Many travelers planning a visit to Chile, particularly to the Pumas of Pumaland, should bear in mind that while that far south already, one might consider an “open-jaw” itinerary design that involves entering South America or leaving South America through Buenos Aires. This design allows you to see both Santiago de Chile and Buenos Aires on the same trip, and also to add to this clever itinerary design two of the most extraordinary sites in Patagonian Argentina: Perito Moreno Glacier and Peninsula Valdés.
There are a variety of ways to enjoy the two big glaciers of the Argentinian park. The most popular way to view either of those two glaciers is to gaze at Perito Moreno from the ingenious, 2,000-meter-long, zig-zag matrix of user-friendly walkways positioned 300-500 meters from the glacier’s gigantic, terminal wall of blue ice. As you watch the glacier, every half hour or so, a school-bus-sized chunk of blue ice topples from the top of the 70-85-meter-tall wall of ice and plummets into the blue waters of the lake, creating quite a noisy splash. If you are patient enough to wait on the walkway for a half-day or an entire day, you are likely to hear loud cracking noises like gunshots and then moments later, the roar of hundreds of thousands of cracking pieces of ice as a colossal piece of ice the size of the 22-story “flatiron building” of downtown Manhattan break off from the main wall and collapse into the lake, creating a humongous splash that sprays water 100 or more meters through the air.
Most visitors to this extremely popular Argentinian park spend two or three days visiting the park, and all of the lodging is located near or in the town of El Calafate, roughly 90 minutes of scenic drive from Perito Moreno Glacier.
If your Patagonia trip will include entering or leaving South America through Buenos Aires, and if you are a wildlife fanatic, then you should consider a visit to the premier wildlife destination in all of Argentina: Península Valdés. This round, 900,000-acre peninsula connected by a narrow isthmus to the Atlantic coast of central Patagonia is famous for its dramatic, rocky seacoast and large, accessible colonies of Magellanic Penguins (the world’s largest colony of that species, in fact), Southern Fur Seals, South American Sea Lions, Elephant Seals, and numerous species of seabirds. This UNESCO World Heritage Site also is famous for excellent viewing of Southern Right Whales, and, of course, the amazing, often-filmed Orcas that beach themselves to hunt sea lion pups. This dry, open, grassy peninsula also features Darwin’s Rheas, strange-looking Maras (the world’s fourth largest rodent, which looks like a cross between a dog and a rabbit), Guanacos, and many land birds.
A variety of hotels and lodges are available near and on the peninsula, but the best one for the Orcas is very small and fills up years in advance. Talk with our team to design the ideal visit for you.