The 600,000 hectare Los Glaciares National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site of spectacular natural beauty with numerous glacial lakes and rugged mountain peaks. Half of the park forms part of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field which extends over 54,055 square miles making it the largest ice mantle outside Antarctica. The National Park is the best place in South America to see glaciers in action and contains some of the few glaciers in the world that are actually advancing. Activity is concentrated around two main lakes, Argentino and Viedma, with the most spectacular activity at Lake Argentino. Here Perito Moreno Glacier rises 60 metres above the level of the lake and measures four kilometres across its face. At any time of the year visitors might enjoy the breathtaking spectacle of huge chunks of ice plunging in to the lake with a thunderous roar. Perito Moreno is the most accessible of the glaciers – you can walk along its surface using crampons – and reached from the town of El Calafate.
Situated on the northern edge of Los Glaciares National Park, the village of El Chalten is a mecca for climbers attempting the summit of 3,405-metre Mount Fitz Roy and other peaks of the Fitz Roy range. There is also plenty of world-class hiking amid stunning mountain scenery. The many lakes offer an ideal habitat for black-necked swans and a variety of ducks and geese, and Chilean flamingos can be seen wading along the shore. Darwin’s rhea inhabits the grasslands, whilst the craggy mountains are the domain of the mighty Andean condor.