“JAIME MET US , AND GREETED ME LIKE AN OLD FRIEND – BIG HUGS AND KISSES ON BOTH CHEEKS… WE HAVE BEEN EMAILING BACK AND FORTH SINCE LAST MARCH ABOUT ALL THESE TOURS, AND YES, I FELT LIKE I WAS GREETING SOMEONE I KNEW QUITE WELL, RATHER THAN MEETING HIM OF THE FIRST TIME!”
Ushuaia Tierra del Fuego is a national park located in the southwest of Argentina bordering Chile and it is the southernmost part of the Andean Patagonian forest, making it one of the most popular South America tours for adventurers. You can even enter the Chile from this national park, with a passport of course.
Accessing the park is by National 3 route and it is situated 12km from Ushuaia. We will visit Pipo River, the Susana Mount, Ensenada Bay, Redonda Island, Cadon del Toro, Roca Lake, Verde and Negra Lagoons, Castores Dam and Lapataia Bay
This park can is bragging with its wonderful flora and fauna- with over 20 species of mammal, including red fox, the guanaco, the otter (chungunco) and the Canadian beaver. This is also the natural habitat of the black eyed albatross, the condor, and the white cuaquenes. The forest is a mixture of Patagonic and Altos Andes forest with guindo trees occupying the most area.
THE OPTIONAL TOUR OF THE PARK IS THE ‘END OF THE WORLD TRAIN’, LEAD BY ONE OF OUR LOCAL TOUR GUIDES;
the tour is the reminiscence of the infamous Train of the Prisoners, which used to transport prisoners to supply Ushuaia villages with wood- the southernmost railway in the world. The train starts slowly, at 7km per hour, as started in the days of the early 20th century when prisoners still supplied the villages with the wood- but this stopped in the middle of the century and it is reopened for the tourists in 1994.
On this tour, you will learn the importance of the railway in the 20th life- without the railway, the prison would be without wood used for cooking and heating. The railway passes through forest, and on this road, you will be able to see the eastern slope of Mount Susana and then the central part of the Pipo River Valley.
This tour involves a moderate amount of walking and getting on-and-off buses
The entrance fee to the Park is included. A specialized our guide will accompany the group the whole tour.
Shopping stops included.
Clothing: light and comfortable. Sun blocker.
OPTIONAL TRAIN END OF THE WORLD
A tour on the southernmost train in the world. It is a replica of the “Tren de los Presos” (Train of the Prisoners), which used to transport prisoners to supply Ushuaia villagers with timber some 100 years ago. The vegetation, rivers, lakes, and peat bogs of Tierra del Fuego National Park take visitors to a faraway place where time seems different. The railway station, located 8km from the city inside the Tierra del Fuego National Park, was packed with tourists. In the hall, the quartet from Tierra del Fuego called “Del ’65” was interpreting classic tangos live, entertaining us while we waited. But as soon as the whistle called for us, we got ready to get on the train. At 9:30, the “Camila”, one of the steam locomotives that lead the tour of the southernmost train in the world, was expecting at one of the platforms. In 1994, after 42 years of a forced and silent retirement, the end-of-the-world train resumed its old circuit. I made myself comfortable on the first car, sitting next to Mónica, the guide that would escort us during the tour, which started very slowly, just like 100 years ago. The Days of the Prison “…The days pass without any change, as if time had stopped since we arrived. It is always the same: from the prison to the camp in the forest and after axing all day long, back to the prison, on the same train…” Maybe that was the mind of some of the 90 convicts that arrived in Ushuaia. Since 1883, when President Roca passed the law authorizing the settlement of the prison in Tierra del Fuego, until 1909, when the railway branch lines were laid and the new city grew at the pace of the recidivist offenders prison. The new train played an essential role for the building of the prison to guarantee the necessary firewood used for cooking and heating all year round. The branch line would cross the eastern slope of Mount Susana and then the central part of the Pipo River Valley. Such water course was named after a convict who escaped and disappeared in the current. In those days, the first steam locomotive had been given the nickname “La coqueta” (Coquette), for she would hop along the rails. We were traveling at 7 km per hour through the El Toro Ravine, bordering the river until we crossed the bridge from where we saw the traces of the old crossing. Some meters ahead, we reached the “Cascada la Macarena” station, where we stopped to admire the wild beauty that the Tierra del Fuego National Park still preserves. This used to be a mandatory stop to load water for the locomotives. As the whistle was heard, we went back to the train to resume our journey. Before entering the subantarctic forest, we passed by the tree cemetery. Mónica told us that the higher stumps (part of the tree trunk that remains joined to its root) are from the trees the prisoners would cut down in the winter. In the final stretch, we bordered the peat bog, characteristic of this natural environment where a kind of moss of the genus called sphagnum grows almost exclusively. The Estación del Parque, the final stop of our ride, was not far. As we arrived, the locomotive was unhooked and changed the rail, and then recoupled at the front to start its way back. I got off at the station and continued touring around the national park. But before that, I waited for the train to leave. We had traveled 25km over the rails that lock the stories of those convicted to dwell and give shape to a city in the confines of the country.
If you want to pair more destinations with Tierra del Fuego National park, consider taking an excursion to Escondida Lakes, Beagle Channel or tour to the city of Ushuaia for the best Argentina travel experience.
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