Lago Argentino: Perito Moreno Glacier area

The Argentino Lake and Perito Moreno Glacier

The Argentino Lake stands out as one of the most renowned lakes in Patagonia, primarily because it receives the massive ice flow from the Perito Moreno Glacier and numerous other glaciers within the Los Glaciares National Park. With a surface area of 1,560 km2, Lake Argentino ranks as the largest lake in Argentina and the third-largest in South America. Situated at 185 meters above sea level, it stretches for 125 kilometers in length and varies in width from 14 to 20 kilometers.

Comprising a main body and several branches or arms—including the Upsala arm, North arm, Rico arm, and South arm—the lake connects to the main body through the Canal de los Témpanos. This canal flows in front of the Perito Moreno glacier, serving as the outlet for its waters. Lake depths range from 35 to 1000 meters, with the southern coast and the center, near the Avellaneda Peninsula, reaching depths of 300 meters. The lake gives rise to the Santa Cruz River, which ultimately empties into the Atlantic Ocean. Its distinctive water color stems from the fine sediment produced by glacier melt, known as glacial milk.

Exploring the lake by boat offers breathtaking views of glaciers such as Upsala, Spegazzini, and Onelli Bay. Navigation amidst the towering icebergs of vibrant hues is a popular excursion departing from Punta Bandera, located 45 kilometers from El Calafate.

Lake Argentino has a rich history marked by notable discoveries. In 1873, sailor Valentín Filberg encountered the lake but mistakenly believed it to be Lake Viedma. It wasn’t until four years later, when Francisco Moreno and Carlos Moyano arrived, that Filberg’s error was corrected, leading to the lake’s christening as “Argentino” on February 15, 1877. Presently, boats traverse the lake departing from Puerto Bandera and Bajo de la Sombra, navigating the Canal de los Témpanos and exploring the North, Upsala, and Rico arms.


The Argentino Lake: The Largest Lake in Argentine Patagonia

Lake Argentino stands as the largest and southernmost lake in Argentine Patagonia, situated in the southwestern sector of Santa Cruz province. Located at an altitude of 178 meters near the town of El Calafate, the lake covers a surface area of 1,415 km² with an average depth of 150 meters, reaching depths of 500 meters at certain points, ranking it among the 20 deepest lakes globally and the third deepest in the Americas after Lake San Martín and Lake Buenos Aires, both also in Argentina.

Comprising a main body and two long, irregular arms, Lake Argentino lies within Los Glaciares National Park. It receives inflows from several glaciers, prominently including the Perito Moreno and Upsala glaciers. The southern shore of the lake is adorned by the city of El Calafate, serving as the primary tourist base for exploring the region.

Similar to its counterpart Lake Viedma, Lake Argentino is oriented from west to east and primarily fed from the west by the abundant rainfall of the Andes Mountains. Its hydrographic basin lies entirely within Argentine territory. Near its eastern terminus, Lake Argentino receives the outflow from Lake Viedma via the La Leona River before merging into its own mouth, forming the origin of the Santa Cruz River.

Lake Argentino stands as the largest and southernmost among the great lakes in Argentine Patagonia, with an elevation of 187 meters above sea level. It spans an area of 1,560 km² and boasts an average depth of 200 meters, reaching 500 meters in select locations. Its water volume totals 219.9 billion m³, with a basin covering 15,500 km², including that of Lake Viedma.

Where is located the Argentino Lake?

The Argentino Lake, or Lake Argentino, is located in the southwestern sector of the province of Santa Cruz in Argentine Patagonia. It lies near the town of El Calafate and serves as one of the prominent features within Los Glaciares National Park.


The Argentino lake map

Weather in the Argentino Lake

The region experiences a cold semi-arid climate with cool to warm, very dry summers and cool to cold, slightly more humid winters. Extreme temperatures in the nearby city are moderated by the influence of Lake Argentino. The city’s boardwalk lies within a large shallow bay, often freezing over in winter, allowing residents to engage in ice skating. The highest recorded temperature was 30.7°C, while the lowest recorded temperature was -17.4°C in July 2014.

What is Argentino Lake Famous For?

Primarily, Lake Argentino is renowned for the remarkable Perito Moreno Glacier. It serves as the recipient of ice from the Perito Moreno Glacier, along with other stunning glaciers found in Los Glaciares National Park. From Puerto Bandera, situated on the shores of Lake Argentino, visitors can embark on various boat excursions to explore the diverse glaciers within the park.


Activities on Argentino Lake (Lago Argentino)

Lake Argentino offers a variety of activities for visitors looking to explore its natural beauty and nearby attractions. Some popular activities on Lake Argentino include boat tours to explore its crystal-clear waters and breathtaking views of the surrounding glaciers, including the famous Perito Moreno Glacier. Visitors can also enjoy hiking on nearby trails to explore the natural beauty of the region and take in panoramic views of the glaciers and surrounding mountains. Fishing enthusiasts can try their hand at sport fishing for trout and other fish species in Lake Argentino’s waters. Kayaking and canoeing enthusiasts can enjoy thrilling tours of Lake Argentino, exploring its shores and enjoying the tranquility of the natural surroundings. Birdwatching and wildlife spotting opportunities abound, with opportunities to spot a variety of birds and wildlife, including condors, flamingos, guanacos, and more. These are just some of the activities that can be enjoyed in the beautiful setting of Lake Argentino, a must-visit destination for nature lovers and adventure seekers.


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Picture of Ramiro Rodriguez

Ramiro Rodriguez

25 years working in travel market, as Sales & Marketing Manager in RipioTurismo, Marketing Manager in Nuevas Ideas Travel Consulting Group. Writer and travel lover.

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