While sitting on the bus going from El Chalten to El Calafate, I casually decided to check my phone to see what time my flight would be two days from now. After a quick glance at my phone, I realized I made a grave mistake. My flight isn’t leaving in two days. It’s leaving tomorrow. It was an “oh shit!” moment. I had banked on being in El Calafate the next day so I can make my way to see the Perito Moreno Glacier. I also booked two nights on accommodation in El Calafate and now I’m losing one of those nights which sucks. Finally, there is also no more local transportation going to the Perito Moreno Glacier by the time we arrive in El Calafate. This means my only choice is to find a tour company or find my own private transportation there.
I silently panicked inside as I wait between cell phone towers to tether some internet from my girlfriend’s phone while I research what I should do next.
Seeing the Perito Moreno Glacier is high up on my bucket list. And now, my chance of seeing it is in jeopardy.
El Calafate Airport debacle
The bus I’m taking was supposed to take us back to El Calafate. But, I had a thought in my head. What if, I ask the bus driver to drop us off at the airport instead. That way, I can inquire about possibly renting a car. It would be more expensive but it would be my only chance to see the Perito Moreno Glacier.
The friendly bus driver dropped us off at the El Calafate airport. Immediately, I made my way to the car rental office. To my disappointment, the guy working at the car rental place tells me that all cars have already been rented out. He recommended I take a taxi and took me to speak with the taxi drivers.
We were quoted 12,000 Argentine Pesos or $115 USD for the 3+ hours round trip. This is pretty expensive. But if we pay in local currency, it’ll cost $64 USD which sounded more reasonable since the driver was willing to wait for us while we go sightseeing. After counting whatever Argentine Pesos we had left, we were in luck. We have just enough Argentine Pesos until we can find another money changer in our next travel destination in Argentina.
Journey from El Calafate to the Perito Moreno Glacier
It’s been a long day and I was tired but there was no way in hell I was going to pass up the opportunity to see the glacier. It’s just one of those days full of mishaps. Earlier in the morning, I left my new jacket in the accommodation we stayed at in El Chalten. With 45 minutes to spare before our bus departed for El Calafate, I had to rush to find a taxi driver to drive me back to my accommodation, grab my jacket, and head back to the bus station. Thankfully, I did find a taxi driver, and my jacket was safely retrieved just in time before our bus departed.
Now that we were in the El Calafate airport with a solution for me to finally see the Perito Moreno Glacier, I took it. We hired the taxi driver and off we went towards the glacier. Our taxi driver spoke English and shared stories of his life in Argentina which were pretty cool. I do enjoy these interactions with the locals. Not too long after, we arrived at the Perito Moreno Glacier viewing point.
The Perito Moreno Glacier experience
As soon as we arrived at the packed parking lot of the Perito Moreno Glacier viewing point, I started hearing the noise from the gradually moving glacier. I immediately made my way through the viewing platform to witness the incredible glacier. It’s so much cooler than I thought it was going to be. Apparently, the glacier breaks every 20 minutes or so and I was eagerly standing there trying to catch a glacier break off with my camera.
One glacier did break off from a distance and it was an amazing sight to see. Sadly, my camera only caught a short bit of it.
I can tell that Karen is getting a bit antsy waiting around for another glacier to break off. After all, we’ve been on the road for a while and she is starving. Honestly, I wish we had an entire day here. I would love to bring food and just sit there and watch glaciers break off. I can watch it all day. Alas, sometimes, you don’t get that opportunity. At the very least, we got to see it which I’m grateful for.
On our way back to the parking lot, we heard the loudest glacier breaking noises yet. I was so choked I didn’t get to see it. But, I reminded myself that there was a chance earlier in the day that we might not have been able to go here in the first place. And that the fact we made it here before they closed was a miracle. I told myself that instead of having the fear of missing out, I should be happy that at the very least, I got to see the glaciers.
Before long, we drove back to El Calafate. Never in my life that I would imagine enjoying myself so much watching glaciers break off. I know to some people, it’s lame to just sit and watch giant chunks of ice break off. But for me, it was one of the best things I’ve ever seen in my life.
I have to remind myself that there are plenty of glaciers to see in this world and this wouldn’t be the only glacier for me to see. After doing some google search, I learned that glacier calving is a thing and there are many places on this planet where I can witness this again. Looks like I’ll be on the hunt to see some of the best glacier calvings in my future travels.