Parque Nacional Los Glaciares
Of all Argentina's impressive landscapes, the sight of these immense glaciers stretching out infinitely and silently before you, may stay with you longest. This is the second-largest national park in Argentina, extending along the
Chilean border for over 170 km. Almost half of it is covered by the Southern Ice Cap - at 370 km long. From it, 13 major glaciers descend into two great lakes: Lago Argentino in the southeast, and Lago Viedma to the northeast. Two quite different areas of the park are centres for tourism. At the southern end, the spectacular glaciers themselves can be visited from El Calafate, with bus and boat trips to Glaciares Moreno, Upsala and Spegazzini. At the northern end, there is superb trekking around the dramatic Fitz Roy massif, and ice climbing on glaciers near its summit, reached from El Chaltén, 217 km northwest of El Calafate. The central section, between Lago Argentino and Lago Viedma, is composed of the ice cap on the western side, with a couple of
open to tourists. East of the ice fields, there's plentiful southern beech forest, but further east still, the land flattens to the typical wind-blasted Patagonian steppe, with sparse vegetation. Birdlife is surprisingly prolific, and you'll spot the scarlet-headed magallenic woodpecker, black- necked swans, and perhaps even the torrent duck, diving for food in the streams and rivers. Guanacos, grey foxes, skunks and rheas can be seen on the steppe while the rare huemul inhabits the forest. For more information, see www.losglaciares.com.
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