After the Perito Moreno Glacier trek, we continued heading as far south as we could go on the South American continent. Our Patagonia adventure led us to the southernmost city in the world: Ushuaia.
The windswept town, perched on a steep hill, was surrounded by the Martial Mountains and the Beagle Channel. It is the final frontier and the gateway to Antarctica. This region is know for its deep selection of adventure. From hiking, to horseback riding, Antarctic expeditions, to off-roading in 4×4’s, there was a sense of adrenaline around every corner.
As we wandered through Ushuaia, it seemed as if everyone was constantly gearing up for the next excursion while telling dreamy stories about their journeys to Antarctica.
Motivated by all the exciting tales, we decided it was time to continue following the journey of Darwin through the Beagle channel. In the middle of town, I met a local who was of Yaghan (local indigenous people) descendant. He hosted day trips from the Ushuaia port through the Beagle Channel. We planned a departure time for the next morning and set off to follow Darwin’s footsteps!
Darwin’s Beagle Channel
Alice Island was the first stop on our frozen voyage. It was the party place of choice for local sea lion colonies. Much like the penguins, these guys traveled together in massive groups.
As we sailed a bit farther down the channel, we passed hundreds of Cormorants (arctic birds) and more Magellanic Penguins who took up shop on the small island formations in the Beagle Channel. On the return trip back to the Ushuaia port, the captain took an alternative route so we could see the floating glaciers and ice bergs throughout the channel. The entire day voyage lasted about 8 hours.
Tierra del Fuego National Park
The morning started with the flick of a horse’s hair against my face. We were riding Argentinian thoroughbreds through the region up to the 4×4 mountain drop-off point. Here, we hopped in a few land rovers to tear up the local terrain and do some off-roading in the backcountry.
Spanish for “land of fire” (Tierra del Fuego), this part of South America is a set of islands shared by Argentina and Chile that is divided by the Beagle Channel. Originally discovered by the famous explorer Ferdinand Magellan after seeing mysterious fires by the Yaghan (ancient indigenous people), this slice of paradise is not something you want to miss.
I had the opportunity to get my passport stamped at the southernmost post office in the world. At a location called Puerto Guarani, the Fin del Mundo post office was a small hut hoisted above a wooden pier with an elderly man inside. He graciously gave me the coolest stamp I have ever gotten in my passport and I can proudly say that I have officially been to the end of the settled world!
“Traveling – it leaves you speechless, then turns you into a storyteller.” – Ibn Battuta
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