At 30 km (19 miles) in length and over 250 sq km (97 sq mi) in size, the Perito Moreno Glacier is one of the most important tourist attractions in the Argentine Patagonia. It is located in Los Glaciares National Park in the southwest Santa Cruz province of Argentina.
Perito Moreno is one of 48 glaciers fed by the Southern Patagonian Ice Field located in the Andes system shared with Chile. This icefield is the world’s third largest reserve of fresh water.
The Perito Moreno Glacier is one of only three Patagonian glaciers that is growing. The reason remains debated by glaciologists. The terminus of the Perito Moreno Glacier is 5 kilometres (3 mi) wide, with an average height of 74 m (240 ft) above the surface of the water of Lake Argentino. It has a total ice depth of 170 metres (558 ft).
Due to its size and accessibility, Perito Moreno is one of the major tourist attractions in southern Patagonia. It is less than two hours by bus from El Calafate, and many tour companies run daily visits. A large visitor centre at the site features a walking circuit which allows visitors to view the southern flank and the east facing edge of the glacier.
In recent years, trekking tours on the ice have gained popularity. The two standard tours are a “mini-trekking” option, consisting of a short walk of about an hour and a half, and a “big ice” version, which is usually about five hours.
Los Glaciares National Park comprises an area of 4459 km². In 1981 it was declared a World Heritage Site by UNESCO. Its name refers to the giant ice cap in the Andes range that feeds 47 large glaciers, of which only 13 flow towards the Atlantic Ocean. The ice cap is the largest outside of Antarctica and Greenland.