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“Amazing Mini Trekking” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Perito Moreno Glacier

Perito Moreno Glacier
Parque Nacional Los Glaciares, Los Glaciares National Park, Argentina
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Big Ice Tour at Perito Moreno Glacier
Certificate of Excellence
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Owner description: A trip to this imposing glacier gives you a chance to walk on the ice wearing cleats and to see and hear a truly astounding spectacle: blocks of ice rupturing and floating away as icebergs.
Atlanta, Georgia
Level Contributor
116 reviews
15 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 70 helpful votes
“Amazing Mini Trekking”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 19, 2008

We took two tours to the glacier- mini-trekking and the todos glaciers boat cruise. Skip the cruise- do the trekking.

I am sure big ice is wonderful also, but mini-trekking really covered all the highlights. You get to spend enough time walking on the glacier to enjoy it, and not get exhausted. The bus also takes you to a vista where you get to see how enormous the glacier is.

Skip the todos glaciers boat tour unless you are not in good enough health to do the mini trekking. The mini trekking actually offered better views of the glacier, and the boat tour really was only for older travelers who cannot climb the glacier. Mini-trekking was not very exhausting, so as long as you have no disabilities, you will be fine.

Two full days in el calafate is perfect. you can go mini trekking and then go to an estancia on day.

13 Thank kbatlanta
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Washington DC Area
Level Contributor
14 reviews
9 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 33 helpful votes
“Do BIg Ice if you Can!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 31, 2008

My husband and I read a lot of reviews comparing Big Ice to the Mini-Trek, and with him being 42 we were minorly concerned about all of the age warnings for Big Ice. In the end, we decided to go for it, and are so Glad we did.

If you are young enough ( they say 40 one guy on the trip with us was ~55), and can handle a multi-hour hike on flat land normally - you'll be fine! BY far the hardest part was climbing uphill along the moraine of the glacier for just north of an hour until we finally put the crampons on and started climbing into the heart of the glacier.

Once on the glacier, it's easy. Make no mistake, this is not a stroll though the park, or a photo safari. They move you along at a decent speed with a few chosen pit stops ( they see it every day of their lives while it's a once in a lifetime experience for us)
but I would highly highly recommend it.

For those of you who can't do big Ice, Mini trekking on the glacier is available for a wider age range and fitness levels and still seems like it would be a fantastic experience. And if you can't do either - or aren’t interested in either, sitting at the rails and watching the glacier calve would be plenty of entertainment for a day!

9 Thank DeirdreinDC
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Palo Alto, California
Level Contributor
15 reviews
4 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 156 helpful votes
“Big Ice - Hielo y Aventura”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 13, 2008

The Big Ice trek on the Perito Moreno Glacier in El Calafate was one of my most amazing travel tours ever. I highly recommend trekking on the glacier if you want to truly experience the beauty and vastness of a glacier.

Making a reservation - If you email Hielo y Aventura, they will tell you to stop by the office in downtown El Calafate to book the trip – you can’t book online. If you really want to book the trek in advance, ask your hotel concierge to make the arrangements. Tour operator’s website is at [--]. You can pay with credit card. If you choose to book Big Ice rather than Mini-trekking, the booking agent will try to “scare” you with equipment needs and the strenuous nature of the trek. Don’t be daunted; rather, read our experiences below re: clothing/gear and which trek to book. The trip isn’t cheap; we spent about $100US/person for the trek; the national park entrance fee is extra. You also have to bring your own lunch. But hey – you’re helping to preserve one of the only glaciers in the world that is still in balance, so don’t sweat the dough.

Clothing/Gear – The other parts of our Argentina travels included a week in Buenos Aires and a week in Mendoza in late spring; certainly warm-weather travel. Thus, we didn’t want to bring out all of our ski gear for a single day’s hiking on a glacier. Although most people were outfitted in insulated ski jackets, you don’t need them. We dressed in thermal underwear (key!), jeans, wool socks, ski gloves, ski hat, non-insulated leather Timberlands, mid-weight fleece jacket and light rain-jacket shell; and, were perfectly warm – sometimes hot. Although I didn’t pull out either of the two sweaters or the extra pair of wool socks I brought just in case, I would still recommend carrying them. It rained much of the day, so the most important thing to have is the rain jacket.

Tour guides – our tour guides were very warm and professional. We were split into a Spanish speaking group and English speaking group (about 12-15 in each group); the English speaking guide was very fluent and was able to explain all of the environmental/ social/ natural aspects of the glacier and was able to answer all of our questions. Their primary concern was our safety and they would stand at “tricky” spots to offer a steadying arm and to make sure that we didn’t fall. Additionally, the tour operator and guides are very environmentally oriented and do what they can to be good environmental stewards.

Big Ice vs. Mini-trekking – If you don’t look like an REI card-carrying member, the booking agent may try to push you towards the Mini-trekking tour. The three of us who went on the tour are fairly fit, but certainly are not super-athletes. If you can hike 8-10 miles a day at a moderate pace, you should be fine. Hiking on ice with the crampons is more strenuous than trail hiking, but not exhausting. That being said, the pace that is set is not appropriate for young children or travelers with knee/back ailments. We were hiking from about 10am -4pm with a half an hour stop for lunch. On our way back, we saw the Mini-trekkers, who were about 50+ people climbing up a big slope near the edge of the glacier. It was too much of a mass-tourism experience to me; I certainly felt that we made the right choice with Big Ice.

My only complaint was that Big Ice was truly a “trek” and there weren’t enough time for photographs; although I suppose it isn’t a valid complaint since I came home with 300+ photos. I would have liked a little more time to stay in one place more (maybe a 1 hr lunch) and just “experience” what it was like to be on a glacier.

The best part of Big Ice was hiking into the center of the glacier. Since the English group split up from the Spanish group, sometimes you would feel like your little group of 14 were the only signs of life for hundreds of miles around. The scenery was spectacular, but I won't spoil your visit by describing all the cool surprises that the guides had in store for us. You can see the pictures attached (which really don't do it justice).

Go on Big Ice, and enjoy!

79 Thank whenismynextvacation
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Smyrna, Georgia, USA
Level Contributor
44 reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 177 helpful votes
“Absolutely Stunning!!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 16, 2005

This is a must see attraction!!! Words can't capture the beauty of this glacier. The weather was surprisingly warm when we were there (December 12), and you are just about guaranteed to see "calving" of ice off the glacier (sounds like thunder).

22 Thank cchri1p
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Houston, TX
Level Contributor
12 reviews
3 attraction reviews
common_n_attraction_reviews_1bd8 243 helpful votes
“El Calafate / Perito Moreno .... What a beauty!!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 10, 2005

My wife and I visited Argentina (B.A., Bariloche, El Calafate and Ushuaia) for our honeymoon (October 2005).

From Bariloche (my previous review) we flew to El Calafate. If you have made reservation with a travel agency, they will come to pick you up. If you are the adventurous / spontaneous type and didn’t make reservations, you have 2 options. Take a taxi or a shuttle, the shuttle is about 5 dollars cheaper, maybe less, the only problem is that they make multiple stops to drop off passengers. We learned our lesson and took a taxi on the way back. It takes about 20 minutes to get to the city from the airport, therefore if you want to go by your own schedule, take a taxi. It allows you more time to go shopping or relax. People complained to us that they were picked up 2 hours before their flight, while we left 40 minutes before our flight.

We stayed in El Calafate 3 days and 2 nights. I thought it was more than plenty; unless you plan to take a horse back ridding tour to Perito Moreno. We stayed in “Posada Los Alamos”, a very nice hotel, we got a chance to see “Calafate Parque Hotel” and it seemed a very nice hotel. Los Alamos has a golf course across the street from the hotel as well as their restaurant where a complementary breakfast is served every day. At check in the hotel provides each guest with a voucher for a complementary drink. The bellboys at the hotel were very courteous; they wait at the curb to help their guests with their bags.

The first day we tour the town; there is only one main street, Av. Libertador where most of the shops and restaurants are. 2 good restaurants that we tried were “La Vaca Atada” (good trout) and Ricks Café. Now if you want to get the most for your dollar, go to Rick’s café it is a “tenedor abierto” in other words ALL you can eat “Parrilla”. They had great choices, “Biffe de Chorizo”, lamb, sausage and rabbit. It cost us $20 (59 Pesos) for 1 buffet, 1 regular plate (pasta) and a bottle of wine.

For Perito Moreno, all tours leave really early in the morning since it is located far from the city, about 2 hours… it depends how many people are in your tour. We chose the mini-trekking with a 2 hour stop at the rails. It cost about $100 with the Park entrance fee. (Make sure to ask if your tour includes the fee). I am not sure if the $100 were per person or for the 2 of us. The bus first stops for pictures in front of the “Los Notros” hotel. It is a very beautiful hotel with an incredible view, they charge about $1,000 a night but it includes everything… The bus then takes you to the rails where you get to see the glacier up close… I have been to 3 other glaciers (Peru, Alaska and Ushuaia) and this one is the best by far!!!. The picture does not come close to the real beauty of the glacier. Pieces of ice fall all the time which makes a very loud noise, very similar to thunder, the bigger the pieces the bigger the noise and the splash.

After the rails the bus takes you to a boat which first takes you very close to the glacier, as it maneuvers through small icebergs you get to see how high the glacier really is (200 feet). After the ride the boat takes you to land where groups are formed with multiple guides (English and Spanish). The guides will give you and help you put on the spikes to climb the glacier. The hike last about 2 hours, bring your camera and food. We brought cookies and mix of nuts with raisins, don’t worry about water, the glacier water is very good. The one thing the tour gave us on top of the glacier was water, chocolate and scotch. The hike is not that difficult. A 70yr old man made it… granted, he had his own guide and in some instances he had to crawl… but at the end he made it. I hope I can do that at 70.

I hope that this information was helpful. If I ever go back, I heard that there is a 2 day horse back ridding tour that starts from El Calafate and it goes all the way to Perito Moreno. If anyone has done it, please post.

Good Luck!!

123 Thank Houstonian_Traveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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