Touring Chile’s Glaciers by Boat

Serrano, Glacier, Chile, Puerto Natales,Patagonia, ice, boat tour, travel, photo, Canon EOS Rebel

One of the highlights of visiting Patagonia is visiting the many glaciers in the area.  Some you can hike (like Grey) and some you can admire from a distance from the water (besides Grey, Serrano and Balmaceda) and are quite accessible from Puerto Natales by a boat tour).  I got to tour these beautiful glaciers by boat and it was very enjoyable.  But there was even more than the glaciers to enjoy!

On the way to the glaciers from Puerto Natales

The boat left from Puerto Natales and the route over was beautiful.  Even if that had been the purpose of the trip, that would have been worth it.  But, of course it wasn’t and that the glaciers would be even better.  Nevertheless, the way over offered many great sights!

Chile, Patagonia, glacier, Puerto Natales, outdoors, nature, tourism, travel, Canon EOS Rebel

Country home indeed!

Chile, Patagonia, glacier, Puerto Natales, outdoors, nature, tourism, travel, Canon EOS Rebel

Right after leaving Puerto Natales

Chile, Patagonia, glacier, Puerto Natales, outdoors, nature, tourism, travel, Canon EOS Rebel, seal, wildlife

Seals have many good resting places

Chile, Patagonia, glacier, Puerto Natales, outdoors, nature, tourism, travel, Canon EOS Rebel, wildlife

I believe these are corcorans (not penguins), covering all the cliffs

Chile, Patagonia, glacier, Puerto Natales, outdoors, nature, tourism, travel, Canon EOS Rebel

Beautiful rock formations

Chile, Patagonia, glacier, Puerto Natales, outdoors, nature, tourism, travel, Canon EOS Rebel

More of the rock formations

Chile, Patagonia, glacier, Puerto Natales, outdoors, nature, tourism, travel, Canon EOS Rebel, Torres del Paine

A view of the Torres del Paine from afar – awesome!

Grey Glacier

I hiked Grey in my trek in Patagonia earlier this year (see here for that story).  But in 2010 I saw it from a distance when I traveled around Patagonia when I sailed on a boat tour around the glaciers near Puerto Natales.  It was a neat place to visit as we got to walk to an area on the opposite side of Lake Grey from the glacier and face the glacier and watch the ice floes.Grey, glacier, Chile, Patagonia, tourism, travel, photo Grey, glacier, Chile, Patagonia, tourism, travel, photo Grey, glacier, Chile, Patagonia, tourism, travel, photo Grey, glacier, Chile, Patagonia, tourism, travel, photo Grey, glacier, Chile, Patagonia, tourism, travel, photo

Grey, glacier, Chile, Patagonia, tourism, travel, photo

Strolling around…

Before I go on to the other two glaciers… a couple of images that I like from this boat trip.

Handrail, Serrano glacier, Chile, Patagonia

Handrail on the path to visit the Serrano glacier

Boat, ride, ladder

Wooden ladder on the boat – colorful

Balmaceda and Serrano Glaciers

We also visited the Serrano and Balmaceda glaciers.  These glaciers kiss the water like Grey glacier does but in what seemed a narrow and steeper “face” as it hits the water.  We were able to get off the boat in one of them (the Serrano glacier) and hike around the shoreline near the glacier.

Balmaceda, Glacier, Chile, Patagonia, ice, boat tour, travel, photo, Canon EOS Rebel

Balmaceda Glacier

Balmaceda, Glacier, Chile, Patagonia, ice, boat tour, travel, photo, Canon EOS Rebel

Balmaceda Glacier

Balmaceda, Glacier, Chile, Patagonia, ice, boat tour, travel, photo, Canon EOS Rebel

Balmaceda Glacier

Balmaceda, Glacier, Chile, Patagonia, ice, boat tour, travel, photo, Canon EOS Rebel

Balmaceda Glacier

Serrano, Glacier, Chile, Puerto Natales,Patagonia, ice, boat tour, travel, photo, Canon EOS Rebel

Serrano Glacier

Serrano, Glacier, Chile, Puerto Natales,Patagonia, ice, boat tour, travel, photo, Canon EOS Rebel

Serrano Glacier

And more beauty

Seeing the glaciers so close was nothing short of spectacular.  These “things” are magical and I expected they would be.  But I also saw some beautiful sights that had nothing to do with the glacier:  the unique flora in the immediacy of the glaciers and that was unexpected.Flora, Patagonia, Serrano glacier, Chile, photo, vegetation, Canon EOS Rebel Flora, Patagonia, Serrano glacier, Chile, photo, vegetation, Canon EOS Rebel, fernFlora, Patagonia, Serrano glacier, Chile, photo, vegetation, Canon EOS Rebel, greenFlora, Patagonia, Serrano glacier, Chile, photo, vegetation, Canon EOS Rebel, bush, treeFlora, Patagonia, Serrano glacier, Chile, photo, vegetation, Canon EOS Rebel, bush, tree

Flora, Patagonia, Serrano glacier, Chile, photo, vegetation, Canon EOS Rebel, orange

No idea what this is but it is beautiful

Flora, Patagonia, Serrano glacier, Chile, photo, vegetation, Canon EOS Rebel, pink, purple

Perito Moreno Glacier: A Most Fortunate Re-Visit

Perito Moreno, glacier, South America, Patagonia, Argentina, nature, wonder, travel, photo, Olympus

The day after our memorable hike around Fitz Roy, we got to visit the famous Perito Moreno glacier an hour plus from the town of El Calafate, Argentina.  I got to visit Perito Moreno back in December 2010 and never expected to ever come back, except this Trekking for Kids trek brought me there!Perito Moreno, glacier, South America, Patagonia, Argentina, nature, wonder, travel, photo, Olympus

There were some key differences in this visit which made it certainly worthwhile to return.  Starting with the fact I was about four years older and that my cell phone camera was much more advanced too…

Perito Moreno, glacier, South America, Patagonia, Argentina, nature, wonder, travel, photo, Olympus

The side facing the bigger arm of the Lago Argentino

Perito Moreno, glacier, South America, Patagonia, Argentina, nature, wonder, travel, photo, Olympus Perito Moreno, glacier, South America, Patagonia, Argentina, nature, wonder, travel, photo, OlympusFurthermore and more significantly, this time, I got on a boat to see the glacier from another perspective:  from the south side of the Peninsula Magallanes.  It was neat to get to the glacier from one of its sides and from water level where the height of the glacier is much more impressive than from the visitor center viewing platforms.  As pure good luck, the skies cooperated with creating a nice backdrop for some of the pictures as you can see.

Perito Moreno, glacier, South America, Patagonia, Argentina, nature, wonder, travel, photo, Olympus

The dark skies and the mountains were the perfect backdrop

Perito Moreno, glacier, South America, Patagonia, Argentina, nature, wonder, travel, photo, Olympus

The shades of ice blue were stunning

Perito Moreno, glacier, South America, Patagonia, Argentina, nature, wonder, travel, photo, Olympus

The obligatory portrait of the artist…

Perito Moreno, glacier, South America, Patagonia, Argentina, nature, wonder, travel, photo, Olympus Perito Moreno, glacier, South America, Patagonia, Argentina, nature, wonder, travel, photo, Olympus Perito Moreno, glacier, South America, Patagonia, Argentina, nature, wonder, travel, photo, Olympus

The Perito Moreno glacier is known for its progression crossing the full length of the body of water at its feet to “kiss” the other side of the lake.  Eventually, the water creates a tunnel under the “front” of the glacier and, eventually, the bridge that forms over that tunnel collapses, a moment worth watching except that it takes years for that to happen and it is not really predictable as it can vary on how long (years) it takes.  In any case, when I visited in 2010, I saw the bridge/tunnel and, now, in 2015, I saw the post-bridge scenario.  Pretty cool.

Perito Moreno, glacier, South America, Patagonia, Argentina, nature, wonder, travel, photo, Olympus

2010 – The bridge

Perito Moreno, glacier, South America, Patagonia, Argentina, nature, wonder, travel, photo, Olympus

2015 – No bridge!

Visiting Perito Moreno requires the drive over to the visitor center.  Once you get there, there are facilities (coffee shop, clean bathrooms, and -of course- a gift shop).  But the main attraction is right in front of you.  I was impressed in 2010 and continued to be in 2015 with the great job done in building viewing platforms to appreciate the glacier in front of you from different angles and from different heights via a network of sidewalks, staircases (“pasarelas“) and viewing platforms.

Perito Moreno, glacier, South America, Patagonia, Argentina, nature, wonder, travel, photo, Olympus

The start of the platforms

There is an elevator shaft (appropriately designed to mimic one of the “icicles” of the glacier) that can take those with limitations a little bit further than they may be able to go on their own; additionally, to get to that spot, there are ramps (as opposed to stairs).

Perito Moreno, glacier, South America, Patagonia, Argentina, nature, wonder, travel, photo, Olympus

The tower is the elevator shaft

Of course, there is great signage explaining the various routes to take along the staircase network and offering advice/warnings as well as naming all the mountains behind the glacier.Perito Moreno, glacier, South America, Patagonia, Argentina, nature, wonder, travel, photo, Olympus

Perito Moreno, glacier, South America, Patagonia, Argentina, nature, wonder, travel, photo, Olympus

Indeed – keep your ears open for falling ice – pretty cool!

Perito Moreno, glacier, South America, Patagonia, Argentina, nature, wonder, travel, photo, Olympus

No worries, I did plenty of that!

No matter how far you get to go and explore, this glacier is truly a marvel of nature worth the drive to see firsthand.  Fortunately, I got to do that twice!

Perito Moreno, glacier, South America, Patagonia, Argentina, nature, wonder, travel, photo, Samsung

OK, I had to play with the Samsung…

On My Way Back to Trek in Patagonia

Perito Moreno, glacier, Argentina, Patagonia, nature, adventure, ice, blue, water, photo, travel

Soon, I will be headed on another travel adventure.  This one will be another trekking adventure with Trekking for Kids (TFK) with whom I climbed Mt. Kilimanjaro, hiked the Transylvanian Alps in Romania, and “pilgrimaged” on the Camino de Santiago in Spain.  I am thrilled because I get to return to a part of the world that is remote, pristine, and with which I fell in love the first time I went in 2010:  Patagonia.  No, not the store but the southern part of the continent of South America.

The trip begins in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  OK, it really begins at the Atlanta airport but that’s just a technicality.  We will spend a few days in the Argentine capital working with a local orphanage that is benefiting from our trek.  If you would like to donate to the work TFK is sponsoring, please visit my fundraising page; all donations go STRAIGHT to the orphanage, not my costs and are 100% tax-deductible in the U.S.  In any case, I have gotten to visit Buenos Aires a couple of times and it is truly a great city!

tourist, Buenos Aires, monuments, travel, photo

ilivetotravel in Buenos Aires MANY moons ago!

But I decided to take advantage of having some flexibility and will arrive a couple of days early to head over to a lesser-known jewel in neighboring Uruguay:  a colonial charming town appropriately and simply named “Colonia,” mentioned in the book 1,000 Places to See before You Die.  Not planning on dying anytime soon but better safe than sorry, no? 🙂

After the orphanage work, we will fly down to the town of El Calafate on the Argentine side of Patagonia.  From there we will hike around the iconic Fitz Roy peak and its siblings,  and visit the famous and imposing Perito Moreno glacier.

Perito Moreno, glacier, Argentina, Patagonia, nature, adventure, ice, blue, water, photo, travel

Note the size of the glacier when compared to the boat in the red circle on the upper right

After visiting the glacier park, we will transfer the next day to Puerto Natales, the Chilean town that is the real gateway to the wildness and beauty of Patagonia (I like the Chilean side better!).

Puerto Natales, Patagonia, Chile, travel, photo, Canon EOS Rebel, water, sea, mountains

At the waterfront in Puerto Natales, gateway to glacier boat tours

Puerto Natales, Patagonia, Chile, travel, photo, Canon EOS Rebel, architecture

Example of the local architecture in Puerto Natales

I stayed in Puerto Natales when I visited in 2010 and there is something about its remoteness, its simplicity that was charming to me.  From there, we will launch our trek to the impressive Torres del Paine, surrounded by lakes and glaciers.  Our route is the typical route to trek there – it is called the “W” route.  Take a look at the map (with the route in red) and you will see where the name comes from!

W circuit, Patagonia, Chile, Torres del Paine, hiking, trekking, glacier, lake, Pehoe, Grey, Nordenskjold, map

The W circuit

I am thrilled at this upcoming adventure and have tons to do to prepare.  I also wonder if I am physically ready enough as I will be needing to carry about 30 lbs on my back – a first for me in any of my hikes.  Wish me luck and stay tuned for future write-ups on the experience!

 

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