Menu

About Us

Climate Change

Contact Us/Request Info

Cruises Info

E-Mail Hot List - Info & Specials

Frequently Asked Questions

Homepage

Honeymoons

Hurricane Katrina

Insurance - Travel Protection

Research Tours & Cruises

Terms & Conditions

Travel Ideas - Where to Go and What to Do

Travel Promotions

Travel Shows - We Present

Morocco - Tangier

Thailand - Bangkok

Turkey - Istanbul

Turkish Ports & Greek Isles

Canadian Rockies

St. Lucia

Southern Caribbean - Cruise

Austria - Cruise

Czech Republic - Prague

England

Germany - Austria Border to Nuremberg - Cruise

Germany - Nuremberg to Trier - Cruise

Gibraltar

Greece

Greek Isles - Turkish Ports - Cruise

Hungary - Budapest

Italy

Introduction

Pompeii

Rome

Sicily

Southern Italy

Portugal

Spain

Turkey - Istanbul

Argentina

Buenos Aires

Bariloche

Ushuaia

Brazil - Amazon

Chile

South Islands Cruise

Santiago

Costa Rica

Arenal

Central Pacific

Corcovado

Central Valley

Guanacaste

Manuel Antonio

Monteverde

Overview

San Jose Hotels

Tortuguero

Guatemala

Mexico

Cancun/Riviera

Copper Canyon

Assorted Sights

Alaska Inside Passage - Cruise

Florida - Disney/Universal

Hawaii

New Orleans

New York City

Flights - New Orleans

Flight Status - USA

Links - Travel Info

Travel Books

Ushuaia
Tierra del Fuego National Park


Argentina, Patagonia, Beagle Channel, & Lake Fagnamo

Penal Colony, Selk'nam Indians, Yaghan People, & Ski Areas

Mountains, Forests, Lakes, Rivers, Waterfalls, & Glaciers

End of the World Train, Cruise Ships, Monograms, & Globus

Sunny & Rebecca at Tierra del Fuego National Park near Ushuaia, Argentina.

Sunny & Rebecca at Tierra del Fuego National Park near Ushuaia.

Tours

We use the best tour operator to book all kinds of tours to Argentina, including independent tours, hosted tours, escorted tours, and packages. Please contact us to book your travel. We book travel worldwide. Check out our Special Promotions.

Buenos Aires to Patagonia to Santiago

We were on a Monograms hosted tour that started in Buenos Aires, where there were two nights. From Buenos Aires we flew to Bariloche where we spent two nights. We flew back to Buenos Aires and spent the night in order to catch an early morning flight to Ushuaia where we spent one night, and the details are described here. The next day we boarded the Stella Australis cruise ship where we spent three nights and visited four islands in Chile at the southern tip of South America. We were taken from the ship to Punta Arenas to spend one night. The following day we flew to Santiago where the hosted tour ended after spending two nights. Contact Us for more information.

Arrival In Ushuaia

Silvana Carreras, host and guide, with Rebecca and Vicki at Tierra del Fuego National Park near Ushuaia, Argentina.

Silvana Carreras, host and guide, in the middle with Rebecca and Vicki at Tierra del Fuego National Park near Ushuaia.

When we arrived at the Ushuaia airport our host and guide, Silvana Carreras, and a driver met us. They took us to our hotel and Silvana helped us to get checked in. She also told us about Ushuaia, and took us on a tour of Tierra del Fuego National Park. In the picture above Silvana is standing between Rebecca and Vicki. She is telling them about things in the park.

Tour of Tierra del Fuego National Park

Tierra del Fuego is Spanish for "land of fire." This is the name given to the area by the first Europeans that explored the southern tip of South America. They had seen campfires of the Yaghan people, the native inhabitants that lived there. Tierra del Fuego is an island spread over both Chile and Argentina in the southern part of Patagonia. The part in Argentina, where we were, is in Tierra del Fuego Province. It became a national park in 1960. The picture at the top of this page is of us next to a sign in the national park. As is noted on the sign we were located a long way from Buenos Aires (1,909 miles), and an even much further distance from Alaska (11,066 miles).

Lake in Tierra del Fuego National Park near Ushuaia, Argentina.

View in Tierra del Fuego National Park near Ushuaia.

The boundary of the Tierra del Fuego National Park on its western side is the country border with Chile. On the south the park is bounded by the Beagle Channel. The boundary on the north is Lake Fagnano, which is a distance of 37 miles (60 kilometers) along the Chilean border from the Beagle Channel. The city of Ushuaia is located about 7 miles (11 kilometers) east of the park. The area of the park is 240 square miles (630 square kilometers). The Pan-American Highway, which starts in Alaska terminates in the park.

The Tierra del Fuego National Park is very scenic with mountains, as seen in the pictures above and below. There are also valleys, forests, lakes, rivers, waterfalls, and glaciers. The Beagle Channel, being the southern boundary, is a prominent feature of the park. The channel is named after the ship HMS Beagle, which was the ship that brought English naturalist and geologist Charles Darwin to the new world. The British visited the area in January 1833 and surveyed Tierra del Fuego. The channel has a length of 150 miles (240 kilometers) primarily in the east-west direction. Lake Fagnano at the northern boundary is the largest lake in Tierra del Fuego. It has an area of about 6,500 square feet (600 square meters).

Tree branches permanently leaning because of strong winds and snow capped mountains near Ushuaia, Argentina.

Tree branches permanently leaning because of strong winds and snow capped mountains.

Strong winds are normal in the park and surrounding area. As can be seen in the picture above the tree branches are permanently leaning to the left due to the typical wind conditions. The picture below of the lake is much more attractive due to the presence of scattered islands. The park is beautiful and presents many photo opportunities.

View of lake in Tierra del Fuego National Park near Ushuaia, Argentina.

View of lake in Tierra del Fuego National Park near Ushuaia.

Indigenous People

It is known that humans had reached Tierra del Fuego as early as 10,000 years ago when the area was inhabited by Selk'nam Indians. They survived under very harsh conditions, including at times very cold temperatures. A group of the Selk'nam Indians, known as the Yaghan people, settled in what is now Ushuaia. By around 1870 to 1880 British missionaries had arrived in the area and began to convert the Yaghan people. More Europeans as well as people that lived on the continent also came to the area. Unfortunately, the natives were not immune to diseases such as smallpox and measles that were carried by the new settlers. Within about fifty years the native population was greatly reduced by these diseases.

End of the World Train

Of importance to the history and development of the Tierra del Fuego National Park and the nearby city of Ushuaia was the End of the World Train. The railroad had a narrow-guage track and the train was pulled by a steam engine. The length of the track was 16 miles (25 kilometers), and it went into the park. The primary reason for the train was a penal colony that was established near Ushuaia in the 1902. The train was known as the prison train as it transported prisoners to camps for work and logs from the forests. The prison was closed in 1947 and the railroad was closed in 1952 after the track was damaged by an earthquake. In 1994 a more modern train was acquired with the purpose of being a heritage train. It is known as the southern most operational train in the world. From the Fin del Mundo station, 5 miles (8 kilometers) west of Ushuaia, you can take the heritage train to the park a distance of 3.1 miles (5 kilometers).

Ushuaia

Sunny and Rebecca at the pier in Ushuaia, Argentina where the ships are docked.

Sunny and Rebecca at the pier in Ushuaia where the ships are docked.

Ushuaia (“Oceania) is the southern most city on our planet. It is said to be at "the end of the world" (fin del mundo), which is noted on the city sign between us in the above picture. The Latitude of Ushuaia is 54 degrees, 48 minutes, 0 seconds South. By comparison, the latitude of Juneau, Alaska is 58 degrees, 18 minutes, 6 seconds North. Ushuaia is located on a bay where the Beagle Channel is to its south and the Martial mountain range is to the north. The area has been inhabited for many years as the Selk'nam Indians are known to have been there about 10,000 years ago. Part of this group, the Yaghan people, settled in what is now Ushuaia. Many years later, prior to Argentina being a country, British missionaries gave the city its name choosing the Yaghan name for the area. It is a major port.

Argentina wanted to incorporate the area of Tierra del Fuego into the country. Chile also wanted the area. In the late 1800s Argentine President Julio Roca recommended the establishment of a penal colony for re-offenders in the Ushuaia area. The idea was to put permanent residents there so that Argentina could claim the territory. President Roca established a penal colony in nearby Staten Island in 1902. The prisoners became the work force. They built the train tracks used by the railroad, and logged trees for timber in the forests of what is now the park. They used the logs in building the city. In 1904 the Federal Government of Argentina recognized Ushuaia as the capital of Tierra del Fuego province. Due to reports of abuse and other problems the prison was closed by President Juan Peron in 1947. The old prison is now a museum.

Rebecca in front of a really big tree in Corcovado National Park.

Ushuaia viewed from the Stella Australis cruise ship.

The economy in the Ushuaia area includes fishing, sheep farming, and natural gas and oil extraction. A Grundig Renancer electronics factory is there, which is one of the largest in Patagonia. There is also an Argentine naval base which dates from 1884. In addition, Ushuaia and the Tierra del Fuego National Park attract many tourists, which has a big impact on the local economy. The park is a great place to visit year around. For winter sports there are several ski areas near the city. One is Cerro Castor, which is the most southern full-fledged ski resort in the world. It also has the longest skiing season in South America. In addition there is snowboarding, sledding, snowshoeing, and alpine skiing. There is a glacier which can also be visited in the summer months by a chair lift or a hiking trail. The city has a museum where you can learn about the native Indians, the European settlers, early Argentines, and the prison colony. The city is also an important port for cruise ships. Many ships stop here when they go around the southern tip of South America for shore excursions or for people to disembark in Ushuaia. There are also numerous ships that depart from the city on voyages to Antarctica. Further, there are cruise ships that depart from the city to visit the islands like Cape Horn at the southern tip of South America.

Departure from Ushuaia

On our second and final day in Ushuaia we were taken in the morning from the hotel to downtown Ushuaia. We stopped by the office of the Stella Australis cruise ship to register for boarding the ship that afternoon. We also left off our luggage so that it could be taken to the ship for us. The rest of the day we explored the city until time to board the ship. Ships docked at the port are seen behind us with the Ushuaia sign above. A picture of Ushuaia is also seen above viewed from the water and with the impressive mountains in the background. The photo was taken from the ship as we departed for Chile to visit four islands at the tip of South America.

Buenos Aires to Patagonia to Santiago

We were on a Monograms hosted tour that started in Buenos Aires, where there were two nights. From Buenos Aires we flew to Bariloche where we spent two nights. We flew back to Buenos Aires and spent the night in order to catch an early morning flight to Ushuaia where we spent one night, and the details are described here. The next day we boarded the Stella Australis cruise ship where we spent three nights and visited four islands in Chile at the southern tip of South America. We were taken from the ship to Punta Arenas to spend one night. The following day we flew to Santiago where the hosted tour ended after spending two nights. Contact Us for more information.

Photos by Sunny Breeding. Photos of Sunny and Rebecca by Dave Reed. We sell prints and images.