Torres del Paine National Park

Tourism in Tierra del Fuego Island, Chile

Yendegaia National Park, South end of Chile.
Yendegaia National Park
Image: Prensa Antartica - Online newspaper 
Tierra del Fuego Island (English: Land of Fire), one of the most remote places in the world, located at the southernmost tip of South America, shared by Chile and Argentina, bordered by the Strait of Magellan to the north, the Atlantic Ocean to the east, the Pacific Ocean to the west, and the Beagle Channel to the south. In addition to the main island, the largest in South America at 48,000 km2, the archipelago is composed of dozens of smaller islands, most of which belong to Chile.
The main population centers on the Argentine side are Rio Grande, with 68,000 inhabitants, and Ushuaia, with 57,000 inhabitants. On the Chilean side is Porvenir, with 7,500 inhabitants, and on the island of Navarino, which belongs to the archipelago, is Puerto Williams, a small civilian town and naval base of 3,000 inhabitants, currently considered the southernmost city in the world. The main economic activities are cattle raising, hydrocarbon exploitation, fishing and tourism.

Due to its subpolar latitude, the climate is quite harsh for most of the year (March to October), with winter temperatures rarely exceeding 6°C, frost very severe and snow usually abundant. In spring/summer, temperatures are much more pleasant, reaching an average of 10 to 15°C during the day and exceptionally more than 20°C have been recorded. The northern part of the island is devoid of forests, but with large expanses of pasture, mainly devoted to sheep farming, while the southern part, with extensive forests, is the backbone of the Darwin Mountain Range, which is covered with snow and ice fields most of the year.

How to Get There

The most common way to reach the Chilean part of Tierra del Fuego is by bus or other vehicles crossing the Strait of Magellan by ferry. There are also regular flights between Punta Arenas and Porvenir operated by Aerovias DAP.     
You can choose from 2 ferry crossings, one is the Tres Puentes terminal in Punta Arenas, the place known as Bahia Catalina, this trip takes about 2 hours and arrives directly to the city of Porvenir.
The other crossing is located 170 km. north of Punta Arenas in a place known as Punta Delgada or Primera Angostura, this navigation takes only 15 minutes, then to reach the city of Porvenir the overland trip takes about 2 hours. To see itineraries click HERE.
To get to Puerto Williams on Navarino Island, which is also part of the archipelago, there are regular flights from Aerovias Dap as well as 1 weekly ferry service.

Location of Tierra del Fuego

Tourist Attractions in Tierra del Fuego, Chile:

Alberto De Agostini National Park

Darwin's Route, Tierra del Fuego Archipelago
Darwin's Route - Australis Cruises - Cape Horn & Patagonia
With an area of more than 14,600 km2 (1,460,000 hectares), the third largest national park in Chile, created in 1965, takes its name from the Italian missionary, geographer, documentarian and explorer Alberto Maria de Agostini (1883-1960). It covers an insular area that includes three provinces: Magallanes (municipality of Punta Arenas), Tierra del Fuego (municipality of Timaukel) and Antártica Chilena (municipality of Navarino).
It has great and little known natural attractions. The 35 km. long Darwin Mountain Range stands out as its backbone; Marinelli Glacier, the most impressive with great ice walls almost 40 meters high; Mount Darwin, the highest in the park at 2,488 meters above sea level; Mount Sarmiento, with 2404 m.a.s.l., It is worth mentioning that Jules Verne immortalized it in his work "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea", when crossing Cape Horn, the Nautilus rises to the surface and sees the imposing Mount Sarmiento in the distance; access to Alberto de Agostini Park is mainly by sea or air from Punta Arenas and then by private companies to the destination area inside the reserve. 
Of special note is the tourist cruise to enjoy the magnificent Glaciers Avenue, along the Beagle Channel, considered one of the most impressive places in the park, because it corresponds to a sequence of glaciers that detach from the Darwin Ice Field towards the sea. Routes with Australis Cruises.  

King Penguin Natural Reserve

King Penguins
Image: Go Patagonia Chile
Programs & Tours, Travel Agency & Rent a Car in Punta Arenas

Located in Bahia Inutil, 114 km. South of Porvenir, route Y-85. In 2010, a small group of these beautiful birds settled here for the first time. The presence of the second largest bird in size after the Emperor Penguin caused great admiration among the locals.
Then, the colony grew more and more, as there was no regulation, people disturbed the animals and endangered the colony. This is how the idea of creating the park was born, which today has a first-class infrastructure so that tourists can observe them without causing any kind of impact. It has become one of the most attractive places in Tierra del Fuego. Plan your visit and make reservations HERE.

Karukinka Natural Park

Private Natural Park run by the international NGO Wildlife Conservation Society, which promotes a model of biodiversity conservation, open to the public between November and April. It is worth mentioning that the Ona or Selknam natives called their land Karukinka. With an area of almost 300,000 hectares, it is the largest protected area in Tierra del Fuego. Located in the municipality of Timaukel, in the southern part of the island, in a pure and wild natural environment, it is home to the largest population of guanacos, condors and Fuegian foxes in Chile.
It is 450 km from Punta Arenas and 250 km from Porvenir, the nearest city. There is no public transportation to get to Karukinka Park. The best way to visit is to take a tour in Punta Arenas or Porvenir, or rent a vehicle to explore this remote, majestic and wild corner of the planet.  Book your stay HERE.

Fernando Cordero Rusque Municipal Museum, Porvenir

Address: 71 Jorge Schythe Street, Porvenir. Founded in 1980, there is an interesting sample of Fuegian fauna, a section of archaeology and anthropology, with the remains of a mummified body of a native of the island. In the history section you can appreciate testimonies of the beginnings of the national cinematography, whose cradle was this city; the discovery and exploitation of gold from the end of the 19th century, besides an interesting photographic sample of the Onas or Selknam (natives of Tierra del Fuego) and images of the colonization of the island.

In May 2024, after being closed for six months for a major renovation, the museum reopened its doors with a new and modern look to preserve the island's cultural heritage.
Open hours:
Monday to Thursday: 8:00-17:15. 
Friday: 8:00-16:15 hrs. 
Saturday and Sunday: 10:00-16:00.

Mirador Hain, Porvenir 

Mirador Hain is a popular tourist attraction in Porvenir. It is a viewpoint that offers a panoramic view of the town of Porvenir and the surrounding countryside. Visitors can enjoy the view through informative panels and binoculars. The viewpoint is accessible by car and is located across the bay from the town. 

Mirador Hain is a great place to take pictures and enjoy the scenery. It is recommended to visit the viewpoint during clear weather to fully appreciate the view. Visitors can also explore other nearby attractions such as the King Penguin Colony and local restaurants. The lookout features statues in honor of the Selknam people, tourist information, handicap parking, and solar-powered lighting.

Plaza Selknam, Porvenir

Symbolic Selknam Square, located in the heart of Porvenir, which has life-size representations of the ancient inhabitants of this region, belonging to the original Selknam or Ona ethnic group. Located at John Williams and Teniente Merino, it consists of a sculptural ensemble carved in concrete by the local artist Richard Yasic Israel.

Stromatolites Park, Porvenir

Stromatolites Park, near Porvenir, Chile.
Image: El Magallanico - Online Newspaper
  Situated in Laguna de los Cisnes, 6 km. from the capital of Tierra del Fuego, Chile. Stromatolites were recently discovered and studied by scientists from different parts of the world, these are mineral structures built by a type of bacteria through millions of years, considered living fossils of huge interest for science and an opportunity for the tourism industry as well. Stromatolites allow for the possibility of investigating ecosystems similar to those that gave rise to life on the planet about 3.5 billion years ago. One of the few places in the world where these geo-biological systems are found is precisely here, in the Parque de Estromatolitos of Porvenir. Read more...

Gold Tourist Circuit

One of the unmissable tours is the Gold Circuit, which, after visiting the Gold Room of the Museum, begins its 115-kilometer journey through the Baquedano Mountain Range, where, at a maximum altitude of 500 meters, you can enjoy a magnificent view of the Strait of Magellan. 
Further on, there is an area where the extraction of the precious metal is still carried out in a very artisanal way by the local small-scale miners, who carry out their work in a very similar way as it was done 100 years ago.  During the tour you can also see the remains of old gold dredges, such as the Rio del Oro, and abandoned machinery used between 1900 and 1910.

Sport Fishing in Tierra del Fuego

Fly fishing in Tierra del Fuego, Chile.
Fly fishing in Tierra del Fuego is one of the most important tourist activities. The tranquility of its remote landscapes, its pure waters and the average size of the specimens make the island a world-class destination for this recreational activity.  
It is not for nothing that Tierra del Fuego is internationally considered one of the great destinations for trout fishing, with anglers from all over the world coming to its numerous rivers and lakes to practice their favorite pastime and enjoy the magnificent surroundings. The season for this activity begins in October and ends in April of the following year. The main species found in the island's freshwaters are brown trout, anadromous brown trout, rainbow trout, brook trout and king salmon, also known as Chinook.  
The best places for sport fishing in Tierra del Fuego are the Rio Grande, considered the best river in the world in its category for sea-run fishing; the Rio Chico (name in contrast to the Rio Grande), has the peculiarity of having a large number of specimens, it is perfect for beginners because the pieces are not large but are found in abundance. Lago Blanco, a body of water with abundant presence of rainbow and brown trout; Rio Condor, in the remote municipality of Timaukel, quite difficult to access and little visited by fishermen, famous for the quality and abundance of specimens.
Another place characterized by its calm waters and abundant fishing is Lago Deseado, on the shores of the lake of the same name, located in the municipality of Timaukel. There is the Deseado Lake Fishing Lodge, which has the ideal infrastructure to enjoy programs ranging from three nights-four days to six nights-seven days. It also has zodiacs, kayaks and vehicles to explore every corner of the area. Another nearby place known for its calm waters and good fishing is Lago Despreciado. After a long journey through mountain ranges you reach the large Lago Fagnano, shared with Argentina, where most of it is located, and the Rio Azopardo, natural outlet of Lake Fagnano into the Strait of Magellan.

Yendegaia National Park 

Yendegaia National Park
The nature reserve was created in December 2013, at the initiative of American businessman and environmental activist Douglas Tompkins and Kristine Tompkins. The area is 150,612 hectares, of which more than 38,000 hectares were donated by Tompkins and the remaining 111,000 hectares were donated by the State of Chile. Yendegaia means "deep bay" in the language of the now nearly extinct Yamana people. Access by land, although difficult, is via route Y-85 that leads to Lake Fagnano, or by sea from the neighboring town of Puerto Williams.
Parque Nacional Yendegaia lies along part of the southern tip of the island, bordering Parque Nacional Tierra del Fuego in neighboring Argentina. Yendegaia Bay is located 500 kilometers south of Punta Arenas, you can see the exact location of the National Park HERE.



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