Blogs from Santa Cruz, Argentina, South America

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South America » Argentina » Santa Cruz March 18th 2019

There are very very few human beings who leave some testament to their presence four thousand years after they have lived. This select band include Patagonian indigenous people of the Pinturas canyon who left generations of ‘negative’ hand prints on the sides of the gorge walls. They were lucky because the gorge had been capped by a harder rock than the base ‘toba blanca’ so overhangs protect the hands from the harsh sunlight. Today the site, the best of many in Patagonia, is a National Park and UNESCO site. You have to want to get there because even by Argentine standards it is remote. We took a tour from Los Antiguos (Chelenco Tours) having just arrived on the night bus from El Chalten. This meant retracing our steps for two hours South down Route 40. We ... read more
Hands of all shapes, sizes and colours
Having been pulled from the quagmire
Pink rock


"It’s the glaciers, Stupid!" Yes, Patagonia has picturesque dramatic mountain peaks: Yes, it has awesomely beautiful lakes and majestic wildlife: And if there is one thing that makes it stands it out from the crowd it is its glaciers. The Southern Patagonian ice field is the third largest in the world (after Antarctica and Greenland) and by far the most accessible. The glaciers flow off the ice sheet down to 200 metres above sea level, well below the tree line. And Perito Moreno glacier is the ‘Hollywood’ of all glaciers: It is almost as if it was created for tourism. It finishes its 17 km journey opposite a promontory that divides two glacial lakes on the Argentinian side of the border. There are a series of board walks so you can view the glacier flowing down ... read more
just a luminescent blue!
patagonian fox by the shore of Lake Argentina
heading for the based of Mount Fitzroy

South America » Argentina » Santa Cruz » El Chaltén January 30th 2019

Today we drive 136 miles north to the village of El Chalten. The scenery en route is of snow capped mountains, turquoise lakes, rivers with eagles flying overhead and pampas dotted with guanacos (a type of llama). We also spot silver foxes, an armadillo and gauchos herding sheep. We arrive in El Chalten and check in to our cabin. We’ve been upgraded to a 2 storey, 6 bed cabin so space won’t be an issue for the next few nights. We walk through quirky little El Chalten; a hiking centre within Los Glaciares National Park and visit the park visitor centre for details of hiking routes. We select the 6 km ‘Mirador de los Condores y de las Aguilas’ supposedly to viewpoints where condors and eagles soar above the river canyon. It’s very steep and the ... read more
Guanaco warning
Guanacos
Fox hunting guanacos


We went to bed with the curtains open to take advantage of the view of the sun setting and rising over the lake. The trouble is the sun rises so early, it tricks you into getting up too soon and at 6.30 I go for a run. I planned to run along the lake, but at the end of the road are wild dogs. So I make do with jogging up and down the (rather steep) road by the hotel. After breakfast we set off for Perito Moreno Glacier. This 35 km long, 4 km wide glacier ends at Lago Argentino where you can observe it from boardwalks along the shore. The first part of the drive is stunning, but pretty soon the cloud descends and it starts to rain. By the time we reach the ... read more
Los Glaciares National Park
Steps become waterfall
Perito Moreno Glacier

South America » Argentina » Santa Cruz » El Calafate January 28th 2019

This morning we fly 350 miles north to El Calafate, a town on the edge of the Patagonian ice field. We arrive at the airport in plenty of time, which is good because it is now that we learn that Aerolineas Argentinas has a 15 kg luggage limit – not 23 kg as indicated on our booking form. After checking in, we have to wait in a long queue to pay our excess baggage fees. But first, the old man has an argument with the check in clerk, followed by an argument with the excess baggage clerk, rounded off with an argument with the supervisor. We board our flight, I’m hoping it’s calmer then our arrival when I genuinely thought I was going to star in the sequel to Alive! The next 3 weeks of our ... read more
Landing in El Calafate
Malvinas memorial
Flamingos on Lago Argentino

South America » Argentina » Santa Cruz » El Calafate October 16th 2018

Today was a bit of a rest day with just one activity planned. We woke up in time to have breakfast and finish packing our bags before checking out at 10am. We left our bags at the hotel for the day as we were informed last night that a driver would pick us up at 6:15pm for the airport transfer. The activity today was to visit the Glaciarium which is a museum dedicated to glaciers as suggested by its name. There is a complimentary mini-bus transfer that leaves on the hour. As we got there early we looked around a free open air museum dedicated to explorers of the Patagonian region with figures sculptured by an artist. It was also like a small botanical garden with typical plants and trees of the region. It was a ... read more
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South America » Argentina » Santa Cruz » El Calafate October 15th 2018

Woke up at 5:15am, had breakfast and packed our bags and walked the 15 minutes to the bus station and got there at 6:30am. This gave me an hour to hike to the Mirador Los Condors for a view of El Chalten with the mountains behind. However, it didn’t look promising as the clouds hadn’t cleared and there was light rain, so pur first bit of bad luck concerning the weather. I still did the hike anyway and didn’t quite make it to the top as I was worried I wouldn’t make the bus in time and the weather hadn’t cleared so it wasn’t worthwhile. Oh well, you can’t win them all and at least we did sight Mt Fitzroy in silhouette last night. Our bus back to El Calafate stopped at the same rest stop ... read more
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South America » Argentina » Santa Cruz October 14th 2018

Early start this morning to wait for our pick-up to the bus station for our trip to El Chalten which is in the northern section of Glacier National Park. This small town is known as the hiking capital of Argentina but we only planned to do one half-day hike and stay just one night. Trip there was uneventful but I did choose seats on the left side of the bus. Another blogger had recommended that and it was good advice as a the last 45 minutes or so we had very nice views of the alps and could even see a glacier and icebergs from a distance. As we got closer however I did notice that up ahead it looked much cloudier and rainy and that’s exactly what it was like in El Chalten. There was ... read more
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South America » Argentina » Santa Cruz » El Calafate October 13th 2018

Today is a travelling day. Woke up this morning at 7:15 and finished packing before walking to restaurant for breakfast. Our room 60 is the second last room on the western side and the restaurant is located at the extreme eastern side of the hotel so actually a bit of a walk as the hotel is long and skinny so that all rooms have a nice view. The bus left around 9:20 and had to back track towards Punta Arenas to reach the border crossing. We were traveling with Joseph, Marta, Darlene(Boston) , Angeliqua (Texas), Arnie and Benny from Israel. The bus stopped just before the border crossing at a cafeteria/tourist shop for about 60 minutes even though the driver told us 20-30 minutes. We were all looking for the driver but he had disappeared but ... read more
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South America » Argentina » Santa Cruz » El Calafate April 19th 2018

Na een bewogen nacht in het hotel in Los Horquetas gaan we weer op weg. Het eerste stuk weg is kaarsrecht en we kunnen lekker doorrijden. Daarna snijden we een stuk af over een onverharde weg (70km), waar helemaal geen verkeer is. We passeren alleen een vrachtwagen met een enorme houten kist, die hebben we al eerder gezien. Wat erin zit, een dinosaurus, een olifant, we weten het niet. We rijden over kale heuvels en langs kleine meertjes, er zijn wel veel guanaco’s en struisvogels langs de kant. De struisvogels blijven soms dom voor de auto uithollen, wild slaand met hun vleugels.Af en toe passeren we een estancia, een grote boerderij, maar verder woont hier niemand. Als we weer op de hoofdweg komen houdt het asfalt al snel weer op en rijden we nog 72 kilometer ... read more
Niemand te zien
Wat zit er in de box?
De Andes komt in zicht




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