Brief exploring of Tierra del Fuego – Southernmost national park in the world
I remember when many years ago, at one of the geography classes we learned about Tierra del Fuego and I was looking at the map not being able to imagine I would go so far one day. But fortunately, I did in February 2012.
And I will never regret the decision to come to the end of the world 🙂
Tierra del Fuego (land of fire in Spanish) is an archipelago split between Argentina and Chile where Ushuaia town – the Southernmost town in the world is located. The archipelago was discovered in 1520 by Ferdinand Magellan’s expedition.
There is a national park called Tierra del Fuego on the main island – Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego, simply called just Tierra del Fuego (that belongs to Argentina, not Chile).
Tierra del Fuego National Park was the first shoreline national park established in Argentina. It is the Southernmost national park in the world and its 630 km2 offer dramatic scenery.
I took a brief visit to the national park to explore it a bit with 3X eXpediciones – Ruben, its owner, and another 3 friends of mine.
It was a very nice afternoon when we explored some of the main spots of Tierra del Fuego National Park.
11 km from Ushuaia, we paid the entrance to the national park and started our visit at Ensenada Zaratiegui. It was there where I first saw these magical beech trees, covered with moss and old man’s beard and I felt like Alice in Wonderland. We walked a little bit to the shore, and a small beach of greenish sand which I have never seen before. The forest was full of positive energy. And we saw a fox just a metre from me, staring at me as it was trying to seduce me 😀 I did see many foxes before, we had them also back home in Slovakia but never saw one from so close without not being in a car or looking at it through a window.
And it was in Ensenada Bay when I first realized what calafate (Berberis buxifolia) meant and tasted it. Yummy! I could spend there the whole day in the forest, surrounded with those magical trees and breath-taking scenery, and islands around the national park that belong to Chile.
But there was much more yet to explore.
We continued to Lago Roca, nowadays called Lago Acigami which in lengua Yámana means a basket or a big long bag that resembles the shape of the lake. Watched cute birds jumping around us first, then we took a stroll around the lake to the camping. The coming sunset gave a lot of mystery to the mountains in the horizon around the lake. Lago Roca is one of the main camping spots in Tierra del Fuego National Park and no wonder why – with its views, campfires and free camping.
Many different bird species were all around us in the park, and also a lot of European rabbits. It was funny to chase some of the rabbits, they run so fast!
After, we stopped at Laguna Verde for a couple of minutes to watch North American beavers. There were two when we were there, enjoying the water of the lake. It was first time in my life that I saw beavers in their real habitat. And Laguna Verde is really of that cute and funny green colour, hence the name (verde means green in Spanish). Standing above Laguna Verde on the road felt like in a fairy-tale!
We finished exploring of Tierra del Fuego National Park with a visit to Lapataia Bay. It is one of the most famous parts of the national park. We took an hour walk through the forest, stopped at the viewpoint to see the bay and then hiked down to its waters. We ended our exploration of the park at the place that is literally the end of Pan-American Highway that starts in Alaska and goes through the continents all the way down to Tierra del Fuego.
At Lapataia Bay, we saw a lot of birds and full moon above the mountains and the lake. Its image froze memories into my mind. The end of exploring the southernmost National Park Tierra del Fuego exactly at the end of the Pan-American Highway could not be better!
- You can get to the park by car, train, hitchhiking or with one of the travel agencies like we did.
- Entrance fee is 85 pesos for the foreigners (25 pesos for Argentinians, not fair!)
- The entrance gate where you have to pay the entrance fee is open from 8 am to 8 pm so if you come earlier or later at night, you will not have to pay.
- It is allowed to do camping in the national park. There are some free camping sites and you can make fire only at the designated campfires (unlike Torres del Paine national park where campfire is completely forbidden through the whole park.)
- There is the famous End of the World Train here – costs 150 pesos and I heard it is not worth it, but I leave this for you to judge yourselves.
My trip to Tierra del Fuego National park was a press trip done by 3X eXpediciones. I highly recommend their services. For more information, you can contact Ruben Jofre at 0054 02901 (15) 469193 or send him an email to [email protected] And if you mention you come from my website, you will get a discount 🙂
Apart from the national park, there are many more things to do in Tierra del Fuego main island if you want to stay for longer. I personally did hiking to Laguna Esmeralda ,then hitchhiking and hiking to the Glacier Martial for free, explored the Ushuaia town and its surroundings, and more lakes close by.