Where RN 40 meets the smoothly paved international highway from Comodoro Rivadavia to Chile Chico, nondescript Perito Moreno marks the return to civilization for northbound travelers and the start of the adventure for the Calafate-bound. Often confused with its namesake national park, as well as the eponymous glacier in Parque Nacional Los Glaciares, it has pretty good services, but many visitors prefer the lakeside town of Los Antiguos to the west.
Perito Moreno (pop. 3,598) is 398 kilometers southwest of Comodoro Rivadavia via Caleta Olivia, and 58 kilometers east of Los Antiguos via paved RP 43. It is 124 kilometers south of Río Mayo, Chubut Province, via one of RN 40’s rougher stretches, which continues toward Esquel and the Andean Lakes District.
Note that there is no scheduled public transportation between Perito Moreno and Río Mayo.
Early February’s Festival Folklórico Cueva de las Manos is a musical event that capitalizes on the proximity of the world heritage site.
Bilingual Guanacondor Tours & Expeditions (Perito Moreno 1087, tel. 02963/43-2303, jarinauta [at] yahoo [dot] com [dot] ar, jarinauta [at] santacruz [dot] com [dot] ar) arranges excursions that include Cueva de las Manos and Cañadón del Arroyo Feo.
Opposite Laguna de los Cisnes, the city park at Perito’s south end, the sheltered Camping Municipal (Roca and Moreno, tel. 02963/43-2130, US$1.50 pp plus US$3 per vehicle or tent) is small but has flawless bathrooms with hot showers.
Otherwise, the pickings are slim. Hotel Santa Cruz (Belgrano 1565, tel. 02963/43-2133, US$26 s or d with shared bath) is a no-frills shoestring option.
The respectable Hotel Belgrano (Avenida San Martín 1001, tel. 02963/43-2019, US$32 s, US$42 d) also has a restaurant, but the best option is the homey three-room B&B Posada del Caminante (Rivadavia 937, tel. 02963/43-2204, posadadelcaminante [at] yahoo [dot] com [dot] ar, US$37 s, US$47 d); phone first, as it’s often booked far ahead.
Hotel Americano (San Martín 1327, tel. 02963/43-2074, hotelamericano_consultas [at] yahoo [dot] com [dot] ar, US$39 s, US$55 d) is comparatively overpriced.
Getting to Perito Moreno
LADE (Avenida San Martín 1065, tel. 02963/43-2055) has occasional flights into and out of Perito Moreno but is hard to rely on.
The sharp new Terminal de Ómnibus is at the north end of town, where RN 40 (Avenida San Martín) meets RP 43. La Unión (tel. 02963/43-2638) and Sportman (tel. 02963/43-2177) have westbound service to Los Antiguos (1 hour, US$7) and eastbound service to Comodoro Rivadavia (5 hours, US$26). Sportman and Taqsa (tel. 02963/43-2675) both have daily service to Río Gallegos (14 hours, US$51).
Chaltén Travel (tel. 02902/49-2480 in El Calafate) buses from Los Antiguos to El Calafate will pick up passengers at the terminal here; the service runs on alternate days during December–April or so. Passengers from El Chaltén can board the northbound bus from El Calafate at the junction of RN 40 and RP 23 without having to return to El Calafate. Buses depart Calafate on odd-numbered days and return from Los Antiguos on even-numbered days. For southbound travel to El Chaltén, Chaltén Travel links up with its own buses between El Calafate and El Chaltén.
© Wayne Bernhardson from Moon Argentina, 3rd edition