Visit the Glaciers of Patagonia in Chile
(24/09/2011)With global warming starting to affect the southern ice fields, now is a good time to visit Chile to see the glaciers of Patagonia. The massive Patagonian ice field covers much more of Chile than of Argentina, so it’s no surprise that the lakes and fjords of southern Chile offer a great opportunity to see, hear and even walk on some massive glaciers on your Patagonia vacation.
Most of the big Chilean glaciers are so remote they have to be accessed by ship; one magical exception though is Glacier Grey in Torres del Paine National Park.
For hardy hikers who attempting the full hiking circuit around the park (8 days), crossing the John Garner Pass to look down over the huge expanse of white and blue ice is a remarkable experience. To then spend the rest of the afternoon watching ice blocks gently float along Lago Grey, a fitting rest to a long and arduous hike. You don’t need to hike 8 days to get there though, you can also take a regular boat trip up to the glacier, including the chance to disembark and hike around a bit. Torres del Paine can be visited as a day trip from the town of Puerto Natales, or there are comfortable hostels and hotels within the National Park. The nearest regular flights from Santiago are to Punta Arenas.
Visit Torres del Paine in our Circuit of Chile Tour
Located just outside Torres del Paine National Park are the Balamanca and Serrano Glaciers. A full day trip from Puerto Natales takes you up Last Hope Sound by boat to visit the glaciers; or the trip can be done en route to Torres del Paine.
The San Rafael Glacier is so important it has a whole National Park named after it and is in itself a World Heritage Site. A stop at the San Rafael Glacier is a must on any visit to the fjords of Chilean Patagonia in order to see how icebergs calve (or fall off) into the water from its front wall. Visit San Rafael Glacier on a full day catamaran tour from the town of Balmaceda, which has an airport; or as part of a multi day cruise through the fjords of Patagonia. These small boat cruises last around 5 days and start in the Chilean town of Puerto Montt.
One Patagonian cruise route takes you around Cape Horn; from Ushuaia in the far south of Argentina to Punta Arenas . A memorable stop on this cruise of penguins, sea lions and dramatic seascapes, is the Pia Glacier. In the Pia fjord off the Beagle Channel in the far south of Patagonia is a whole avenue of glaciers with the Pia Glacier at a height of a massive 100 meters, being the highest in South America.
Whichever glacier you visit on your Patagonia vacation you are sure to stand in silence as you listen to the thunderous noises as huge pieces of ice, built up over centuries, crash into the waters below.
Ask us how we can customise your tour of Patagonia.