From El Chaltén we took the relatively short (for this part of the world) bus to El Calafate in order to visit the Perito Moreno Glacier. This was one of a handful of South American attractions that I had on my must-do list and I was therefore prepared to cough up the dimes to not just view the glacier, but also walk on top of it. It was $140 AUD in total ($120 for the mini trekking tour and $20 for entrance to the National Park), however it’s not every day you get to walk on a piece of ice that’s 30km long and 400 years old.
There wasn’t much else to see or do in El Calafate, so we boarded a bus at 3am that night to Ushuaia, the most southern city in the world. After changing buses in Rio Gallegos at 9am, we had to deal with not one, but two border crossings – first into Chile and then back into Argentina. This more than frustrating process added about 4 hours to the trip and we didn’t get to Ushuaia until midnight – just a lazy 21 hours in total…
As is often the case, the bus ride pretty much wrote off the following day, so we spent it planning our time in Ushuaia and, due to it being high season, booking our bus out of there. Unfortunately three days in advance still wasn’t enough time and we had to book a fifth night.
After much deliberation the next morning, we eventually decided to take a boat trip around the Beagle Channel, mostly because it is unlikely that either of us will be this far south in the future.
I was pretty sceptical about the price tag and should have gone with my gut instinct as it turned out to be a pretty uneventful outing. This may have be due to the fact that I’ve seen more than enough seals (and the occasional penguin) back home in Tasmania and also because I’ve never really considered cormorants to be tourist attractions… Regardless, we still saw some amazing scenery and many people we have spoken to were very impressed by the tour.
Our trip to the Tierra del Fuego National Park easily made up for the previous day’s (non?) events as we hiked 30km along three different trails. The ascent to the top of 973m Cerro Guanaco was definitely the highlight, with a 360° view and a biscuit-loving fox greeting us on arrival.
The now standard craft beer consumption combined with a hike (either during or after) took place that evening when I picked up Cerveza Beagle’s three offerings in the supermarket for just over $2 AUD a bottle. I wasn’t able to visit the brewery, but I was impressed with each style – both out of the bottle and on tap at Dublin Pub. Sitting around with a few pints and some new mates that we had run into regularly over the last few weeks was definitely a great way to finish off an awesome six weeks in Argentina…