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The most southerly town on earth, with a population of 56,000, Ushuaia is located within the bewildering province of Tierra del Fuego. Bounded by Martial mountain in the north and to the Beagle Channel to the south, it acts as a gateway to Tierra’s sublime national park, and provides superb hiking, kayaking, and wildlife spotting opportunities. Visit the Maritime Museum and learn of the harsh living conditions of once prisoners, as well as the wildlife (whales, penguins) that inhabit the surrounding icy waters.
Maritime Museum of Ushuaia
Tierra del Fuego National Park
Martillo Island (Yécapasela Island)
The island’s Maritime Museum is housed in Tierra del Fuego’s first prison, as Ushuaia was once a penal colony— known as the “Siberia of Argentina.” You will learn about these inmates’ daily lives and some of the notable figures incarcerated there—as well as explore the seafaring history of the area.
A heartbreaker of a location, Tierra del Fuego National Park provides eye-watering scenery of sweeping forests and glacial lakes that blanket a mountainous skyline. But that’s not all: various outdoor activities can also be found within the park, with enough exotic wildlife to leave you short of breath at this haven for nature lovers.
In Spanish, the Martillo or “Hammer” island gets its name from its unusual topographical shape, though it is known in the native Yagan language as Yécapasela Island, meaning “sturdy rock.” Either way, the Island is an ideal penguin viewing spot. From September to April, over 1,000 Magellanic and Gentoo meet here to form rookeries.
Cruise the Beagle Channel to explore the coast of Ushuaia. As you sail, watch for seabirds like Albatrosses, Cormorants, and Petrels. The straight, stretching almost 150 miles, is just over three miles wide allowing for easy stops to view the local fauna. Drop anchor at Sea Lion Island to watch the playful colonies fish and lounge.
Lake Fagnano rests at the foot of Muchi Mountain and, being 62 miles east to west, it’s the largest lake of Tierra del Fuego. Hike the shoreline for magnificent views of Patagonian forest before visiting Tolhuin, the small town on the lake’s eastern shores. Grab an empanada at the famous bakery Panadería La Unión and admire the signed photographs of the luminaries who have eaten there.
Escondido or “Hidden” Lake is indeed concealed within the Garibaldi Pass. Drive through the Fuegian Andes and peat bog valleys to reach its placid waters. Enjoy a day of fishing for brown and rainbow trout and see beavers engineering their homes. This lake is known to be very windy, so make sure to bundle up.
Located between the Torres del Paine National Park, the Strait of Magellan, and Tierra del Fuego, Punta-Arenas is the perfect focal point for anybody venturing further into the natural wonders of Argentina. Visit the Sara Brown Palace and the Brown Menendez Residence, relics of the municipality's proud pioneering history, and take a stroll down the dock as the sun sets.
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