Perito Moreno and Glaciers National Park – El Calafate, Patagonia, Argentina
One of Mother Nature’s Greatest Monuments
A barren, stunning landscape that is home to some 300 glaciers, Glaciers National Park seems like another planet – and is almost as arduous to get to. While most of Earth’s glaciers are receding, Perito Moreno – the park’s centrepiece – is still growing; its imposing 3-mile-wide wall of ice rises 200 feet above the surface of Lago Argentino. Boats dodge the bobbing icebergs in the lake – the country’s largest body of water and one of the loveliest because of its many fjords – for an up-close look at Perito Moreno as the 30,000-year-old, 20-mile advancing river of ice snakes its way down from the Andean cordillera.
The park is an area of harsh weather extremes and terrain to match, but you needn’t explore the End of the World in the same conditions chronicled by Darwin. Luxury exists in the southern fringe of Patagonia’s endless steppes at the handsome Hostería Alta Vista. This 155,000-acre working sheep farm that dates back to 1910 has made a gracious transition from private home to antiques-filled seven-room inn, with wrought-iron beds and luxurious custom linens. Guests can visit caves adorned with prehistoric paintings or ride horseback to the grounds’ upper pastures, where the views of Moreno Glacier (yet another local phenomenon) and the peaks of the glacier park are exceptional.