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Parque Nacional Perito Moreno

One of Argentina’s most secluded national parks is Parque Nacional Perito Moreno (not to be confused with the town further north, nor with the famous glacier in Parque Nacional Los Glaciares to the south). This reserve lies 90 kilometers (54 mi) west of Ruta Nacional 40, on the very border with Chile. Civilization is far, far away.

Created in 1937, Parque Nacional Perito Moreno is named for Francisco “Perito” Moreno, father of Argentina’s national park system and who had negotiated successfully a border agreement with Chile. It is one of the most pristine parks, with large expanses of humid sub-Antarctic forests and Patagonian steppes. Its eight lakes—seven of which flow towards the Pacific Ocean and one towards the Atlantic—are the only Patagonian waterways not invaded by exotic species.

The ragged peaks of the Andes glitter with glaciers and snow. Upon their lower slopes is sub-Antarctic forest characterized by Chilean fire bush, Antarctic beech, Magellan barberry and Chilean eucryphia. You will also find orchids, mosses, ferns and the slipper-like, yellow flowered pocketbook plants. Within these humid woodlands live Chilean shrew possum, fox and puma. Perito Moreno is one of the major reserves, also, for the endangered huemul, or South Andean deer, and Wolffsons mountain chinchilla. The song of the Chilean Flicker, Austral Parakeet, woodpeckers and owls frequently are heard.

The eastern stretches of Parque Nacional Perito Moreno are typical Patagonia steppe. Here the brush—like neneo (Mulinum spinosum)—is low, thorny and small-leafed, beaten by strong Western winds. The waterways here are a-splash with swans, flamingos, ducks, geese and the Santa Cruz hooded grebe, exclusive to Santa Cruz province. Wandering the plains are rhea, guanaco, Patagonian and South American grey foxes, and dwarf armadillo.

Wonders within Parque Nacional Perito Moreno are not just limited to nature. Ten sites of pintura rupestres also deck the landscape. The most important collection is on the north slope of Casa de Piedra, which is now closed to the public due to tomb raiders. Near the visitor center, a trail leads to another rock shelter with 6,000-year-old paintings.

Perito Moreno National Park has a number of one- and two-day, as well as longer, expeditions hikers can do. A pamphlet detailing these and other information may be obtained from the ranger stations in the park or at the national park administrative office in Gobernador Gregores, 200 kilometers (120 mi) to the east (San MartĂ­n 882, Gobernador Gregores, Tel.: 49-1477, E-mail:

Entry into Parque Nacional Perito Moreno is free. For security and conservation reasons, visitors should register at the main ranger station upon arriving at the park. Camping is allowed near the El RincĂłn ranger station, in the north zone of the park, and near the station at Lago Burmeister, in the southern sector. No open fires are allowed at either one (bring camp stove). Outside the park, Estancia La Oriental also has camping with more amenities, as well as other lodging and horseback riding (Lago Belgrano, Tel: 011-5237-4043, E-mail: Estancia Menelik, 20 kilometers (12 mi) east of the park, also has lodging and horseback riding (Tel: 011-5371-5580 / 06751-051-130, E-mail: Park visitors should bring all food and other supplies with them, as nothing is available there. The reserve is open only from September to February or March, depending on weather conditions, as in winter the area experiences temperatures to -25ÂşC (-13ÂşF) and heavy snows.


Other places nearby Parque Nacional Perito Moreno : Cueva De Las Manos , El Calafate, Gobernador Gregores, Perito Moreno, El Chaltén, Los Antiguos , Rio Turbio and Lago Posadas.

By Lorraine Caputo

Upon re-declaring her independence at age 29, Lorraine Caputo packed her trusty Rocinante (so her knapsack's called) and began...

19 Aug 2010

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