We took our bruised and battered limbs back to the bus station in El Chalten and caught the same bus we'd arrived on back to the town of El Calafate (3 hours drive at circa £23 each).
El Calafate had a weird feel to it, a strange ski resort vibe full of people that maybe liked to talk and dress like extreme hikers but only get as far as the cafe on the piste! We stayed at the aptly named 'Calafate Hostel' for 2 nights with our main aim of seeing the nearby Perito Moreno glacier before catching the bus back across the border to Chile.
There must have been a severe price increase recently to do this as our guide book was completely off the mark at how expensive it was, stating a self caught bus and entry would set you back in the region of 380 pesos. Well the bus is now 450 pesos and park entrance 500 pesos making it just shy of £50 each for the experience!
Fortunately for us the great weather had followed us from El Chalten and we hopped on the later option bus (Option 1 - leave at 9am return at 4pm. Option 2 - leave at 1pm return at 7pm) mainly because I was hoping for some nice light at the end of the day for decent photos. Geek.
The bus from El Cafate to the glacier takes about 1.5-2hrs and drops you right outside the visitor centre where you can head straight onto the raised walkways that get you right up close. The glacier itself is huge (5km in width). It's said to be one of the few glaciers that is actually getting bigger but I've seen an overhead shot from the 80's and the glacier was miles further into the bay so I'm not sure who's making these facts - maybe the same person who does the price guide in the Lonely Planet!
After we'd navigated all the trails we sat in the sunshine listening to the creaks and crashes of the ice falling away deep in the glacier and were occasionally rewarded with a big chunk falling off in front of us sending huge waves out into the bay.
A day to remember.