I saw several glaciers in Puerto Natales, Chile, but nothing compared to the grandeur of Perito Moreno Glacier near El Calafate, Argentina. I decided not to take the walking tour on the glacier, and instead used my time hiking the 4km of trails near the glacier and taking a short boat ride.
At the beginning of the day, the bus stopped at the glacier for only 15 minutes (our boat tour was leaving soon.) It was early in the morning and there were no crowds, so I hurried down the trails to get an overview of the glacier alone. My heart skipped a beat when I came to the first lookout point. It was completely empty and silent except for the occasional thunder of ice falling into the ocean. I tried to take a photo of the glacier, but it was so wide it wouldn't fit on camera. Panoramic stitching became my best friend.
The boat tour took me closer to the glacier which was exciting, but very stressful. So many tourists stuffed themselves against the railing of the boat that I almost got pushed overboard. Thankfully, it got so cold and windy that almost everyone went inside, so I felt more comfortable taking photos.
Even on the boat, it was hard to grasp how incredibly huge the glacier is. The walking tour occurs on the shortest part of the glacier and hints at the size (3 miles wide with an average height of 240 feet.)
After seeing the walking tour, I realized that the blocks of ice crashing into the ocean were about the size of a house...incredible!
Near the end of the day, the sun started dancing through the clouds, spilling light onto the glacier in gorgeous ways. All of the travelers with organized tours left in the mid afternoon, leaving me with 2 hours of peace and quiet with the glacier. Even with several hours, I didn't have time to finish the 4km of trails.