Our first excursion in El Calafate took us to this National Park. After a short bus ride to Puerto Bandera, we embarked our boat, the Quo Vadis, a state of the art catamaran designed for 310 people, for the trip on Lago Argentino. Although we knew we would get to see some of the most spectacular glaciers on this globe, we were overwhelmed by the sheer magnitude of the glaciers and incredible display of colors.
Soon after starting the boat trip, we passed large icebergs floating in the milky, green water heralding the nearby glaciers. The first one we saw from the distance was Glaciar Upsala, but before going closer we disembarked on the shore of Lago Argentino. A one kilometer hike took us to Lago Onelli. From there you have a great view of Glaciar Agassiz, Glaciar Boldado and Glaciar Onelli. With this scenic backdrop, we settled down to have lunch and take photos.
After this two hour break, we went back to the boat and finally approached Glaciar Upsala, the biggest glacier in South America. Actually it is a branched valley fed by several other glaciers. Its size is simply enormous: 3 to 5 kilometers wide, 60 meters high, with a surface of 600 square kilometers. The boat went up really close, providing an overwhelming view of the glacier. This was definitely the highlight of this excursion.
Later on, we passed Glaciar Spegazzini and Glaciar Seco, each different in its very way, but every time an amazing sight that we truly enjoyed.
We spent most of the day on deck enjoying this unique landscape. Even though it is mass tourism, with four boats leaving each day with each around 200 to 250 people on board, this tour will remain as one of the highlights of our trip through Argentina and South America.
Another reason why we enjoyed this tour so much was that all glaciers except Perito Moreno are receding at a worrying pace. If this current trend remains, there will no longer be any glacier in Patagonia in about 20 to 25 years, creating a major problem for the whole region, since all fresh water comes from these glaciers.