Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1981, the wild expanse of Parque Nacional Los Glaciares is a huge chunk of magical terrain shoved up against the Andes in the southwest corner of Santa Cruz Province. It encompasses a range of contrasting environments from enormous glaciers that ooze down from the heights of the gigantic Hielo Continental Sur icecap to thick, sub-Antarctic woodland of deciduous lenga and ñire, and evergreen guindo and canelo; and from savage, rain-lashed, unclimbed crags to dry, billiard-table Patagonian meseta stretching as far as the eye can strain. Most people will visit only the two sightseeing areas: the southern sector, around Glaciar Perito Moreno, one of the planet’s most famous glaciers; and the Fitz Roy sector in the north for its superb trekking. Serving as bases for these two areas are, respectively, the towns of El Calafate, in the south, and El Chaltén, in the north, both lying just outside the boundary of the park itself, but catering well to a burgeoning influx of outdoor enthusiasts from across the world.
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