El Calafate’s big draw is the nearby Perito Moreno glacier, a massive wall of ice that – unlike many other glaciers – seems to be holding steady, neither advancing nor receding. From the South Patagonian Ice Field it spills down into a lake before nearly crashing into a small peninsula, making it easy to get close-up views without having to board a boat (although many people do take a boat tour as well).
When I visited Perito Moreno in 2011 the weather was miserable – gray, drizzling skies and cold winds. This time I gave myself two full days in El Calafate, hoping the sun would break through at some point.
On my first day I made it to the glacier by mid-morning only to find the exact same weather I had in 2011 – a sky full of clouds, frigid wind, light rain. Crap! I still enjoyed seeing the glacier, but it would have been more fun to find out what Perito Moreno looks like in the sunlight.
The weather forecast said to expect more of the same the next day, and – sure enough – after breakfast a quick look at the dark sky confirmed the gloomy prediction. I didn’t even bother going back to the glacier.
The following morning I boarded a bus for El Chalten and hoped I’d have better luck with Fitz Roy.