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Home » , , , » The Los Glaciares National Park is the second largest in Argentina.

The Los Glaciares National Park is the second largest in Argentina.

Los Glaciares (which in Spanish means "Glaciers") is a National Park that is located in the province of Santa Cruz, in Patagonia, Argentina.

It covers an area of ​​4459 km ² in 1981 was listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.


In other parts of the world glaciers originate from the 2500 meters in height, but, because of particular geographical, in this region they originate from just 1500 meters, and from there run up to 200 meters above sea level sea, eroding mountains that support them.

The national park, established in 1937, is the second largest in Argentina. Its name refers to the giant ice cap (one of the largest in the world) of the Andes, from which originate 47 large valley glaciers (of which only 13 flow towards the Atlantic Ocean).
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30% of the surface is covered with ice in Los Glaciares. The entire region can be divided into two parts, each of which corresponds to one of the two large lakes contained in the Park: Lake Argentino (the largest in the country with its 1446 km ²) in the south and Lake Viedma (1,100 km ²) to the north. The waters of both lakes end up in the Santa Cruz River, which flows down to Puerto Santa Cruz to the Atlantic Ocean. Between the two lakes there is a non-touristy area called Zona Centro, devoid of lakes.

The northern part consists of part of Viedma Lake, the Viedma Glacier and some minor glaciers, as well as mountains very popular among the lovers of trekking and mountaineering, including the Cerro Chalten and Cerro Torre.
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The southern part instead contains the largest glacier: Perito Moreno Glacier, the Upsala Glacier and Glacier Spegazzini, which all flow into Lake Argentino. An excursion is made in typical boat among the icebergs in the lake to visit Bahía Onelli and otherwise inaccessible glaciers Upsala and Spegazzini, while the Perito Moreno is reachable by land.

The mountains trap most of the moisture coming from the Pacific Ocean, letting through only the very cold air coming from the glaciers (the average temperature is only 7.5 degrees), which creates an arid steppe on the Argentine side of the mountain range. This stops the rhea, the guanaco, the puma and gray foxes, which are endangered species (particularly damaged after the introduction of livestock farming practiced in an intensive way) and they find protection within the park boundaries.
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The area is home to more than 1,000 species of birds (condors, eagles and others), of which, however, only 100 have been cataloged. Between the ice and the Patagonian steppe there is a fertile area covered with forests, within which they live Andean deer and ducks stream.

Los Glaciares is a popular international tourist attraction. The tourist routes depart from the traditional village of El Calafate, a small town on the shores of Lake Argentino (although outside the park) where the park administration has its headquarters, and the village of El Chalten, in the northern part of the park at the foot of Cerro Chalten. Other tourist attractions in the park include Lago del Desierto and Lago Roca.
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