El Calafate and Perito Moreno Glacier
As you know from my hitchhiking article I didn’t plan to arrive before 27th of October to this beautiful city called El Calafate and to visit the Perito Moreno Glacier. But life is full of surprises and you never know what will happen. Therefore, we caught a truck and Rodrigo (our driver) took us until Rio Gallegos.
24 hours on a truck and your body feels like a zombie just awaken from a long hibernation.
From Rio Gallegos we waited 30 minutes and caught a ride to El Calafate with a lovely couple, who are just about to build their own house in Calafate.
We stayed only one day in Calafate (actually we planned to stay 2 nights but at the end everything changed). And visited at the same day one of the most beautiful national parks I have ever been to, with its infamous Glacier Perito Moreno.
Arriving in El Calafate
In this blog post I will share more pictures than stories.
Because the key player is of course the Glacier Perito Moreno and neither my friend Mauri nor I.
It started somehow like that:
We arrived happily in El Calafate and just realized that most hostels are fully booked and there are only expensive hostel options left and some luxury hotels, where we could spend two nights and starve for the rest of the month.
As you know, I am a very naive person who always believes in the goodness of people and humanity. That’s why I started knocking at strangers’ doors and narrating them half of my life stories.
Sometimes, I just don’t do Couchsurfing but approach my lousy accommodation situation with this kind of manners. I love meeting locals, in my opinion you haven’t seen a country if you didn’t get in touch with locals, their culture or at least try to understand their way of living and thinking.
Yeaaah, the first house, they misunderstood that I wanted to camp in the garden. And I don’t have any camping equipments with me. Moreover, I was too tired to sleep in the open air with the notorious wind of Patagonia.
Next, I tried another house. My friend Mauri, who is crazy enough to travel with me just looked aghast at me and asked himself if I lost my sanity. Due to his distance to me he became the observer, while I talked.
At the second house an old man stepped outside and my Spanish is not good enough yet to explain what I wanted. A baffled look at me and then he called his son Toni. I explained shortly to Toni my situation and in virtue of his prompt actions we had a stay for a night with him and his incredibly friendly family.
Call it luck or craziness. I call it life and if you never try, you never know.
Family Silva / Gomez
I couldn’t believe my luck to have stayed with this family in El Calafate.
The father, Antonio a businessman but with a big heart and always try to help other people.
The mother, Margarita a wonderful superwoman who takes care of the household and cares a lot for her family and us. Always smiling and spreading love endlessly.
Their daughter, Lorena a cheerful and beautiful girl who just spent 6 months in Germany but could speak it fluently plus German slangs. If my Spanish would be as good as her German after 6 months I would call myself a genius, but unfortunately I am not.
And Toni, a wonderful guy with a humongous heart. And with humongous I mean at least as big as the Glacier itself haha.
As soon as we settled down a little bit, they shared lunch with us and suddenly Toni says:
“If you want I can bring you to the Glacier Perito Moreno.”
Jaws droppings, Mauri and I couldn’t believe our pure luck of their hospitality.
The other option would be taking a bus at the terminal and our expenses for 4 days would be gone. A little bit shy we nodded and after lunch we started our tour to Los Glaciares National Park to see the Perito Moreno Glacier. Michael, Toni’s friend joined us.
Perito Moreno Glacier and Los Glaciares National Park
The legend says there is somewhere in the middle of Patagonia a glacier which will take your breath away right at the first glance you will look at it. Its name is Perito Moreno Glacier, a giant glacier you only have seen before in National Geographic or some B-movies of Hollywood.
A spectacular white giant where great masses of ice crash into the lakes like captured in a fantasy world. It reminds me so much of the wall in Game of Thrones, even though this glacier has “only” a 5 kilometres front which rises 60 meters above the water.
How old is this amazing Glacier you ask? So, archaeological evidence indicates that the first group of some wild hunters arrived at this part of the world more than 9000 years ago.
There are still traces left of their passage in rock paintings, for example around the Lago Roca area.
In the pictures you will see that the valleys have these glacial-melt waters of a turquoise and somehow milky colour. Fantasy woorld.
Let the pictures inspire you and lead you into another world.
To wake you up from this dream and get back to reality, the entrance fee for this park is 500 Argentine Pesos for foreigners (29$).
Yeah, sometimes the most beautiful things in life are not so cheap.
But it is more than worth it.
And there is one more thing which means a lot to me:
Since 1981 this National Park is a Unesco World Heritage Site, and Mother Nature has taken millions of years to evolve this wonder of the world. In accordance to remain this nature wonder, so that many travelers and people can have the same fascination like we had in the future, it’s better to adapt yourself to it.
Nature doesn’t need unnecessary garbage, so take it out with you once you are leaving.
Camp only where is it actually permitted and don’t set a fire. Since water is one of our major resources, please don’t pollute it. Does it help when I remind you again, how much the health of our planet depends on water?
Always asked myself, why it’s called planet “Earth” instead of Planet “Aqua” or Planet “h2o”.
Thank you for taking care of the environment.
Dinnertime with our family in Calafate
At the evening we said goodbye to Michael, unfortunately he couldn’t join us for dinner. We made raviolis for Toni and his family, since it is his favourite comida. Drinking wine and eating some dinner together ended up like a perfect day for all of us.
We were so happy about our experiences. But suddenly Antonio approached us and said they would have a free accommodation for us in El Chalten – our next destination.
Again jaws dropping. Actually, I can’t remember anymore how often I dropped my jaw on this day. I could compete with some cartoon figures.
But our luck shouldn’t last for too long as you could or will read in my hitchhiking article of Patagonia. The next day, we waited 5 hours in the freezing cold of the lovely, raw and windswept Patagonia.
Goodbye El Calafate!
On the next day I hugged Margarita a million times. Unfortunately, Toni had to leave very early in the morning to do a kayak exam. So we couldn’t say goodbye to him except via WhatsApp and Facebook. #millennials
El Calafate is a small town, but has literally everything you need for living. And some awesome ice bars, you shouldn’t miss. I like this city, but the climate of the region is cool temperate with no marked dry season.
So better pack your warm clothes.
Never forget you are in Patagonia and visiting the Perito Moreno Glacier, and not Hawaii, okay?
Have fun and send me some pictures via my contact page. Or write to me about your experiences at the Perito Moreno Glacier.
I am looking forward to hearing from you and have fun!