Earth of Fire – Traveling to Tierra del Fuego

There is a reason why Tierra del Fuego is also known as the end of the world. Ushuaia is one of the southernmost cities of the world, located a mere 1000 km away from Antarctica.

It is without a doubt one of the most beautiful places to go to in Latin America, and it attracts visitors from everywhere despite its incredibly remote location, 3085 km from Buenos Aires.

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Ushuaia’s charm is incomparable due to its infinite wide view over the sea, accompanied by an incredible mountain range skyline. Additionally, you can enjoy the richness of the extensive ecosystem and biodiversity of the Tierra del Fuego National Park and discover the species on 63.000 hectares of sub-Antarctic forest. At the bay you might even find several remains of the original Yámanas tribe. A great way to appreciate this beautiful landscape is to take a ride on the steam locomotive known as the End of the World Train.

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In the city of Ushuaia you will find Avenida Maipú, which will take you along the bay where you will find the port and ships departing to the icy South that look like they are straight out of a picture book. The boutiques, restaurants, and oldest houses of the city give it a calm and peaceful atmosphere that lets you forget about all the stress of Northern metropolitan cities.

It is humbling to recognize that the plethora of little islands in this far corner of the earth were home to multiple aboriginal tribes such as the Onas, Haush, Yámanas, and Alakalufs, who were living their lives in such isolation and extreme conditions even earlier than 10,000 years ago. In 1520 the Portuguese explorer Magellan gave his name to the Strait of Magellan and gave Tierra del Fuego (Land of Fire) its name in accordance with the lighting of the tribes’ bonfires.

The 20th Century brought with it the development of the city of Ushuaia and immigrants from Spain, Italy, Croatia and Lebanon in an area that was made duty-free in the 1970’s so as to attract the settlement of companies on the island. Nowadays the primary markets of Ushuaia are tourism, fishing, and forest logging.

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There are many museums worth checking out in Ushuaia, including the Maritime Museum, the Prison Museum, the Museum of the End of the World, and the Yámana Museum, which all help give insight into the complexity of the history of the island.

You can also book several cruises to explore the fjords all the way up to Punta Arenas, or go watch the seals and birds along the bay. There are also many estancias (farms) which you can visit to learn about farming life on the island.

Tierra del Fuego is a truly exceptional and wondrous part of the world that is absolutely worth visiting if you are willing to venture to the edge of the world to discover all it has to offer. Ushuaia is the point from which the truly winter-inclined folk launch themselves on boat tours to visit the penguins and other marvels of Antarctica, yet the Tierra del Fuego is famous and worth seeing in its own right even if the call to the earth’s southernmost continent is not one that appeals to you.

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