Exploring Patagonia | Perito Moreno Glacier | Los Glaciares National Park | El Calafate, Argentina | Destination Adventure Wedding Photographer
I've been sharing a series of blog posts from our adventures in Patagonia. We flew into El Calafate, Argentina and rented a car for a cross-country road trip through Argentina and Chile that brought us to deserts, mountains, glaciers, waterfalls, and just about everything in between. It was incredible! To see an overview of our entire trip via Instagram posts, head to this blog.
After our 36 hours of travel (including a 19-hour layover in Buenos Aires!) we finally arrived in El Calafate, Argentina for the first leg of our three week trip around Patagonia! First things first, for those who don't know, Patagonia is a region (not just a nature-minded, well-run, politically-amazing clothing store) in the southern tip of South America. It spans both southern Argentina and Chile. The best way I can describe it is when you think of the "Pacific Northwest" you know it's referring to Washington, Oregon, and Northern California. The PNW is a region, not a state. Patagonia is a region, not a country. Make sense? So on our trip, we actually explored across Argentina and Chile, crossing the border a total of 4 times!
Anyway - back to arriving in El Calafate completely haggard from all of the travel. The airport shuttle bus dropped us off in town with all of our stuff and we began wandering with plans of finding a rental car so we could get started on our road trip. It was pretty exhausting (carrying all of our stuff in a new unfamiliar town) and much hotter than we anticipated. Gumbie move number 1 - I had really only checked weather for El Chalten which is much closer to the mountains. El Calafate was sitting at a cool 80+ degrees (we were dressed for highs in the 60s). Gumbie move number 2 - we didn't rent a car ahead of time. After getting shut down at 4 different places that were rented out for a MONTH, we finally found a little hole-in-the-wall car rental company that had what we needed...sort of. Our plan had been to embark on our giant roadtrip the next day, but the only car available for the next 5 days wasn't permitted to cross the border, so we adjusted the plans and decided to rent Clio #1 the following day and explore Argentina first, then come back for Clio #2 to drive to Chile. But neither car was available that day, so we walked a few more blocks and found ourselves a place with a bed and shower to crash.
We got super lucky and found these amazing little Cabanitas! They were the cutest A Frame cabins with just enough room to spread out, wash up, and get stoked for the first road trip. After dropping our stuff and refreshing a little bit, we walked around town that evening get a feel of the area. I discovered that every town in Patagonia has tons of dogs running around, all of which were sweet independent bois that need no man. We also discovered our beloved "burger boy" -- we always try to find the greasy, hometown burger joint in every town we visit and were pretty thrilled to find one (Wally Burger) all the way in Argentina! It wasn't the best burger I've had...but it did the trick.
The next morning, we snagged our rental car early and drove straight to Perito Moreno Glacier in Los Glaciares National Park. It was really amazing to hike around the peninsula and take in the massive glacier. I could've spent hours there watching pieces break off and hearing the ice crack far in the distance. It was surreal to finally be seeing a glacier this close, looking this alive! Next time we come out here, I really want to do the tour where you get to walk out on it. As a wedding photographer, I'm always thinking of rad new ideas for adventure elopements and I couldn't help but dream of shooting an elopement on a glacier one day!
The colors were absolutely beautiful. I couldn't get over how vast it all felt, standing up above the glacier and seeing how deep into the mountains it goes. I was absolutely amazed by how alive it felt, always changing, breaking, and moving. We saw from photos that in previous years it had a giant arch formed in the ice that apparently broke off in 2016, so not very long ago! It made me realize how fragile these giants are, and how badly I want to see them while they're still here. I'm definitely glad we'll be driving to Alaska this July to see more glaciers! I love that we'll be chasing the summer sun this year - spending the southern hemisphere's summer in Patagonia and the norther hemisphere's summer in Alaska...what a life!
My final prognosis - Perito Moreno Glacier is definitely touristy, and the hike in the main area doesn't feel wild at all (you're on a metal boardwalk of sorts the whole time), but it was 100% worth being that close to the glacier! I highly reccomend this stop, especially since it's so close to El Calafate! If I go again, it'll be to walk on the glacier with one of the tours.
The Hearnes Adventure Photography is run by Abbi and Callen Hearne, a husband & wife wedding photography team with an emphasis on adventure. They live on the road as full-time nomads in their big white van, allowing them to serve a large portion of the western US including California, Utah, Oregon, Washington, Arizona, Colorado, and Wyoming. They believe love is the greatest adventure and strive to create photos that are epic, romantic, true, and timeless.