Located between Chile and Argentina, Tierra del Fuego is South America’s wild south, a ’land of fire’ at the end of the world. At its southernmost tip, South America ends in a confusion of islands and at the granite rocks of storm beaten Cape Horn.
We visit the Argentinean section of Fireland and arrive at Ushuaia, the southernmost town in the world and ’gateway to Antarctica’.
It is difficult to believe that not long ago, nothing but the wooden huts of Anglican missionaries stood here, those who introduced Christianity to the Fireland Indians in 1869.
The Museo Territorial is contained within one of the town’s oldest buildings and although its display rooms are somewhat small, the exhibits more than compensate. The history of this former prison island is also on show and well documented with old photographs, paintings and various tools.
Next we enter Presidio Prison, a dark chapter of Tierra del Fuego’s historic past. It was inaugurated in 1902 after almost 400 hardened criminals in yellow-blue striped clothing had been forced to build it.
Only a handful of people are allowed to go to the island where they are closely supervised by a guide and stick to well-defined pathways. It is amusing to watch the Magellan Penguins, which actually bray like donkeys, as they waddle along in true penguin-like comical fashion.
Where once brave explorers, far from civilization, discovered new land, today ECO tourism is flourishing. Hopefully it will always be an adventure to come here on this journey to Fireland, at the end of the world!
4 years ago