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It’s hard for many people from the “Old World” to envision the vast people-less places of the Americas, especially the closer one travels to the poles. It’s equally empty in northern North America (Alaska, the Yukon and Northwest Territories) as it is in southern South America (Patagonia).
There are stretches of road in these remote areas regions where you might not encounter a petro station for hundreds of kilometers (don’t worry, signs will warn you in advance so you’d need to be a fool to run out of gas). No towns, often not even a rancher, to be found as far as the eye can see.
When visiting Patagonia, we made a rather long drive from Argentinian Patagonia to Chilean Patagonia. A …
Situated close to the small Argentinean town of El Chalten is Lake Viedma, a large glacial lake. You can take a boat tour to visit the largest glacier in the Southern Patagonia Ice Field, the Viedma Glacier, from a dock on the northwestern shore of the lake, near El Chalten (which you can reach by bus from town).
The following overview photo, courtesy of NASA, will help orient you a little better. Viedma Lake is obvious, as is the Patagonian Icefield. The Viedma Glacier is at 12 o’clock in this photo (actually direction is west). The boat launch is in the little thumb at the top right of the lake at about one o’clock. El Chalten is in a non-snow …
Our next stop in Patagonia is the small town of El Chaltén in Argentina. This town rests in the rain shadow of the massive spires of the Patagonian Andes and is a dry, windy and cool place.
The region around El Chaltén is part of Los Glaciares National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and is very remote. It is usually reached by taking the bus or driving from El Calafate some 220 km to the south, El Calafate itself a remote town which we’ve previously discussed here.
The town resides in a glaciated valley adjoining the Rio de las Vueltas. The most dramatic aspect of El Chaltén is the beautiful mountains that frame it to the west, including the amazingly steep and narrow spire …
Our adventure in Patagonia is just beginning! We’re going to start visiting and exploring those places people travel thousands of miles to see. El Calafate may be a pretty little town but no one comes to Patagonia just to see it. They come here to experience the magnificent landscapes of the Andes, the extensive Patagonian ice-fields, and the vast barren steppe. The main Patagonian attraction close to El Calafate is the Perito Merino Glacier in Los Glaciares National Park, which is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Glaciares National Park entrance is about an hour’s drive west of El Calafate . You’ll drive mostly near the shore of Lago Argentino, the majestic Andes coming ever nearer. We saw …
My first Patagonian post was an introduction to the travel hub of El Calafate. Today’s post focuses on the town’s best attraction. Situated about a mile from downtown El Calafate, very close to the hotel we were staying at, Laguna Nimez Nature Reserve is a beautiful place worth exploring. It’s especially a prime stop for bird-lovers, but also offers a nice easy hike in a natural setting. The Reserve is situated at the edge of a great glacial lake, Lago Argentino, and adjoins a suburban neighborhood. It contains two lagoons, Laguna Nimez and Laguna Secundaria.
The Reserve is fenced off and you enter through a small visitor center where a modest admission fee is charged. Signage outside the …