Tucked away in the awe-inspiring Patagonian region of Argentina lies Camp Argentino, a remote yet captivating destination that exemplifies the country’s diverse natural beauty. This expansive area encompasses glaciers, lakes, forests, and mountain landscapes that offer visitors endless opportunities for adventure and serenity. In this article, we’ll explore what makes Camp Argentino such an alluring destination
About Camp Argentino
Camp Argentino is situated within Los Glaciares National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage site in southwest Argentina. Covering over 600,000 hectares, this national park protects a major section of the Patagonian ice fields, the world’s third largest reserve of freshwater. The park is home to 47 massive glaciers that feed into ice-cold lakes and rivers. Within this pristine environment, Camp Argentino provides easy access to the jaw-dropping Perito Moreno Glacier, one of the most famous and spectacular glaciers on the planet.
But beyond just the famous glacier, Camp Argentino contains a wealth of scenic landscapes and natural phenomena that showcase the diverse beauty of Patagonia. Crystalline lakes, verdant forests, craggy mountain peaks, and expansive ice fields create a visual feast for the eyes. The camp provides the perfect base to experience the raw, untamed wilderness of this region. In this article, we’ll highlight the top natural attractions that make Camp Argentino a must-visit destination.
The star of the show in Camp Argentino is undoubtedly the magnificent Perito Moreno Glacier. This rapidly moving glacier stretches for over 30km and stands an astounding 70m above the surface of Lago Argentino. Visitors can get up close to the towering blue ice walls via a network of viewing platforms and walkways situated just meters away from the glacier’s edge. The creaks and thunderous cracks of ice calving off the glacier face create an unforgettable experience.
In addition to Perito Moreno, Camp Argentino offers access to the Spegazzini Glacier, the highest glacier in the park at 135m tall. Visitors can take a boat tour along the glacier’s face to witness its towering spires of blue ice and take in spectacular panoramic views. No matter which glacier you visit, these ancient rivers of ice showcase nature’s raw power and provide a humbling perspective.
Key facts on Perito Moreno and Spegazzini Glaciers
|Perito Moreno Glacier
|Surface area: 250 km2
|Surface area: 135 km2
|Rate of movement: 2m per day
|Rate of movement: 90m per year
Pristine Lakes and Rivers
In stark contrast to the icy glaciers are the park’s stunningly beautiful lakes and rivers. Meltwater from the glaciers feeds into these pristine waters, filling them with a dazzling azure hue. One of the most spectacular is Lago Argentino, the largest freshwater lake in Argentina. This massive lake stretches for over 1500 sq km and provides a serene setting for boat tours and nature watching.
For a more intimate lake experience, visit the vibrant turquoise waters of Lago Roca set amongst verdant forests. The lake features a popular hiking trail along its shoreline. The jewel-toned Lago Azul is another breathtaking option situated right beside Perito Moreno Glacier. No matter which lake you choose, prepare to be awestruck by the interplay of ice and water throughout the park.
Vast Forests and Valleys
Beyond the icy landscapes, Camp Argentino also provides access to lush forests that Bariloche offer a whole different perspective of the region’s beauty. The Llao Llao Municipal Reserve protects a large swath of cypress, coihue, and lenga forests set amidst a scenic valley backdrop. Several hiking trails wind through this verdant landscape, leading to secluded waterfalls and panoramic valley views.
The Arrayanes Forest showcases a rare stand of brightly colored arrayán trees. Their cinnamon-hued trunks form a striking contrast against the sparkling waters of Lago Nahuel Huapi. With over 200 arrayán trees densely packed together, this forest creates an unforgettable and otherworldly landscape.
Trekking through these lush forests or pausing to take in the vibrant fall colors provides a peaceful complement to the icy grandeur found elsewhere in the park.
The Patagonian Andes provide the backdrop for Camp Argentino, with jagged mountain peaks jutting dramatically skyward. Cerro Mayo and Cerro Negro are two imposing mountains that frame Perito Moreno Glacier, rising over 2000m above sea level. Hiking or rock climbing these granite giants rewards visitors with sweeping vistas across glacial valleys and lakes.
Meanwhile, the iconic Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre mountains boast sheer rock faces and needle-like spires. Though located just outside the national park, Fitz Roy can be seen towering on the horizon from many spots within Camp Argentino. This landmark mountain reaches over 3400m in elevation and never fails to impress.
Whether coating the mountains in sheets of ice or providing a craggy summit to conquer, these peaks exemplify the remarkable diversity encapsulated within Camp Argentino.
This range of landscapes within Camp Argentino gives rise to plentiful wildlife viewing opportunities. Guanacos, a wild relative of the llama, roam across the steppe grasslands in large herds. These graceful creatures are a common sight along roadsides and trails. On the water, visitors may spot the rare huemul deer or buff-necked swan paddling across rock-studded lakes.
Overhead, Andean condors and black-chested buzzard eagles soar on thermal winds through high mountain passes. With luck, visitors may even catch sight of the rare Andean fox or endangered huemul deer in forested areas. For avid birdwatchers, Camp Argentino provides a prime opportunity to spot over 200 different bird species that call Patagonia home.
With such biodiversity on display, wildlife encounters only enhance this region’s spectacular natural offerings.
What Are the Activities at Camp Argentino?
Here is a table on the activities you can enjoy at Camp Argentino:
|Miles of scenic hiking trails of varying difficulty wind through forests, along lakeshores, and across glacial moraines.
|From day hikes to multi-day backpacking routes, trekking allows you to explore remote corners of the park.
|Technical climbing and mountaineering opportunities on peaks like Fitz Roy and Cerro Torre.
|The granite spires and cliffs offer rock climbing for all skill levels.
|Horseback rides offer a unique way to explore the Camp Argentino area.
|Boating & Kayaking
|Paddle across icy lakes and get an up-close view of glaciers.
|Spot over 200 species including condors, eagles, and flamingos.
|Guided hikes let you explore directly on the glacial ice with provided crampons.
|Appreciate the awe-inspiring Perito Moreno and Spegazzini Glaciers from multiple vantage points.
|Spot native fauna like guanacos, foxes, condors and huemul deer.
|Capture stunning photographs of the dramatic mountain scenery and natural landscapes.
What Should You Pack For Your Trip To Camp Argentino?
Here is a table on what to pack for a trip to Camp Argentino:
|Items to Pack
|Hiking boots, wool socks, thermal underwear, fleece jacket, waterproof jacket and pants, hat, gloves, sunglasses
|Backpack, tent, sleeping bag, camping stove, cooking gear, headlamp, matches/lighter
|Health & Safety
|First aid kit, medications, insect repellent, sunscreen, hand sanitizer
|Trekking poles, compass, trail maps, multi-tool, hydration pack, water bottles
|Toiletries, towel, flashlight, pocket knife, binoculars, camera
|Snacks, energy bars, camping chair, dry bags, portable charger, plastic bags
How to Get to Camp Argentino?
The most common route is to fly into El Calafate Airport and then take a 1 hour bus or car ride to reach Camp Argentino inside Los Glaciares National Park. Some tour companies also offer direct transfers from El Calafate. Driving yourself is another option, but the roads can be rough and require cautious driving. Advanced planning is recommended to arrange transportation, especially during the popular summer months.
When is The Best Time to Visit Camp Argentino?
The optimal time to visit is during the summer months of December to February. The weather is warmer and sunnier, allowing you to better enjoy the outdoor activities. Crowds also peak during this time. Spring (October-November) and fall (March-April) offer moderate temperatures with fewer tourists, but can be more unpredictable weather-wise. Winter brings freezing temps, but also stunning icy scenery. Prepare accordingly for the conditions.
What is the best time of year to visit Camp Argentino?
The peak season runs from October through April. These spring and summer months offer long sunny days ideal for appreciating the scenery. June through August can still be a good time to visit if you don’t mind cooler temperatures.
What activities are popular in Camp Argentino?
Hiking, boating, and walking on the glaciers are some of the most popular activities. Visitors can also go horseback riding, rock climbing, kayaking, or embark on multi-day trekking routes.
How do I get to Camp Argentino?
Visitors can fly into the towns of El Calafate or El Chalten and then take a bus transfer to the national park. Renting a car is another option for getting around the park independently.
Are all the activities safe for kids and seniors?
Many activities like the glacier walks have age restrictions, so check in advance. But boat tours and easy hikes are suitable for all ages under proper supervision.
What lodging options are available in Camp Argentino?
The main option is camping, either at organized campsites or basic wilderness sites. There are also a few lodges, cabins, and dorm-style hostels available. Book well in advance during peak season.
With its vibrant blue glaciers, pristine lakes and forests, imposing peaks, and captivating wildlife, Camp Argentino encapsulates the diverse natural beauty of Patagonia like nowhere else. This remote destination provides endless inspiration through its wealth of scenic landscapes and awe-inspiring natural features.
From appreciating the ancient Perito Moreno glacier to traversing lush forests and crystalline lakes, Camp Argentino offers an unforgettable escape into raw wilderness and breathtaking vistas. For those seeking adventure and serenity through nature, this corner of Argentina promises profound experiences that will linger in the mind long after leaving.