During the Christmas holidays of 2013, my father and I went for a marvellous three week holiday to Argentina, Antarctica, and a few close-by islands. We spent the first week visiting the main points of interest of the South American country touching, in chronological order, the famous glacier Perito Moreno, the Iguazú Falls (including the Brazilian side), Buenos Aires, and Ushuaia. The remaining two weeks were spent on an expedition cruise, which allowed us to put foot on Falkland Islands, South Georgia, and Antarctica. I will now try to give a brief account of this extraordinary holiday so that if somebody is thinking of visiting the same places, they will have some more information for planning their trip. I will try to keep it short and personal, but at the same time precise and informative. I will be including some photographs we have taken during the holiday in order to give a better context.
Day 1 — El Calafate, Argentina
Our Alitalia flight coming from Rome landed perfectly on time at the Ministro Pistarini International Airport in Buenos Aires at around 6 a.m. of December 14th, 2013. We had our fingerprints and photo taken before being finally allowed to officially enter Argentina. Our first destination for the day was El Calafate, a little town of the southern region of Argentina, Patagonia, which hosts the closest airport to the glacier Perito Moreno. Therefore, we first had to move to Buenos Aires domestic airport (Aeroparque Jorge Newbery). We were taken there by the tourist guide who were to show us around the Argentinian capital just a few days later. The journey by car took around 45–50 minutes, but we were lucky to arrive on a Saturday so that we avoided most of the everyday traffic. Just after lunch (which was just a snack at the airport), we took a plane of the Aerolineas Argentinas to El Calafate.
The flight took approximately 3 hours and 20 minutes. We were pleased to immediately see that the Argentinian airline company was surely at the level of any other European one serving domestic flights. From the airport, in 20–25 minutes by bus El Calafate was reached and we checked in our hotel. The town wasn’t particularly interesting, but we managed to find a very good restaurant to eat our first dinner based, of course, on local beef. The restaurant was named La Tablita and we believe it was the second best place where we’ve eaten in the whole holiday (the first one will be in Buenos Aires the very last night). The prices were also very good, considering it was a touristy area. For a steak, a drink and appetisers you would spend about 15 euros each. But now it was time to rest, the morning after we were to finally meet Perito Moreno.
Day 2 — Perito Moreno, Argentina
In the early morning a bus came to take us (we booked online all these services from an Italian agency which operates mostly in Argentina) to the glacier. The journey took a little bit more than 1 hour and 30 minutes, including a couple of stops to take pictures of the Patagonia countryside, the glacier from far away, and to buy the entry ticket for the natural park. Already from a distance, the glacier looks massive and it seems to dominate the environment. The spectacle can be viewed from a series of walkways, built on the edges of a nearby hill, which also allow the visitor to stroll in the fresh air.
Furthermore, a boat can also be taken (for an additional charge) in order to get closer to Perito Moreno and be able to appreciate its grandness from water level. This second option is also ideal to more closely look at the chunks of ice breaking and falling into the water after a loud and almost mystical, if we consider the otherwise quietness of the place, sound; only the faster photographers will be able to immortalise such an event. On the way back, it was time to rationalise what we just had the chance to look at and have another steak in El Calafate.