The icy glaciers and natural parks of Tierra del Fuego are almost unmatched in the world for their beauty, collection of unspoiled and free wilderness, and abundant opportunities for the outdoor enthusiast. Since its European discovery by Ferdinand Magellan in 1520, Tierra del Fuego has captivated the world with its frigid wilderness. Tierra del Fuego is a favorite among visitors for its wildlife, including elephant seals, King cormorants, and Magellan penguins. While in the past the area was feared by sailors for its treacherous channels and rough waters, today the archipelago is more accessible than ever to the outside world.
Tierra del Fuego
At the southernmost tip of Tierra del Fuego is Cape Horn, a famous cape once featured prominently in sea shanties before the opening of the Panama Canal. Circumventing the Cape was, and still is, considered to be one of the greatest sailing challenges of all time. Don’t forget to also take the opportunity to admire the icy landscape, from the frigid waters to the glaciers within sight of Cape Horn. One of the most poignant places on the Cape for visitors and adventure lovers, however, is the humble Albatross Memorial.
The Albatross Memorial was commemorated in 1992 as a dedication to those who lost their lives braving the raging waters around Cape Horn. Along either side of the wooden walkway are two marble plaques, one a poem about the albatross serving as the soul of a sailor, and the other a dedication to the monument and what is represents. The memorial is in the shape of an albatross and is over 7 meters (23 feet) high, with the ability to withstand wind gusts up to 125 mph. If you stand behind the memorial, you are, yourself, the most southern point in the world.
Magellan penguins are a favorite with visitors, whether by land or sea. These medium-sized penguins are named for the famed Portuguese explored Ferdinand Magellan who was the first European to spot the birds in the early 16th century. Both the female and male penguins hatch the young, with each parent taking turns to catch cuttlefish or krill away from the egg. Visitors are welcome to observe the penguins, but it is not recommended to handle the chicks as they will then develop higher levels of corticosterone, compromising their immune systems.
One of Tierra del Fuego’s calling card as a premier destination is Glacier Alley, the area in the waters of Tierra del Fuego and the Magellan Strait where the highest concentration of icy glaciers comes together. These slabs of frozen sea water are impossible to see up-close by land, making your entry into the Alley by boat the best option. After you disembark your zodiac, you can hike across the glaciers to get a full view of the enormity of the frozen landscape.
Ainsworth Bay is an inlet fed by the melting waters of the Marinelli Glacier, which is currently recessing. The Bay received its name from G.F. Ainsworth, a meteorologist and the leader of the Australasian Antarctic Expedition in the early 20th century. Hiking along the Marinella Glacier overlooking the Bay is a once-in-a-lifetime experience you cannot afford to miss!
A true highlight of any trip to Tierra del Fuego is an excursion into the Torres del Paine National Park. This sprawling park is filled with gorgeous forests, intriguing wildlife, and heart-pumping hikes. Some of the local animal residents you will see here include the guanaco, the South Andean deer, rheas, and the South American gray fox. The best time to visit the park is between September and April, during Patagonia’s spring and summer months.
Take Your Next Journey to Tierra del Fuego with Australis!
Our cruise to Patagonia follow the fjords of the southern edge of Tierra del Fuego highlights the stunning, natural beauty of Patagonia and several of its most important historical sites. Whether you are sailing aboard M/V Stella Australis, this four-day journey includes visits to wildlife rich Ainsworth Bay, massive Pia Glacier and Glacier Alley, as well as mystical Wulaia Bay and the legendary Cape Horn.
The expedition cruise ship M/V Stella Australis takes you on an amazing journey to the “uttermost end of the earth.” Our adventure cruises sail between Ushuaia (Argentina) and Punta Arenas (Chile), where you’ll discover the splendor and beauty of Patagonia’s unique wildlife and landscapes
Our Australis Specialist Program is an e-learning self-study certification course-with a variety of fun and informative multimedia lessons, using real-life examples and sharing insights that you will be able to immediately apply to your own business.
Comprised of seven modules of interactive on-line content as well as downloadable articles and resources, videos and other media, our program you can take as much or as little time as you like to learn.
Australis is also proud to announce its newest ship, the Ventus Australis. This 210-passenger vessel will begin journeys to Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego in the late 2017/early 2018 cruising season.
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