendoza and Tunuyan. The town is the gateway into the Pacific Ocean. Climate is very pleasant, wind and rain are seldom here.
We leave Mendoza for the townso f La Rioja and San Miguel de Tucumán. We are about to hitchhike again. Eventually, a truck driver recommends us to visit the town of Vallecito known mostly for the place called Difunta Correa.
a is the second largest city in the country. Founded by Jeronimo Luis de Cabrere in 1573, the city was named by Cordoba, Spain. Cordoba in Argentina is the capital of the Cordoba province and also was Argentinian capital two times in its history.
Upon several days in the large city of Cordoba we move on. Mendoza is our next stop. Once we find out that a cheap suburb train rides to the small town of Cosquin we take it. Moreover, the train rides in beautiful terrain. Sometimes even Argentinians who travel there with children are quite amazed by the beautiful vistas. They often get off the train at train stations just to buy breakfast. Before our stop, we get off the train by Lago San Roque lake. Opened in 1890,one of the largest submarine sinkholes in the world is the greatest attraction around. Only looking at it one gets scared. We hitchhike our ride from here to Villa Carlos Paz town.
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