The End of the World: Despite its grim tone, this is the common nickname for the Patagonian region of Chile and Argentina near Antarctica. Within this unique region is the glistening and tranquil area known as Tierra del Fuego, or “Land of Fire”. Spread across two countries, Tierra del Fuego offers not only one-of-a-kind wildlife encounters, gorgeous scenery, and fantastic excursions into local culture, but it also gives you a glimpse into not only the end of the world, but perhaps how the world looked at the beginning.
Tierra del Fuego
An exciting city where the Andes mountains meets the crashing waves of the sea on the Argentinian side of Tierra del Fuego, Ushuaia is a popular port for those seeking sights at the end of the world. The city is an outdoorsman’s delight, with plenty of opportunities for skiing, kayaking, scuba diving, hiking, and sailing. The high wages and almost complete lack of taxes has made it a popular location for relocating Argentinians from all over the country, and a popular shopping destination for tourists on their way to the end of the world.
Framed with a massive sculpture of a trout, it’s no wonder that the Río Grande is considered one of the premier fly-fishing destinations of the world. This sporting town originated as the service hub for wool baron José Menéndez’s sheep raising and herding. The town has seen its fair share of conflict, evident in the many memorials to the fallen soldiers of the Falklands War. Tourist information centers and kiosks can point you in the right direction for the best fishing spots, bars, and restaurants.
For a glimpse of the stunning natural scenery of Tierra del Fuego, make sure you take the time to visit the Parque Nacional Tierra del Fuego. Like much of the Patagonian region, the ecosystem in the park includes magnificent roaring waterfalls, jutting mountains, and glistening glaciers.
The perfect quiet and tranquil getaway from the larger Argentinian and Chilean cities in the region is in the lake town of Tolhuin, along the lake of Lago Fagnano. Tolhuin sits along the eastern shore of the lake, and is significant as the point where the plains of Tierra del Fuego meet the soaring peaks of the Andes Mountains. Take advantage of the horseback riding, mountain biking, fishing, boating, and just soaking in the quiet of the lake side.
The first estancia (ranch) in Tierra del Fuego, Estancia Haberton was founded in 1886 by the missionary Thomas Bridges. The site found fame after Thomas’s son Lucas published his memoir, Uttermost Part of the Earth, about his coming-of-age among the native people in Tierra del Fuego, the Selk’nam and Yahgan people. Thomas’s descendants still run the estancia, offering meals at the restaurant, guided tours of the property, and the opportunity to see the Reserva Yecapasela penguin colony.
For the true end-of-the-world experience, there is no other place than Isla Navarino in Chile. Missionaries and miners seeking their forest during the gold rush in the late 19th century founded the island, but today the island is home to members of the Chilean navy, government employees, and fisherman. Across the Beagle Channel from Argentina’s Ushuaia, Isla Navarino hosts a wide array of landscapes, including beech forests, rugged trekking routes, and peat bogs. The only town on the island, Puerto Williams, is a quiet naval settlement, perfect for biking along the coast and hiking through coves and stretches of forest.
One of the most anticipated symbols of the oncoming approach of Antarctica, Cabo de Hornos, or Cape Horn, was discovered in the 17th century by Dutch sailors. Because of proximity of these islands to the South Pole, Cabos de Hornos is predictably cold most of the year, making populating the area difficult for Chile. Some of the most visited islands are the South Shetlands, which offers visitors heart-stopping views of the scenery and local wildlife.
Chile’s newest natural park is Estancia Yendegaia, donated in 2014 by the Yendegaia Foundation. This former estancia is still being renovated, with livestock moving off the property and walking trails under restoration. This is the perfect camping spot for those who truly love to “rough it”, with no on-site amenities or phone contact. Camping requires advance reservations, so make sure to book well ahead of your trip.
Take a trip to the End of the World with Australis
The end of the world is waiting for you on a voyage aboard the expedition ship MV Via Australis. This maritime adventure unveils the breathtaking beauty of Tierra del Fuego and Patagonia on a round trip adventure from Ushuaia, the southernmost city in Argentina. Contact us to book your Patagonia cruise today!
US $2,440 for two people, in cabin category A.
Open bar, expeditions, and all meals included.
Celebrate 400 Years of History with $400 off a trip to the End of the World
On 29 January, 1616, Willem Schouten and Jacob LeMaire, early Dutch mariners made the first known landing by western explorers at Cape Horn. To celebrate this historic milestone, we are offering $400 off per cabin on all of our End of the World itineraries to Cape Horn traveling in 2016.
This three-night journey, round-trip from Ushuaia, Argentina, crosses into Chile and visits the famed Cape Horn (while we don’t guarantee landing, we have on average an 85% success rate), historic Wulaia Bay with its 6,000 years of indigenous and western maritime history and stunning glaciers in the area.
2016 Departure Dates: January 8 & 22nd; February 5 & 19; March 4 & 18; April 1
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