Extreme isolation means that, despite being one of Argentina’s first national parks to be created, the PARQUE NACIONAL PERITO MORENO is also one of its least visited. Though replete with glorious mountains and beautiful lakes, this is not a “sightseeing” park like Nahuel Huapi or Los Glaciares. The bulk of the park’s forested mountain scenery lies in its western two-thirds, which are reserved for scientific study, meaning that most of the area accessible to the public consists of arid steppe. Although visitor numbers are slowly increasing, the park still offers a solitude that few other places can match.
You can see much of the park by car in a day or two, but could equally spend much longer trekking through the starkly beautiful high pampas, past virulently colourful lakes and near the imperious snowcapped hulk of San Lorenzo – and still miss out on many of its hidden wonders. In the absence of humans, wildlife thrives here. Guanacos can be seen at close quarters, while the luckiest visitors may glimpse a puma (or at least its tracks) or an endangered huemul, of which about one hundred are thought to live in the park. Condors are plentiful as is other birdlife including the Chilean flamingo, Black-necked swan and the powerful black-chested Buzzard eagle (águila mora). One of the park’s most biologically interesting features is its lakes: the ones here have never been stocked with non-endemic species – native fish are protected and no fishing is allowed.