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Porito Moreno Glacier, Argentina - Unique Places around the World

One of three glaciers growing in size at Argentina's Glaciares National Park, walking tours are available for those willing to take a trip on the ice.

5. Description

The Perito Moreno Glacier can be found in the Glaciares National Park in Patagonia, Argentina. In 1981, it was designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The floating glacier has an area of 97 square miles with a length of 19 miles and stands about 197 feet tall. It is a huge chunk of ice that has an irregular topography but some semi-flat areas with walking trails built on its surface length for tourists. A minor show occurs when small chunks of ice breaks off the main glacier and sends it down floating into the lake water. The best time to visit is March, April and October when the crowds have largely dissipated.

4. Tourism

The Perito Moreno Glacier is a huge tourist attraction. Walking tours on the glacier are conducted daily by tour groups. Treks to view the glacier from a viewpoint are also available. There is another walking tour on the glacier to enable tourists to view its eastern and southern sides from a trail located on the rim of the lake. The walking tours come in two versions, one and a half-hour walk and another with a five-hour walk. The average tourist can easily get to the Glaciares National Park from the city of El Calafate in Patagonia. In the city, the tourist can rent a self-driving car or get on a bus that goes to the site.

3. Uniqueness

The glacier lake area offers lake shores with ancient gnarled trees and grasslands. The Perito glacier is just one of three glaciers in the national park that grows in size. Tours are conducted on the glacier surface daily. Another feature is the rupture that occurs on the iceberg. As the glacier dams the southern portion of Argentino Lake, the water rises in the Brazo Rico portion of the lake and water accumulates to such volume that a rupture occurs in the glacier, sending the accumulated water to the other side of the glacier into the other portion of the lake.

2. Habitat

Flora and fauna share habitats which can mostly be found in the Glaciares National Park, less so in the Perito Moreno glacier area. There is the Guanaco which belongs to the camel family and the introduced European Hare that has become food for the larger animals. Other animals worth mentioning are foxes, armadillos, skunk, pajonal cats, long-eared bats, pumas, wild cats, deer, condors, eagles, ostriches, parrots, wild geese, woodpeckers and several other birds that live near the glacier. The flora offers many wildflowers and plants like orchids, geraniums and alfilerillo. Bushes and mosses thrive around and on trees like poplar and willows which are introduced species.

1. Threats

Tourists should wear crampons that tour agencies provide once they join walking tours of the glacier. The glacier surface is slippery and dangerous without crampons and the freezing waters of the lake can cause hypothermia to the tourist who falls into it. Tourists should only take out what they take in and should never trample the frail ecosystem, instead using the walking trails. Tourists should come dressed appropriately and wear good shoes that can accommodate crampons as the frigid winds can lower the surrounding temperatures quickly. It is best to come early and leave early as well.

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