So the other travelers that spend Christmas with in Bariloche, Argentina had a WhatsApp group, which we also became a part of after Christmas. After running into Taisa and Ernesto in El Chaltén, who were also heading to El Calafate, we found out that Jorden and Forest were already in El Calafate. It looked like we could all meet up again, and we did! Also Esben had french-fries for the first time in months!
But first vi had to get to El Calafate, and once again we picked up two hitchhikers. Off the conversation with the hitchhikers we understood, that this couple had been on the road for to years. They mostly go from town to town, so they can earn some money to live for. Usually they entertain people on the street by playing guitar or juggle with different things, and the people who are watching give them money. They had everything with them, and they had a lot of stuff! I could not travel the way they do, because from my perspective I would be missing out on things, that I could not afford. There is so many different ways to see the world, you just have to find your way.
As I just wrote Jordan and Forest were already in El Calafate. After a “few” massagers flying back and forth in the WhatsApp group we all decided to meet up at the campground were Jordan and Forest were staying. By the way WhatsApp is great when you travel, and it is a great way to meet your traveling friends a long the road. So when we were all at the campground we had “asado”, where everybody was bringing what they had to throw on the grill. So in Chile BBQ is called “parilla”, but when you come to Argentina BBQ is called “Asado”. Just saying that both words are important to learn
In El Calafate a the big festival “Lago Argentina” was on all week, and after a couple of nights we had had enough of all the noise. We had a great time with our friends, but we needed a place, where we could get a good nights sleep. Before we could leave El Calafate, we just had to fill up Lance. The clock showed 550 kilometers since we last time filled up gas in Gobernador Gregores, and with an average full consumption of 8,5 km per liter we could go 552,5 km before running dry or if we did 9,0 km per liter we could go 585 km. When we came to the gas station it was packed with cars! Actually the line of cars continued down the street, over the near bridge and down a side road, almost reaching the entrance to the campground, where we were staying. I would estimate the line of cars to be at least half a kilometer.
The next morning I got up at 6 am in the morning in the hope, that there would be now line for the gas station. When I got to the gas station, there was “only” 10 cars there, and I was second in line for the petrol dispenser, that I chose. Yes, we finally got gas without spending hours waiting in line. No gas restriction, and the employee filled Lance up. After doing the math we have done 9,3 km per liter. We drove to Lago Roca, where a free campground was located.
Lago Roca – the lake is connected to Lake Argentina
It was a gravel road all the way and watch out for the sleeps
When we arrived to our surprise the French couple was there camping (we had just meet them a few days ago in El Chaltén). We enjoyed our dinner together watching the sunset, and shared some popcorns for dessert.
The next morning we had an early start, because we were going to visit the Perito Moreno Glacier. We didn’t get far, before I had to pullover, because Esben had to take pictures. The animal life here was just amazing.
We spend least 30 minutes extra driving towards the glacier – but what a great morning!
Even while we were watching the glacier, Esben got a few good shots of the animal life
We spend two days at the glacier Perito Moreno, the first day we spend 1,5 hour watching the glacier, and afterwards going on a tour on the glacier. After the tour we drove back to Lago Roca, where a Ranger Station is located. This is the only Ranger Station, that can stamp and sign your entrance ticket to Perito Moreno (located in Los Glaciares National Park), so you can enter the National Park for free the day after you bought your entrance ticket. The entry fee is 500 arg. pesos (25 UDS) per person. The ticket is only valid for one day, and you are not allowed to stay overnight in the park. So the only way to reenter the park for free, is to drive all the way to the Ranger Station at Lago Roca, and get the ticket stamped and signed, so you can go back to the national park the day after for free. When we came back to Lago Roca at 7.30 pm the Ranger Station was closed. We stayed at the free campground just across the Ranger Station, and got the entry tickets signed the next day at 9 am, and drove back into the National Park, to spend the whole day at the glacier. So how did our two days go, and did we see any ice fall from the glacier Perito Moreno? Get the answer in the next post
After visiting the glacier Perito Moreno our plan was to drive back into Chile to visit Torres del Paine National Park. So from the glacier Perito Moreno we had to drive back to El Calafate and spend the night. Once more we had to fill up gas, but this time at 5.30 in the morning there was no line at the gas station.
Wild camping at Lake Argentina with El Calafate in the background
We left El Calafate in the morning, and drove all the way to the border into Chile. The border crossing went really well, and we only had to spend a little bit of time standing in line. From the border we drove to the small town of Puerto Natales, which is the last town before going to Torres del Paine National Park. We found at great local picnic area just 10 km before Puerto Natales, where we could camp for free. Spending a few days in Puerto Natales before driving into Torres del Paine National Park.
Don’t forget to read the next post “Perito Moreno – the calving glacier”