Blogs from Santa Cruz, Argentina, South America

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South America » Argentina » Santa Cruz » El Chaltén November 11th 2019

R: It feels a bit odd to be writing this during the coronavirus lockdown, but it makes me glad that I've been able to do this trip, and to think about all the things I may be able to do after it all ends. Anyway. This was the big one - the last full day of the organised part of the trip. This was the longest walk of the trip - 20km in total over steep ground in places - some of us had been looking forward to it, some had been dreading it. We had been told the night before to go and find sustenance for the day which I should really have done the day before, but I was on a long walk, so I didn't get time! I headed to a small supermarket ... read more
On the way up
Piedras Blancas Glacier
Onwards and Upwards

South America » Argentina » Santa Cruz » El Chaltén November 10th 2019

R: Next morning it was up early again - quite a long drive this morning. First, I took a trip up to the town viewpoint to take in the town from an abandoned old fort that sits above a kids play park. I was accompanied by fellow Brit Michelle who wanted to see the city too. It was a short steep climb and the views over to the lake and the mountains beyond were good. It was my sister's 18th birthday today, so I sat outside briefly and recorded her a birthday message before hopping on the bus. We were heading to El Chaltén which is the heart of the national park area. We stopped first at a very crowded "ranch" which seemed to do a brisk trade in terrible coffee, fridge magnets and hiking maps. ... read more
Laguna Torre
El Chalten
El Chalten Town


R: Today was the day we were off to Perito Moreno glacier. It is in the Los Glaciares National Park which is about an hour drive from El Calafate, which we did on the bus. Breakfast at the new hostel was a bit underwhelming, but we survived! Scambled eggs, Dulce du Leche pancakes and strong coffee - not much not to like really! We went the long way to the national park which is easily accessed by road from Calafate, but the route took us via Lago Argentino (the largest lake in Argentina) and various viewpoints to see hares, herds of vicuna and birds along the way. We stopped at an Estancia (ranch) along the way which was appreciating the tourist custom. Earning a living from cattle is hard in this area now so they have ... read more
Scooby Doo drops in in Argentina
Perito Moreno Glaciar from the shoreline
The face of the glacier

South America » Argentina » Santa Cruz » El Calafate November 8th 2019

R: So up until now you will have noticed most of my photos have been rather grey looking. The weather in Chilean Patagonia had had moments of brilliance (such as walking down from the Mirador las Torres - which was fantastic), but the weather generally comes in off the pacific and hits the mountain ranges and is generally much better in Argentina. This is where we were going next. First we had to pack up camp - Chef had made eggs and bacon again - there was so much of this that I was starting to feel that no matter how much exercise I did, it wouldn't burn all this off. It also went perfectly with the hot sauce! The tents came down and we packed up - thankfully it wasn't raining this morning. As we ... read more
Torres del Paine
Torres del Paine
Chilean Border Station

South America » Argentina » Santa Cruz October 25th 2019

Up early for a 7.30am departure with Eduardo, our driver from the airport yesterday. We decided on a day trip to El Chaltén, one of the must-see area in this part of Patagonia. It’s over 200km away and a two and a half hour drive, but the journey goes quickly as the road is good and there’s lots to see on the way. As well as the beautiful views of the Patagonian scenery, we are treated to a mini safari of Guanacos (a bit like llamas), ñandúes (rhea - like emus/ostriches), condors, hares and a few horses, cows, pigs and sheep. We skirt the Lago Argentino, do a portion of the N40, then head towards the northern part of Parque Los Glaciares where we see the famous Cerro Fitzroy and glimpse our first glaciers. The park ... read more
On the approach to Cerro Fitzroy
El Chorrillo Salto
I need to find out what this plant is called...looks like sea urchins on the mountains

South America » Argentina » Santa Cruz » El Calafate October 24th 2019

Up early for 7am breakfast, before taxi arrives at 7.30am to take us to the other Buenos Aires airport. Have enjoyed staying at Los Patios de San Telmo. Much, much cheaper than Chile (US $150 for two double rooms for 2 nights versus US $210 for a family room in Santiago for one night at Casasur Charming Hotel), great location in lively, characterful San Telmo, interesting decor and generally chilled with a nice vibe. Only small niggles would be that the room was a bit too warm with air con not working and fridge not working. Pretty smooth and uneventful trip to El Calafate with LATAM. Spent about half an hour with a helpful LATAM sales lady trying to decipher the various emails I’ve received from LATAM about problems with the refund. All pretty confusing and ... read more
Looking out towards Lago Argentino
Our stray dogs waiting to take on next passing car.

South America » Argentina » Santa Cruz April 5th 2019

Our invigorating trip continues in Santa Cruz region, where we were about to be blown away by the incredible forces of nature. We based ourselves for 2 nights in El Calafate for a day trip to the world famous glacier Perito Moreno, and it was a destination not to be missed. As we took the coach towards the glacier, we caught a glimpse of what to expect, but it was really when we approach Perito Moreno while on the cruise could we fathom how massively huge it was. Standing right in front of it makes one feel just incredibly tiny, and to think that was just the tip of the iceberg (pun not intended!). We got through a safety briefing and a guide on the history of the glacier's formation before putting on the crampons and ... read more
Ready for our ice trekking
Seeing is believing. Perito Moreno right in front of us
El Chalten, i fell in love with you

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




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