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The Perito Moreno Glacier in Argentina is one of the most spectacular places to visit in Patagonia. This huge chunk of ice is both very unique and extremely impressive to see.
I have personally visited this glacier twice now and honestly, I would love to come back again – it’s just that breathtaking!
When it came to visiting the Perito Moreno Glacier for the second time, it was a breeze. I knew where to go, what to do, and how to do it for a very reasonable price. Plus, I had my own rental car which made getting to the glacier a breeze!
But, as you can imagine my first time didn’t go that way.
That’s why I’ve decided to write this blog about how to get to Perito Moreno Glacier. Because let’s face it, for most, it’s your first time here, and I want your experience to be as magical as mine!
Here’s a guide on how to get to Perito Moreno Glacier, and more specifically, how to get from El Calafate to Perito Moreno.
Where is Perito Moreno Glacier Located
Perito Moreno Glacier is located in the southern region of Patagonia in Los Glaciares National Park.
The closest town to Perito Moreno Glacier is El Calafate. El Calafate is a small touristic town is located only 80 km (50 mi) from the glacier and is the best place to stay to visit Perito Moreno. Besides visiting the glacier, there are lots of fun things to do in El Calafate and I recommend spending a couple of nights there to take it all in.
Despite what the name suggests, the town called “Perito Moreno” is located 595 kilometers (370 miles) north of the glacier and is not at all a good place to base yourself to explore the glacier.
Getting to El Calafate
To first step to getting to Perito Moreno Glacier is to get yourself to the town of El Calafate. El Calafate is easily reached by bus from the neighboring towns of El Chalten, Argentina, or Puerto Natales, Chile.
Both bus routes are common and although I recommend booking your ticket in advance during peak season (November to March) you should have plenty of choices when it comes to departure times.
A trusted website we used to book buses is BusBud and for shuttle routes going to and from popular locations, we use Bookaway.
For a little more freedom, consider renting a car and driving yourself. We rented a car in Patagonia for a couple of weeks and loved it! Plus, as you read further down in this blog you’ll realize that a rental car just makes things a whole lot easier in general.
Getting from El Calafate to Perito Moreno Glacier
From El Calafate, it takes about 1 hour to reach the Los Glaciares National Park entrance gates by car. From there, it’s another 30 minutes to get to Perito Moreno Glacier via a paved, but a windy road.
There are many ways to get to the Perito Moreno Glacier but not all are equally as good. Of course, your decision will likely come down to budget, whether you are doing a tour, group size, and the overall experience you’re after.
Here are the 5 different ways to get from El Calafate to Perito Moreno Glacier:
1. Rent a car and drive yourself
The first option is to rent a car and drive yourself. I personally chose this option the second time I visited Perito Moreno and loved it!
For one, I got to visit the glacier first thing in the morning when almost no one else was there (arguably the best time to visit Perito Moreno.) And two, I could stay as long as I wanted and had way more freedom overall!
Another benefit was that I actually saved money. The reason being is that I did the glacier Mini Trekking Tour on Perito Moreno and that tour offered transport at a cost of $32 USD extra per person. There were 4 of us so that would’ve cost us $128 USD extra!
My rental car only cost me $40 USD per day (over a 10-day rental).
There are some things to know about renting a car in Patagonia. Rental cars vary in price and depending on how far in advance you book it, the duration of booking, the season your visiting in, and the car you choose. The cheapest place I found was on Discover Cars. They also have great customer service!
On this website, you can compare hundreds of suppliers so you get the best deal. Airport Car Rentals is also a very safe and easy-to-use website!
For a one-day rental in town with 1.5 months’ notice, expect to pay around $60 USD. This is much cheaper than the bus, especially for a group of people.
My recommendation is to rent your car for a few days (or your whole trip like I did) so it’s not only cheaper, but you can check out some of the other awesome things to do in El Calafate!
Plus, what could be better than a Patagonia road trip?!
2. Take a taxi
The second option is to take a taxi to Perito Moreno from El Calafate. The first time I visited this is what I did and in my opinion, it’s a great way to get to Perito Moreno Glacier from El Calafate!
Between 4 people, this will work out to cost about the same as the bus and a little more than the rental car. But the upside is that you’ll be able to take your time and visit at one of the less busy times (like first thing in the morning or the late afternoon) and won’t have to worry about driving.
You’ll have to negotiate the price and it will depend on how long you spend at the glacier, but expect to pay around $100 USD. I paid only $80 USD 3 years ago with a little tough bargaining.
This option won’t make sense if you’re planning on joining a cruise or trekking tour as the taxi driver will have the wait around for a long time and this will cost you significantly more. However, if you just want to walk the boardwalk for 2 hours or so then this is a good option.
3. Take the bus
The third option is to take the large buses from the main bus terminal in El Calafate. This option gives you the least amount of freedom but for a solo traveler or couple, it could be the cheapest and most convenient option.
The return bus ticket to Perito Moreno from El Calafate costs about $30 USD per person. There are various departure and return times to choose from. You can book your tickets directly at the bus terminal in El Calafate or through your hotel.
You can also book this shuttle bus from El Calafate to Perito Moreno online if you prefer to have your tickets secured in advance. Prices will vary based on the dates entered.
The cheapest option to get to Perito Moreno is to hitchhike. Of course, this option means you’re at the mercy of others but if you get onto the main highway out of El Calafate at around 7:30 am I am sure you will eventually find a ride.
Lots of people drive this way and almost all of them are going to Perito Moreno Glacier, so just make a sign so your intentions are clear and go for it!
Of course, make sure you allow lots of time on the way back so you don’t get stuck in the park.
5. Tours from El Calafate to Perito Moreno Glacier
A very easy way to get to Perito Moreno Glacier and Los Glaciares National Park is on an organized tour. This way, you’ll get transport to the glacier as well as a knowledgeable guide to show you around.
Plus when you consider the price of the bus, you can actually get a full-day organized guided tour for only a few dollars more.
There are lots of great Perito Moreno Glacier tours to choose from. I did the glacier mini-trekking and it was a blast.
With this tour, you’ll be picked up from your hotel and transported from El Calafate to the National Park to meet your guide. From there you’ll be free to walk along the different trail balconies for view.
Next, you’ll be transported 6 km (3.7 mi) to the Bajo las Sombrasto pier where you’ll spend around 20 mins going across the Brazo Rico for stunning views of the glacier. Finally, the trekking part of the tour begins! You’ll put on your crampons and learn how to use them before beginning the glacier walk. After you’re finished a return trip back is included. You can reserve your spot on this tour here in advance.
Otherwise, you can simply choose a guided tour like this one that just goes from your hotel to the glacier boardwalks and viewpoints. The boat tour at the end is an optional upgrade activity making this tour very versatile depending on your budget and schedule.
Even though there is no trekking on this tour it is pretty much still a full-day activity and it is a bit cheaper than the glacier trekking one.
Note: this tour does not include is the admission price to enter Los Glaciares. It will be an additional fee of 4000 ARS or $23.50 USD (as of September 2022) which is the same one-time rate I mentioned below. It can only be paid in person with cash or by credit or debit card.
Related Read: Checkout what we feel to be the most amazing things to do in Patagonia!
Entrance Fees and Other Info About Los Glaciares National Park
The entrance fee (as of September 2022) to Los Glaciers National Park is 4000 ARS (Argentine Pesos) or $23.50 USD. This entrance fee is only valid for 1 day. However, your second consecutive day entrance fee is reduced to only 2000 ARS ($11.80 USD). This is only valid for the very next day (and then on the third, you will have to pay 4000 ARS again.)
The entrance fee can be paid in cash or with a credit or debit card at the national park entrance gate.
The gate to the national park opens at 8 am and closes at 6 pm (summer) and 9 am to 4 pm (winter.) But, you can stay in the park for two hours after the last entrance time.
From the entrance gate, you are 30 kilometers (18.6 miles) from the glacier which takes around 30 minutes to drive due to the windy road. Along this road, there are also other viewpoints of the glacier that are clearly marked.
Please Note: Due to hyperinflation in Argentina, the entrance fees continue to rise in Argentine Pesos but more or less cost the same when converting to an international currency based on my visit from 3 years ago.
The Perito Moreno Viewpoint and Boardwalk
The most commonplace to see Perito Moreno Glacier is from the boardwalk, often referred to as “the viewpoint.” It is important to understand that these are the same thing.
If you take a taxi, bus, tour, or drive yourself this boardwalk will be your end destination to check out Perito Moreno. Even glacier trekking tours make a stop at this boardwalk before returning to El Calafate.
The Perito Moreno Boardwalk is not one small viewing platform, but rather a 4-kilometer-long (2.5 miles) stretch of boardwalk offering multiple viewing platforms all with different angles from which you can see the glacier.
Navigating the Perito Moreno Boardwalk
Once you arrive at the Perito Moreno Boardwalk/viewpoint, you’ll be dropped off at the north edge of the boardwalk in a large parking lot. On the map above you can see this area labeled as “Lower right side”.
From this parking lot, you have two options:
- Get on the boardwalk straight away and begin walking the blue track (on the map above) towards the yellow and black tracks. This walk is about 1.5-2 km long (0.9-1.24 mi).
- Take a free shuttle that will drive you to the “Upper left side” (labeled on the map) and begin exploring the boardwalk from there.
Please Note: Both of these options also work for getting back to the main car parking lot when you’re ready to leave.
All of the different colored paths link up one way or another and there are maps and information posted along the way so you won’t get lost.
In my opinion, the yellow and orange trails have the best views. So, if you’re short on time, consider skipping the blue and instead take the shuttle straight to the black and explore from there.
Where to Stay in El Calafate
Budget Hostels in El Calafate
Hostel Lago Argentino – This hostel is a good cheap option that I have stayed at before. The hostel includes a nice breakfast, a large kitchen, and helpful staff. The location is also central!
Red House Hostel – This highly rated hostel comes at a really cheap price. The hostel is very well designed, clean, comfortable, and has a great social atmosphere.
Folk Hostel – This is one of the best budget hostels in El Calafate. It’s a great option (if it’s available.) The staff are amazing, the facilities are modern and clean, and the location is perfect! Folk Hostel can also be booked on Hostelworld here.
Mid Budget Hotels
Posada Karut Josh – This small little hotel is located as close as you can get to the middle of town and Argentino Lake. It’s simple but clean and a great place to stay for those looking to be close to town.
Posada Larsen – A nice cozy hotel surrounded by mountains and a garden. There is a 24-hour help desk and they offer a traditional Patagonian breakfast. There are amazing reviews about the staff who go out of their way for guests.
Del Glaciar Libertador Hotel – Simple hotel located only 10 minutes from town. Includes a good breakfast and they also have an amazing social bar and restaurant.
Aparts Calafate Suites – This place rents self-contained apartments for optimal privacy. The apartments are modern, well furnished, and perfect for those wanting more comfort and quality in El Calafate.
Boutique Hotel La Cantera – If you really want a slice of luxury then this hotel is one of the best options. The building itself is stunning and the location and views are amazing. They serve a buffet breakfast and have their own restaurant and bar.
Travel Insurance is more important than ever right now!
If you’re traveling during these uncertain times, be sure that you have travel insurance!
SafetyWing is our go-to insurance when we are going on longer trips. They offer travel medical insurance that’s super affordable (only $42 USD per 4 weeks!) and even have coverage in case you get that dreaded c-word. The only thing to note is that the insurance must be purchased once you’ve left your home country – we typically buy it as soon as we land at the airport.
We’ve personally used SafetyWing for many different trips, and we’ve been reimbursed for countless expenses when we’ve fallen ill. SafetyWing even covered our flights back to Canada in full when the pandemic first happened (when last-minute flights before the borders closed were super expensive!)
It’s safe to say that travel insurance has saved us thousands over the years!
Thanks for reading!
Thanks so much for visiting our travel blog! We really hope you found what you were looking for and now have all the info you need to enjoy an epic trip to the Perito Moreno Glacier!
Please, if you have any questions leave them below and we will get back to you!
Be sure to also browse all of our blogs about Perito Moreno Glacier! You can read more informative blogs about Patagonia or Chile or Argentina! Otherwise, check out some of our personal favorites:
Guide to Hiking the Torres del Paine W Trek
Wednesday 22nd of March 2023
This is great information, thanks! I have a couple questions: 1. If driving your own rental car to Perito Moreno, how did you arrange for the discount on the mini trekking tour? I don't see how a discount would be applied when making reservations online for the tour. 2. Again, if driving out to the glacier, how hard is it to meet up with your mini trekking tour at the boat. I imagine there are multiple tour buses and tons of people milling around, so how do we catch up with our particular group?
Thursday 23rd of March 2023
I have noticed this and from what I can tell they no longer do it. Maybe we told too many people. Still, driving yourself is so much better.
You just drive to the dock at the time you are supposed to leave and board the boat. It's all very easy and there are people there guiding you where to go. Just park up and walk to the ticket booth. You'll also get info after you book and exactly what to do. But do not stress about that part. Only one boat leaves every hour or so. That means the people there at your time will all be boarding that exact cruise.
I hope this helps Daniel
Wednesday 7th of December 2022
Thank you for providing a wealth of info on this page. We are visiting Perito Moreno at the end of Dec and this is very helpful insight. The only thing I'm confused about is the park entrance fee. You mention too fees one of $5.50 and one of $33. Are there two parks entrance fees? Others mention Perito entrance being $4,000 ARS. Best, Anda
Thursday 8th of December 2022
I am so sorry for the confusion. That's my mistake. The entrance fee is 4,000 ARS (around $23 USD) for the first day and 2,000 ARS for the second day. The price continues to change due to hyper inflation.
I hope this clears things up and I have updated the blog.
Thursday 27th of October 2022
I’m currently in El Calafate (October 27, 2022). Rental cars are almost non existent. I’m not sure if this is from Covid, but I’ve discovered this all over Patagonia. When I looked the last 2 weeks when I was in the Chile side of Patagonia, they were $215/day and there was one manual truck available. Other travelers told me they encountered the same thing. Right now, Priceline has one car available in el Calafate but it’s $100/day. The two links you have above for rental cars showed zero cars available. I have a feeling Covid impacted the amount of cars available.
Anyway, thanks for the tips - they’re helpful! I’m going to make my way to the glacier tomorrow by bus.
Friday 28th of October 2022
I have heard this from a friend of mine and just wasn't sure if it was a one-off! The region really suffered from the lack of visitors, and many companies, unfortunately, had to sell their stock to survive. So sad.
Have a fantastic time, there is no place more memorizing than the Perito Moreno Glacier!
Monday 3rd of January 2022
I have a question that I wanted to know the answer to, but I think you answered it above. Is the gate to the park, locked where cars can't get though in the early morning. I had thought of driving there for sunrise, but it appears from your blog post that there is a gate and that I could not get through. Is this correct? Also if I arrived at 7pm, I would not be able to get through?
Thanks for your response.
Wednesday 5th of January 2022
Monday 3rd of January 2022
Yes, that is correct there is a gate that only allows visitors in during opening hours (8 am and closes at 6 pm (summer) and 9 am to 4 pm (winter.)
However, you can stay in the park for a few hours after they close the entrance. This means, if you arrive at 5:45 pm (summer), you can stay in the park for at least two hours more (until 8 pm.) I have also heard it is open until 9 pm these days and even 10 pm but this was not my expereince. The trick is, you need to arrive at the gate before 6 pm and then stay as long as they let you. It's a great idea because the boardwalk will be empty by then!
Hope this helps Daniel