Glaciers

By definition, a glacier is composed of snow and ice, always moving down and out. Where there are Andes, there are tropical glaciers, from Venezuela to Argentina. And then there is the white continent of Antarctica and its Antarctic Peninsula that comprises the last bit of the Andes chain. Antarctica contains more glaciers than anywhere on Earth, an icy dreamscape that is a marvel to behold. Antarctica produces many icebergs each year when pieces break away from the mainland and go floating off to join the thousands of other icebergs in the surrounding ocean. Antarctica shrinks and expands by a considerable amount according to the season. Glaciers in Antarctica do have names but just aren’t as famous as those in Patagonia. The continent also has categories of glaciers, tideland, outlet, valley, cirque and ice stream. You’ll learn all about them during your travel to Antarctica. 

PATAGONIA GLACIERS

Most people who want to see South America’s glaciers come to Patagonia. Two ice fields feed these glaciers, one north, located in southern Chile, comprised of 1,600 square miles, and one south, shared with Argentina, extending over 4,700 square miles. Chile contains twice as many glaciers as Argentina, and national parks in both countries protect vast glacial areas. Argentina Patagonia’s largest and best known glaciers include Viedma, the receding Upsala and the advancing Perito Moreno. Moving west in Chile are such slow-moving spectacles as Grey, Tyndall and Dickson glaciers.

All of our trips to Chile’s Torres del Paine National Park and Argentina’s Los Glaciares National Park give passengers many opportunities to view glaciers. The most popular of all is Perito Moreno Glacier, almost 200 feet tall at its terminus, and the best glacier views of it are by boat on Lago Argentino that cruise the length of the massive turquoise monolith. No Argentina tour experience usually tops witnessing an ice fragment the size of a car plunging thunderously from Perito Moreno into the water, and here it happens often.

Many of our Patagonia tours include glacier hiking excursions that require crampons and have fitness and age restrictions. Another option is to cruise from Chile to Argentina through the Strait of Magellan that travels through the Glacier Alley portion of the Beagle Channel. Those wishing to learn more about glaciers during their travel to Southern Patagonia may visit the Glaciarium, a museum devoted to the subject and one of the region’s top manmade sights, located six miles from El Calafate. It is a memorable experience, partly because patrons may enjoy a drink at the museum’s Glacio Bar, made completely of ice, right down to the glasses.

ANTARCTICA AND GLACIERS

Cruises to Antarctica are a breathtaking visual experience and a most stimulating education. Some tour vessels offer optional excursions that give passengers opportunities to hike on glaciers of the Antarctic Peninsula as well as sub-Antarctic islands. One is a three-day jaunt following the route of famed explorer, Ernest Shackleton, across the deeply-crevassed glaciers of South Georgia Island. One needn’t take on such challenges to have glacier experiences during their Antarctica tours. Walking and hiking on glaciers is difficult not to do when a continent is covered almost completely with snow and ice.

Anyone interested in glaciers in South America will be traveling between October and March in Antarctica and a bit longer on each end in Patagonia. That’s OK because almost all the wildlife takes to warmer waters too during the winter months, leaving the stalwart Emperor penguins and a seal species named for the sea it inhabits, the Weddell, to tough it out.

View our Glaciers trip and tour options below:
7 days $2,995
Buenos Aires , Perito Moreno Glacier, Glacier National Park, Mt. Fitz Roy, Cerro Torre
6 - 22 Days $4,995
Glaciers, Icebergs, Whales, Penguins, Hiking, Snowshoeing, Kayaking, Camping, Punta Arenas to Antarctica Flights
12 - 22 Days $14,680
Glaciers, Icebergs, Whales, Penguins, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography
Buenos Aires, Four Balconies Tour, El Calafate, Perito Moreno Glacier, Estancia Cristina, Glacier Cruise
12 Days $2995
Uyuni Salt Flats, Tunupa Volcano Hike, Biking the Death Road, Siloli Desert, Trekking in the Cordillera Real
12 - 22 Days $14,980
Glaciers, Icebergs, Whales, Penguins, Hiking, Kayaking, Photography
11 Days $7,395
Torres Del Paine, Buenos Aires, Perito Moreno Glacier, Mt. Fitz Roy & Cerro Torre, Luxury Accommodations
Los Glaciares National Park, Torres del Paine National Park, Perito Moreno Glacier, Classic Treks to Mt. Torre and to Mt. Fitz Roy
6 - 10 Days $4,695
Glaciers, Icebergs, Penguins, Whales, Kayaking, Hiking, Snowshoeing