Ushuaia is placed in front of the Beagle channel and surrounded by the Martial Mountains, it is the southernmost city of the world.The combination of mountains, forest and sea turn it in a unique city of Argentina. An irregular topography imprints a picturesque appearance, adding the colorful houses made mainly of wood and corrugated iron. It is surrounded by a series of Natural Protected Areas as The Tierra del Fuego National Park, Playa Larga, Tierra Mayor, etc, and is the most active gateway to Antarctica. It is the southernmost urban area in the world, a source of inspiration and challenges, land of myths and legends made up for centuries, even for those who have never been to the south of the south.
Tierra del Fuego National Park
Cruises to Antarctica, the Falkland Islands, or to the Chilean fjords often stopover in Ushuaia, Argentina for the day. Although exploring the touristy town can be interesting, it is recommended a day trip to nearby Tierra del Fuego National Park.
Located in southwestern Tierra del Fuego province, over the borderline with Chile, this National Park is the southernmost example of the Andean – Patagonian forest. It was created in 1960 and has a surface of 63.000 hectares.
In this area the final part of the Andes features a northwest – southeast orientation. The peaks alternate with valleys where there are rivers and glacial originated lakes. Two types of forests predominate here: those of Lenga and Guindo trees, with an open underwood mainly consisting of moss and fern. In the spaces within the forests there is plenty of peat in very humid, flooded areas where the sphagnum moss grows.
On the sea shore, the two great bays (Lapataia and Ensenada) deploy in gorges and beaches that are full of white cauquenes. There are also black eyebrowed albatross (over two meters long) who cohabit with the steam duck and the diving petrel. There is also a rare kind of otter named chungungo.
Other species are the guanaco and a particular Tierra del Fuego variety of red fox.
The Park possesses many excursion trails, some of them: Pampa Alta Trail, Costera Trail, and Las Lengas Trail, paths that allow you to reach the bay areas of the park and the hills, from which you can see the beautiful view of the Beagle Channel and the mountain chain of Tierra del Fuego.
Parts of the two main lakes, the Fagnano and the Roca, and other minor ones, sprinkle into the park area, which also embraces a stretch of the Olivia, Pipo, and Roca rivers. These rivers flow into the waters of Lake Roca in the Lapataia Bay.
The train of the End of the World is another of Ushuaia attractions.
An elegant and antique formation of heated wagons, with wide windows and pulled by a steam locomotive, will take you along an 8 Km. long tour departing from the End of World Station up to the Tierra del Fuego National Park Station. The round trip total time is approximately of 1 hour 40 minutes.
Most of the way you will go bordering River Pipo. You will see a reconstruction of a yámana settlement (aborigines of the region), when you enter into a dense and beautiful wood of cohiues and lengas it will mean you are already inside the National Park.
Beagle Channel Navigation
When you begin to get away from the bay, you will have a better glimpse of the portrait of the shore: the Museum of the End of the World, the Marítimo and, behind the hamlet, the majestic Mounts Olivia, Cinco Hermanos and Escarpados.
Later you will approach Casco Island, to watch a colony of imperial shags and terns. From that point onwards, the route across the Beagle Channel starts heading towards the Bridges Islands, so-called by the first pioneer in Ushuaia, who named the nearby islets after his daughters. On Alicia Island, you will find imperial shags once again and South American sea lions.
You will pass towards Les Eclaireurs Lighthouse nestled inside the archipelago bearing the same name. Due to its location, this is the southernmost Argentinean lighthouse. Very close, lie some remains of the Monte Cervantes boat, which sank in 1930. Your tour continues towards Isla de los Lobos (Sea Lions’ Island) dwelled by these mammals, which will pry around the boat.
On the way back, the boat passes by other islands where rock and imperial shags flutter about in the company of albatross and petrels, among other sea bird species.
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