From Bariloche we took an hour and a half flight south to El Calafate, Argentina. This is a beautiful small town in the southern region of Patagonia. El Calafate is very developed for both it's small size and very remote location. The development is due to the tremendous draw of tourists every year to see it's main attraction, the Perito Moreno glacier.
There are several ways to view the glacier, we opted for the ice trek tour. The glacier is about an hour bus ride out of town. The bus ride alone was worth the price of admission. The bright red changing colors of fall popped on the vast landscape of Patagonia. After the bus ride we took a boat across the lake to the north side of the glacier.
Once we arrived the shore, we hiked to the glacier and put on crampons. We trekked on the glacier surface, negotiating the pools, crevasses and steep slopes. The ice trek was sensational. The ice was absolutely beautiful, gleaming and sparkling several shades from white to turquoise to midnight blue. You could here ice cracking as it slowly crept down the mountain side, occasionally producing thunderous booms as the ice towers came crashing down in the distance.
It's no mystery why thousands of people flock from all parts of the globe to El Calafate. This is place is very remote, but by no means "off the beaten path." Don't let its popularity deter you from putting it on your wish list. This was an unforgettable experience that is easily a highlight of our trip. We actually would have liked to stay longer, the country is pristine. Next time, we'd love to rent a car, bring our tripod and explore a little more.