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Tierra del Fuego, Ushuaia - Argentina

Tierra del Fuego – Argentina

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The end of the world

Reaching our last and farthest point in the trip, Tierra del Fuego; we land in Ushuaia; the southernmost city in the world. It is also to date, the second farthest point ever considering London as the departure point. On first place at merely 300 kilometres more, is Easter Island. On second place is Ushuaia at 13380 km, and on third place that would be Bali in Indonesia, some 12500 km away. And continuing with the stunning beauty of the nature and landscapes we had while in El Calafate with Los Glaciares National Park, El Chalten and Torres del Paine; here is to enjoy another glorious national park, mountains, a glacier right at the backdrop of the city, the Beagle Channel with stunning islands between Argentina and Chile and as something more unique, the Magellanic penguins that here thrive between December and March, notably in Isla Martillo, what is called the “pinguinera”, home to thousands of families.

A great description for this place comes from the Spanish: “Fin del mundo, principio de todo”, that translates “the end of the world, the beginning of everything”. No doubt that’s a great motto, and a true reality. But no one can argue about the beautiness of this place, even the prime location of its international airport. Landing and taking of from here is commonly referred as one of the most scenic. Watch out when landing you are at the same height of the surrounding mountains just meters away from your window. And if you manage to sit at the right hand side of the place when taking off, it’s matter of few minutes in the air that you will get the views over the Cape Horn islands. So near you, the very end of the continent and so the nearest point to Antarctica.

The longer road network in the world does end here, inside the Tierra del Fuego National Park, the southernmost terminus of the Panamericana Highway merely 2 kilometres from the border with Chile, where farther beyond would be the gigantic Alberto de Agostini National Park with its innumerable glaciers most of which inaccessible. The city of Ushuaia however was built on a flat valley along the shoreline of the Beagle Channel. All of this natural features create this unique place, richly beautiful in landscapes although not the city as such in terms of sights, which is nothing special bearing few historical wooden houses. The rest is quite plain and new. (more…)

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Read more about the article El Calafate – Argentina
El Calafate - Argentina

El Calafate – Argentina

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Patagonia, land of glaciers and mountains

Leaving behind the civilization and big cities such as Buenos Aires and Cordoba for something of spectacular nature in this world: glaciers, mountains and landscapes of surreal pristine beauty. El Calafate itself being the major gateway into the countless natural parks, some of which in Chile’s soil yet accessible from Argentina’s side. Although not a city, but a small town, it contains all the facilities to handle the ever growing number of tourists seeking another of the fascinating sides Argentina has to offer.

Be prepared to not only enjoy the natural landscape, but also the flora and fauna which is beautiful. From the Patagonian desert of infinite emptiness, only interrupted by serpentine rivers, to the Magellanic subpolar forests. easy to spot are guanacos (similar to a llama), cougars (puma concolor) which is the second heaviest cat after the jaguar in the Americas; grey foxes, rheas (similar to an ostrich, also known as ñandúes), condors or eagles to name a few. You could simply spend weeks in the area, and every day visiting a different place, but distance of course, are large, and time spend travelling around dramatically increased because there are no motorways nor dual carriage roads. In some place and for many kilometres, the path is unpaved, not the best when in rainy or snowy conditions.

A trip to Argentina in my own opinion, is not complete unless you plan well your route to include this place. While there is something I would not recommend at all, coming here overland and spend unnecessary very long time, even days on a bus with actually not much to see out there from the window other than the emptiness; I would for sure not hesitate in taking a flight. The good news is that from most of the main cities in the country you can fly here directly, and at great fares! Would you even consider 40 hours on a bus from Buenos Aires to take an example, against 3 by plane? (more…)

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