This article was written by Will Collier on behalf of Say Hueque, a company specializing in tours to Argentina and Chile.
You may have heard of Argentina's famous Perito Moreno Glacier, but did you know that it's not the biggest glacier in the country? While Perito Moreno may be the most popular among tourists, the largest in Argentina is actually the Viedma glacier. Located in the Los Glaciares National Park, the Viedma glacier has a total area of 380 square miles and flows directly from the South Patagonic Ice Field, eventually feeding the Viedma Lake with its runoff. Much like Perito Moreno, there are a number of ways to view the enormous ice formation, the most interactive: trekking on the glacier itself.
Just outside the town of El Chaltén, known throughout the country as the trekking capital of Argentina, the Viedma glacier is largely unknown in comparison to Perito Moreno. Despite being the largest glacier in the country, Viedma remained relatively hidden until recent years when the town of El Chaltén was established. With the creation of El Chaltén came wider access to Viedma, although the more established town of El Calafate, with its close proximity to Perito Moreno, still remains much more popular among visitors to Patagonia. For this reason, those interested in glacier trekking have a unique opportunity to get up close and experience Viedma with smaller crowds.
There are three different excursions visitors can choose from, depending on the desired level of difficulty and length of time you're spending in the area. The shortest and least difficult is the six-hour Ice Trek Excursion, which is recommended for people in generally good physical condition. Also available is the Viedma Pro Excursion, which has lasts nine hours and is a popular option for beginners. The longest one is the Full Day Excursion, which lasts 12 hours and is recommended for people who are physically fit and agile. All three excursions include your trekking gear and are known for offering an extremely unique and intimate experience to their guests.
If you're interested in glacier trekking and looking for a more intimate experience than what is currently available at the Perito Moreno glacier, trekking the Viedma glacier is a perfect alternative.