You Don't Have To Travel To Antarctica To See Glaciers
When you think of South America, you probably think of the most exotic beaches and beautiful tropical forests. Still, there's a part of the continent, namely in Argentina, that is pretty close to Antarctica and therefore very cold. In fact, there are parts of the country that form glaciers. Los Glaciares National Park, for instance, has the biggest area of glaciers, after Antarctica. Named a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1981 for having "exceptional natural beauty," the park offers a colder approach to sightseeing and the chance to see some of the most beautiful glaciers without traveling all the way to the North or South Poles. All you need is excellent winter gear.
The Glaciers Crumble Into Milky Blue-Grey Water
Located in the Southwest of Santa Cruz Province in the Argentine part of Patagonia, Los Glaciares is a National Park and a National Reserve. It gets its name from the glaciers, fed by the vast South Patagonian Ice Field, making up half of its 600,000 hectares surface area.
The Upsala, Onelli, and Perito Moreno Glaciers, which are up to 60 meters high in some places, all shred and crumble continuously into Lake Argentino's milky blue-grey waters. The sight of the crumbling will mesmerize you for hours.
The Ice Caps, as they are referred to, are the largest continental glaciers outside Antarctica. Out of 47 primary glaciers, 13 of them flow into the Atlantic, while over 200 smaller glaciers remain unconnected.
Beyond the glaciers are the thunderous grey mountains of the Patagonian Andes, which Argentina shares with Chile. Their peaks exceed 3,000 meters above sea level and offer a diverse ecosystem away from the ice.
With the area being so remote, its treacherous landscape, and low atmospheric pollution, it has been fortunate enough to keep its integrity. Some parts of the park are extremely hard to reach and have had little to no human interaction.
The Patagonian forests are perfect in the autumn because the various species of Southern Beech trees turn bright colors in the season. Through the trees, the Puma and the Andean Cat, locally known as Guiña, roam with Huemul, a rare native deer species found in the Southern Andes.
High above fly rare birds as well. There are breeding populations of the Andean Condor and Darwin's Rhea, locally known as Choique.
Forest fires and overgrazing caused by humans are among the most harmful to the area. Still, humans are welcome to come and enjoy the sights and sounds of the icefall.
You don't have to wait for the beeches to turn in the autumn unless you want to. The park welcomes visitors from all over the world year-round.
There's not really a perfect time of year to experience it. Whether you want to trek up the terrain or take a leisurely walk through the forests to see the phenomenon of the glaciers crumbling and moving back and forth on the landscape, there's so much to see.
Are you ready to go where few have been before? It doesn't hurt to learn more, so give me a call.