Home » Countries » Americas » Perito Moreno Glacier Tour, Patagonia

Perito Moreno Glacier Tour, Patagonia

The Perito Moreno glacier, located around 80 kilometres away from the Argentine Patagonian town of El Calafate and inside Los Glaciares National Park, is one of the area’s most famous attractions. The Perito Moreno is unusual in that it is one of the few glaciers in the world that is still advancing. Most are shrinking as a result of climate change. There are plenty of options for taking a Perito Moreno glacier tour.

When I was studying geography many years ago, human geography always seemed to be less interesting (counting different types of shop in the central business district of a small town) compared with physical geography and meteorology, where we learned about about oxbow lakes, karst scenery, lapse rates and glaciation. These geographical features seemed to be exotic and exciting and, well, very different from anything to be found in suburban Surrey. To be able to see a glacier up close – and actually walk on it – was an ambition fulfilled.

Getting to the Perito Moreno Glacier

Although it’s possible to hire a car in the area, and we did this for our visit to Torres del Paine in Chilean Patagonia, we were generally travelling on buses through the region, which was a convenient and relaxing way to travel. So there are loads of tour operators in El Calafate who can arrange a trip to Perito Moreno. It’s about an hour and a half journey to the glacier from the town and most operators can arrange a pickup from your accommodation.

You enter Los Glaciares park and will have to pay the entrance fee which usually isn’t included in the price of the tour. The park website has details of ticket prices and you can also pre-book them online.

There are choices for exploring the glacier – you can walk along an excellent viewing trail but it is also possible to don crampons and undertake a trek on the glacier. There’s the Big Ice for hardy young souls, where you’ll spend about 8 hours on the ice and traverse a wide section of glacier, or the Little Ice which is a taster for people who are less intrepid. Or just old – when we visited there was a rule that you were not allowed do the Big Trek if you were over 45 years old. This rule has now changed but it is important that you are physically fit and don’t have any mobility issues.

If doing the glacier walk, you’ll be taken to a small ferry and will then cross the lake. It takes about half an hour and the view of the glacier is wonderful. There’s a full briefing available in English and Spanish and you will be accompanied on the glacier by several experienced guides.

Perito Moreno Glacier tour

Little Ice Trek On The Perito Moreno Glacier

Even if you’re too old for the Big Ice, the Little Trek is still a marvellous experience. You need to wear a long-sleeved top and bring gloves because the ice is surprisingly sharp (it’s not like fluffy snow) so you don’t want to hurt your arms or hands if you fall over. Sturdy shoes are essential.

You’ll be loaned some crampons, spikes that strap to your shoes (hence the need for good footwear) which will enable you to walk on the ice without slipping over. They’ll be fitted by people who know how to fit crampons and this will ensure your safety on the ice.

crampons  Perito Moreno Glacier

Crampons take a little bit of getting used to, especially when walking downwards on the ice. When walking straight or uphill, just walk firmly, keeping your legs slightly apart, about the same width as your shoulders, making sure the spikes embed themselves into the ice. When walking downhill, keep your feet facing forward, again with legs slightly apart and walk steadily. Opening your feet out penguin style or trying to walk downhill sideways, like a crab, doesn’t work.

Once on the glacier there are some amazing sights.

Perito Moreno Glacier tour

A Treat At The End Of The Trek

At the end of the trek there is a table, and on that table is a bottle.

Yes, the end of the trek offers a warming whiskey on the rocks, the rocks, of course, being large chunks of glacial ice.

Whiskey on the rocks Perito Moreno

Fire and ice. Fortunately, it’s close to the edge of the glacier so you can stagger off in your crampons after enjoying a tipple.

Perito Moreno Glacier Tour – The Boardwalk

When visiting the Perito Moreno glacier there’s also a lovely walkway on the other side of the glacier to stroll along and see some amazing views. We took the ferry back to the other side and enjoyed walking along the boardwalk.

Perito Moreno Glacier

As the glacier advances, it cuts off part of the lake it moves across, effectively creating a dam. Over time, the water pressure causes this ice bridge to rupture and large parts of the glacier calve off.

The last rupture was in March 2022. It is difficult to predict when a rupture is going to happen as there isn’t a specific frequency, so you can’t really plan a trip around it. Apparently they are more likely to take place in winter but you have to get lucky to see one. There is plenty of video footage of past events available and it looks truly spectacular! (This photo was taken some months after the rupture in 2018.)

Perito moreno glacier calving

Even if you’re not around to see the rupture there are still likely to be opportunities to see chunks of glacier calve away from the main ice. You’ll see it first. A lump of ice will fall into the water. It looks pretty small from a distance but is probably a fairly large piece. Then you hear the noise – it’s a loud cracking sound, like a shotgun.

Perito moreno glacier calving

Our trip was a full day tour, so we took a packed lunch for scoffing immediately after our trek. It meant we could have more time to view the glacier from the walkway. However, there is a restaurant and other facilities at a visitor centre by the boardwalk area.

Get Your Guide offers a variety of tours to suit all levels of interest:

visit Torres del Paine
Our Full 2 Week Patagonia Itinerary
Galapagos Land Based Itinerary
A Galapagos Land Based Itinerary
visit Torres del Paine
Visit Torres del Paine in Chilean Patagonia
Winter iceland itinerary jokulsarlon
A winter Iceland itinerary
El Tatio Geysers
Visit the El Tatio Geysers in Chile’s Atacama Desert
Visit Quito and surrounding area in Ecuador
Hiking in El Chalten
Hiking In El Chaltén, Patagonia
High Steaks – Asados in Argentina
More posts from the Americas
If you liked this post, please share it:


  1. 45 is the cutoff huh. Well I guess I’m out 😂. Beautiful photos and the whiskey at the end is a great touch.

    • 45 is the cut-off for the Big Ice trek bit it’s still possible to do the Little Ice – where you get a two hour trek and the whiskey! Walking on the glacier is such an amazing experience!

  2. That’s interesting they cut this off at 45. I wonder why. I know and have seen plenty of people much older than that who are better hikers than people my age.

    I love that they include whisky at the end of this trip! I think every hike, excursion, or just about anything should include a reward of whisky at the end. Finished the day of work? Here’s a dram for your effort as you walk out the front door!

    • We were surprised by the 45 year cut off, as you say, there are a lot of older people who are really fit and excellent hikers. The Little Ice trek was still great fun though. And I think you may have hit upon a brilliant idea – whisky rewards! Cheers!

  3. I would love to visit this place. The shorter trekking sounds perfect to me, I am too old to go on the long trek in any case 😂
    Your photos are gorgeous, definitely one for the travel wish list.

    • Thank you so much for your kind comment. Yes, we’re too old for the Big Ice as well but we thoroughly enjoyed the shorter trek and definitely felt that we were trekking properly on the glacier. We do hope you get to visit one day.

  4. I have read so much about this glacier and have always wanted to see it. This review re-enforces my determination to explore the area. Great info about to get there and the various forms of transport around too.
    I have never used crampons and they sound such a important accessory to the walk. I would so much want to do that walk – glad they have removed the age limit, it sounds so exciting so see such a natural phenomena as this glacier.
    The fact that the ice, in the whiskey drink at the end, are from the glacier itself is so creative and unique – and whiskey is a favourite tipple of mine!

    • I do hope you get to visit. Walking on a glacier is a wonderful experience although appropriate clothing and crampons are essential. And whiskey on the rocks at the end was the proverbial ‘icing’ on the cake!

  5. You always get to do some amazing experiences and explorations of corners of the world that I hear for the very first time. I loved hearing all about your day tour to the Perito Moreno Glacier. The crampons would be a first for me, too and I’m glad to read that you were able to see some glacier break always live and in colour. You did this glacier tour with a guide right? What would you say is the best time to do this and what’s roughly the costs involved? I’m asking because sometimes countries have a huge disperancy in pricing for locals and tourists so it would be good to know what the average for this experience is for anyone planning a visit there.

    Carolin | Solo Travel Story

    • Walking on a glacier was a fantastic experience but, yes, the crampons took some getting used to! Best time to go is during the summer months in Patagonia (November to May). The costs vary depending on how what you choose to do and long you are there, but would start around £50, including transport, increasing with each activity. The current price for the Big Ice is around £400. In terms of entry to the National Park there is a difference in costs between local residents and tourists (locals pay half price) but the park entry fee isn’t bank-breakingly expensive – $800AR at the time of writing.

  6. I’ve always been fascinated by glaciers and icebergs, so I was dazzled by your photos in this post.
    I would love and have that dream to go to Patagonia Argentina. Now here is how to put the best of two worlds together, my passion for glaciers with Patagonia.
    To do this glacier exploring experience must be absolutely amazing!

    • Thank you! We can’t recommend Patagonia highly enough – it was a dream fulfilled to visit. There are loads of other glaciers to see in Los Glaciares park, but actually getting to walk on the Perito Moreno glacier was just amazing!

  7. This glacier is gorgeous! I’ve hiked a glacier in both Canada and Alaska. Sad to say I’m well over 45 lol. Thankfully there was no age limit an I’m glad the limit was removed. It’s heartening to hear that the glacier is still advancing. All the ones in North America are receding so quickly that soon there won’t be any left.

    • We’re really glad that the age limit was removed too! I’m sure your glacier walks in Canada and Alaska were great fun. It’s sad to learn that all the North American glaciers are receding.

  8. The tour of The Perito Moreno Glacier looks so cool. It’s a unique thing to do and I don’t know any people who would have done something like this before but I sure would love to try it out. The ice formations are so beautiful I can’t imagine what being there in person must have been like to experience that. What better way to end the trek than with a whiskey with some of the ice from the glacier? Very fitting

    • The whiskey on the ‘rocks’ was just a perfect ending to the trip. As you say, the trip really was very cool – in more ways than one! Thanks for your comment!

  9. We didn’t have enough time to do this when we visited Argentina, but I would have LOVED to. Your pictures are absolutely stunning. I got to hike TO a glacier but not on it and to see the ice formations up close would have been amazing. The whiskey would have been the icing on top (pun intended!)

    • So sorry that you didn’t get a chance to visit – there is so much to see and do in Argentina it’s difficult to pack it all in. The ice formations of the glacier were stunningly beautiful. Great pun – the whiskey was indeed the icing!

  10. What an adventure. This is incredible, such great views, and just a really unique hike. I can’t believe the age limit was 45, that is so young (or definitely not old). Maybe I’d better get here quick in case they reinforce that rule. Love the addition of the drink on ice at the end. What a fun note to end on

    • Thank you! It really was a very special hike. You’re right, 45 definitely isn’t old, it’s more about being fit and mobile enough to spend 8 hours on the glacier. It is hard work walking in crampons but I’m glad they’ve changed the rule so older people can still experience it. The whiskey and ice was a splendid end!

  11. Haha my degree is in Human Geography so I can’t say I agree with your sentiments! But I do agree that glaciers are interesting landforms and a cool place to explore. It’s hard to understand the scale on some of the photos but with ones with the humans help me see how big it really it, wow! I’m not a huge fan of whiskey but I’d try it with the glacial ice at the end to celebrate 🙂

    • Oops! Sorry! Actually, I’m pretty sure human geography would be a lot more interesting now than in the 1980s! I do really love exciting land formations and walking on the glacier was so exciting. A sip of whiskey with glacial ice is definitely a good way to celebrate!

Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Sign Up To Our Very Tasty Newsletter