Want to get up close and personal with one of the most fascinating glaciers in the world? Then the Big Ice Perito Moreno excursion is for you!
There are many different tours that go from Calafate to see Perito Moreno, but this is the only one where you will actually go all the way in. Additionally, there is a mini trekking excursion allowing you to walk allow the glacier itself. But the Big Ice excursion is a true step up, and will allow you to go deep into the glacier for an intense and incredible experience.
Want to know all about what to expect? Well then keep reading for everything to know about taking the Big Ice excursion to Perito Moreno Glacier.
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How to Book the Big Ice Perito Moreno Excursion
The Big Ice Perito Moreno excursion is only done by one company, so it makes it pretty easy when it comes to booking! The company that operates this tour is Hielo y Aventura (Ice & Adventure, but can also be booked through third parties.
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We booked easily online through PatagoniaChic. This is a great site to use to make sure your tours line up. It shows the dates that each is available, and let's you do a customizable itinerary.
This is an excursion with a small group, and only goes out once a day. Therefore, you must book well in advance to ensure that you'll be able to get a spot to do the tour.
You can also book quickly by clicking one of the links down below:
Big Ice Perito Moreno: Excursion Price
This is one of the most expensive excursions to Perito Moreno Glacier, and it is pretty clear why.
Hiking along a glacier is a once-in-a-lifetime experience, and definitely one for the bucket list. There is a lot of expensive equipment needed, and a lot that goes into the tour. The price of the tour without transportation (which we will get into next) is 36,500 pesos. This comes out to about $133 USD if you pay in dollars, and about $365 USD if you pay with credit card.
You may be wondering why the hell there is such a big difference. Well this is due to a very special economic situation in Argentina. The dollar is in high demand, so if you pay anything in dollars cash it is basically 50% off. When we went in January, the exchange was 200 to 1, and it is still on the rise.
Tickets can include transportation to the park and back, or be sold without the transportation included. The "Trasalados" (transfers) are an extra 3,000 pesos. While we normally like to go to spots on our own, we found that adding the traslados was definitely the best option if you don't have a car.
The buses in Calafate to Parque de los Glacieres are not currently running, so the only other way to get to the meeting point is with a taxi or rental car. Both of these options end up being much more expensive.
The awesome thing about getting the transfer is that they come directly to your accommodation to both pick you up and drop you off.
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Another important thing to note is that park entrances are not included in the excursion. This is pretty typical of all tours that go from Calafate to the Glacier park. There are different prices for locals, nationals, and foreigners. You can check below to see the differences in price.
The second day of entry into the park is 50% off. Make sure to keep your receipt to get your discount if you go more than once.
The Big Ice Perito Moreno Excursion: What to Expect
Now that you are about to start the excursion, we're going to give you a look into what the actual day will look like.
6:45- 7:00 am Pick Up Time: A small van will personally come to pick you and each of the other passengers up. This can vary by 15-20 minutes depending on if you are one of the first or one of the last ones to be picked up.
8:00- 8:15 Arrival to the Park: The van will stop at the entrance of the park and you will need to pay for the ticket to enter. The price is separate from the price of the excursion, which is very typical of tours from Calafate. Take a look at the chart below to know how much you'll have to pay for your day pass.
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Starting the Excursion
8:15- 8:45 Driving to the Pasarelas: The drive from the beginning of the park to the Pasarelas (board walks) is about 20-30 minutes. The guide will be explaining a little bit about Perito Moreno Glacier.
Sit on the left side of the bus and have your camera ready. The views are stunning!
8:45 Arrival to Las Pasarelas: The Pasarelas are the first stop of the Big Ice Perito Moreno Tour, and are included in many excursions from Calafate. There are quite a few circuits, and plenty of great views of the glacier from here. The guide will tell you the best spots to go, and leave everyone to explore on their own for 45 minutes.
9:30 Departure from Las Pasarelas: Now everyone will need to meet back and head back to the bus. The next stop will be the pier, which is just a further bit back on the road towards the entrance.
9:45 Departure from the pier: Everyone will board the small boat that will transfer the tour to the beginning of where the trek will begin. It takes about 10-15 minutes, and has some pretty beautiful views. There is indoor seating, and a small area on the back if you want to stand outside.
The Big Ice Perito Moreno Excursion
10:00- 10:30 Starting the Big Ice Perito Moreno Excursion: Now that you arrived you are almost ready to start your trek! First the guides will ensure that everyone is properly dressed, and grab extra gloves or jackets for those that didn't bring. It's important to be prepared, as the weather can change quite a bit.
We're going to let you know everything you need to be prepared to do the Big Ice hike later in the article.
Once everyone is ready to go, the group will split in two, with about 10 people in each group.
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10:30- 11:30 Hiking to the viewpoint: In the beginning of the hike you will stop for special equipment for the trek, and then begin to walk towards the area of the glacier where you will be trekking.
In the beginning of the glacier, you'll find groups climbing along the ice already. These people are there doing the mini trekking, which is a different excursion with the same company.
The hike will continue alongside the glacier, so that you can start trekking further in. There is also a small part where the trek goes up so that you can get a great view of Perito Moreno.
Big Ice Perito Moreno Glacier Viewpoint
11:30 The viewpoint: This is the first time where the group will actually stop for a minute. Grab your camera and enjoy the picturesque background of Perito Moreno Glacier behind you.
11:30- 12:15 The final trek to the start: Now you will pick up the rest of the equipment to be able to walk along the ice. There will also be parts of this trek where you will hiking via ferrata (connected to cables).
12:15 Getting ready to cross to the glacier: Once the group arrives to the starting point, the guides will help get everyone well equipped with the footwear that will be attached to your sneakers. They are metal and have spikes on the bottom so that you can safely walk along the ice.
Before starting, the guides will teach everyone how to properly walk so that you don't injure yourself.
Trekking Big Ice Perito Moreno Glacier
12:15- 1:00 Trekking along the ice: Now is the fun part! You will start exploring the glacier of Perito Moreno. The guides will show you around the caves and streams of water while trekking through the ice. It is pretty intense, but so such an incredible experience.
1:00- 1:30 Lunch: After all the trekking you will work up quite the appetite! The group will stop and everyone will have their lunch. This is not included, so you must bring your own.
1:30- 2:30 Pictures: For the first half of the excursion, there is very little time to be able to stop and take photos. But now is your chance! The groups will wander around the area, and you'll have opportunities to capture the beauty around you.
2:30 Heading Back: Now is time to head back. You'll be walking on the same path back towards where you began.
You'll give back the equipment in the different stops, and walk back to the beginning of the trail, arriving around 4:00.
4:00- 4:45 Coffee: Once arriving back, the guides will split ways, and you'll walk back towards the refuge. Here there will be complimentary coffee, and all groups of mini trekking and Big Ice will warm up while waiting for the boat back. This is also when you'll be returning any items you borrowed such as jackets or gloves.
Finishing the Big Ice Perito Moreno Excursion
4:45- 5:00 Boat ride back: Congratulations you completed the Big Ice Trekking Excursion! You'll be rewarded with a small gold keychain, as well as a shot of whiskey served over ice from the glacier itself.
5:00- 6:30 The bus ride back: After a short boat ride you'll go back to your bus that is waiting. The ride will be quiet and smooth, with most people sleeping.
6:30 Hotel Drop Off: Now the driver will bring back each passenger to his/her designated hotel.
Now you know exactly what to expect during your Big Ice Excursion! Let's check out some other things you'll want to know before going.
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Big Ice Perito Moreno: Best Time to Go
Many places close in the winter, as the temperatures drop very low, and tourism is not nearly as high. With most excursions, you can start visiting from the spring time (mid October) up until the fall (around Easter time). However, we suggest that for the Big Ice Excursion you plan to go in the summer.
Even visiting in the summer (January), we had very cold temperatures, and even a point that it was snowing and very windy. For the best opportunities to have warmer weather you'll want to visit anywhere from December to February.
Keep in mind though, that the summer is the busiest, so you'll have to reserve in advance!
Big Ice Perito Moreno: How to Prepare
There are quite a few things you'll need to know before doing the Big Ice Perito Moreno Excursion. This certainly isn't for everyone, and you must prepare yourself well before going. Here are a few things you should bring to be best prepared.
This is the most crucial thing to know in order to be prepared for the Big Ice Excursion. The weather can change quite a bit, from sunny to snowy. When you are trekking, chances are you won't want to wear a ton of layers because you might get hot. However, once you stop for lunch, you'll really want to bundle up.
You may be thinking that it's cold so you won't need it. Well the glacier is dangerous, because the sun reflects off of it and can be really harmful to your skin. Make sure to bring sunscreen for your face so you don't get super burnt like us.
The reflection from the ice makes it super bright out. Make sure to bring sunglasses so you don't hurt your eyes.
Refillable Water Bottle
This is a must! You'll need to stay hydrated with all of the physical activity that you'll endure. But bring a refillable one so that you can fill up your bottle with the water from the glacier! It's the best water you'll ever have. We use 17oz Double Wall Vacuum Insulated Stainless Steel Water Bottle" class="" style="outline: none;" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Cafago Water Bottles because they hold the temperature.
Having a good set of gloves is super important. Make sure to bring ones that are waterproof.
We were so happy we brought an extra pair of socks. The thing is, you'll be hiking in whatever footwear you bring, and just have spikes strapped to the bottom. Chances are your feet will be cold and a little wet by the end of the excursion, and it'll be an uncomfortable ride home without some fresh socks.
A Meal and Snacks
The food is not included, so it's very important to bring food. There also isn't a restaurant where you can buy food. So make sure to have enough food to get you through a full day. For snacks we suggest things that are filling and not liquid based, such as protein bars or trail mix.
With the cold temperatures your phone battery will drain much faster. We always use Anker Homepage" style="outline: none;">Anker power banks as they are the longest lasting.
There is so much to capture on this excursion, and leaving your camera out isn't recommended. Having an action camera will allow you to capture a lot, and use your time efficiently.
We use the Insta 360 X3 because it has an invisible selfie stick you can attach.
You're going to be carrying quite a few things, so a small. backpack will make your life a hell of a lot easier to carry all you have.
Here are a few of our favorite backpacks that we use:
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Big Ice. Perito Moreno: Other Things to Know
Now you know everything you need to bring, but there's a few more things to keep in mind! Here are a couple of other things to know before doing the Big Ice Perito Moreno Excursion.
You Need to Be Physically Fit
The Big Ice Excursion certainly isn't an easy one. It's a whole day excursion, and is one of the most intense in all of Calafate.
There is a health waiver that needs to be filled before going, as those going need to be in good shape, and ready for a day full of activities.
Ditch the Tripod & Drone
The only thing that we wish was different on this excursion was having a little more time to stop and have time to enjoy the surroundings. We carried our tripod around with us for hours, and were only able to use it once. At that rate, we would've been better off just getting someone to take a picture for us.
Drones are also forbidden in the National Park, so this is another thing to keep in mind. We even tried getting special permission from the government, since we were working with the tourism board of Calafate. Even then it was a hard no.
We do however suggest bringing your camera and a GoPro! You'll really love the amazing photo opportunities in and our the glacier of Perito Moreno.
Is the Big Ice Perito Moreno Excursion Worth it?
All in all, the Big Ice Perito Moreno Excursion is definitely a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity. If you're fit and want to have a unique experience, then this is definitely one for the bucket list.
Make sure to get plenty of rest before, and pack accordingly. We know you'll truly love this excursion!
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Perito Moreno is one of the most fascinating places we've ever seen, and can be seen at a number of different angles, through various activities. We had the pleasure of visiting it by kayaking, by cruise, and with the Big Ice Perito Moreno Excursion.
Want to know about the other excursions? Check out our other blog articles about Calafate! Planning on visiting other parts of Argentina? Well we also have you covered with our full guides for Buenos Aires and Iguazu Falls.
Ready to plan your next trip but want some help? We got your back! Now with Scratch Your Mapa Travel Planning you can explore more and spend much less. Want to learn how? Take a look at the different travel planning packages that we have.
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