USHUAIA - TIERRA DEL FUEGO
One of the most exciting and recommended non-conventional excursions in Tierra del Fuego is the trip to Martial Glacier, an impressive snow-covered mountain located in a hotel area which represents the most important drinking water source of the city. There, at the foot of its immensity, is the Martial Glacier Resort, a place where all kinds of sport events can take place in a magnificent natural atmosphere.
Martial Glacier is only 4.5 km away from the city, to the northeast. The paved road, snow-free in winter time, allows traffic to flow smoothly up to the spacious parking lots at the resort.
The glacier is 1.050 meters above sea level. It was named after Captain Luis Fernando Martial, head of the French expedition, who visited the area in 1883 in the war transportation "Romanche" with a group of researchers commissioned to observe the planet Venus.
The tourist resort opened in 1983 and one of the main attractions is the chair-lift, mounted on steel sheets that form tubes of hexagonal section providing great resistance to twisting. The chairs, a total of 100, are built of steel tubes and they move parallel to the ski slope (1,180 meters long). The trip takes 8 to 10 minutes.
The chair-lift trip is not only an attraction because of the beautiful sights of the city, but it also offers an interesting opportunity to go for walks to the glacier. From the top station, different paths will lead the tourist to visit places such as the "portillo", from where he can observe the Andorra Canyon.
Walking excursions on ice are simple, the steepest slope being at the beginning of the trip. Precaution should be taken with cracks, especially in spring and fall, when ice bridges are weak. If you do not have suitable equipment, it would be convenient to climb Negro Canyon, a vast valley opening to the right as you go up to the glacier, after leaving the chair-lift.
During winter time the resort becomes an alpine ski center. Thus, it is the season that gives the most alternatives to skiers: alpine ski, snowboard, sledges … There is also the possibility of doing crossings out of the tracks for skiers already familiar with the area or accompanied by specialized guides. All the necessary gear can be rented and personal or group classes can be taken in the city center.
The center offers a wide range of activities in summer. Walks and trekking tracks in spectacular places, along paths that will make tourists feel they are XXI century conquerors, crossing rivers that go down the mountain or going along bridges made of trees from the area; in constant and intense contact with nature.
Walks may be short, taking an afternoon or a day and the tourist may walk on ice and, among other wonders, enjoy the Andorra Valley that runs parallel to the Beagle Channel and surrounds the city in the north, or the Vicinguerra Glacier and homonymous Hill, Navarino and Hoste islands or the Beagle Channel.
ACTIVITIES AT MARTIAL GLACIER
The traditional Torch Descent is an event that takes place at the Glacier to welcome the winter season. Participants, skiers and snowboarders light fireworks at the edge of the Glacier and they go down carrying torches and flares while the public gathers at the end of the track to welcome the participants. The activity finishes when a puppet surrounded by the crowd is set fire.
Fauna and Bird Watching
The best time is from the end of September to the end of March. It is recommended to organize an afternoon outing to observe the hardworking beavers and many other species in their environment (Gentoo Penguin, Magellanic Diving-Petrel, Ruddy-headed Goose, Andean Condor and Magellanic Woodpecker, just to mention a few) that live in this southern area.
These outings, with different degrees of difficulty, are organized with the help of trained guides and take one or more days. The mountains in the region offer a combination of rock, carryings, ice or snow. On getting to the top of the mountains the tourist will enjoy the most incredible landscape.
It takes place in Tierra del Fuego National Park and in the surroundings of Ushuaia. It is advisable to contact a guide. The cost of the excursion includes transport to the park, bike, backpack, rain equipment, helmet and packed lunch. Bikes can also be rented in the city.
For those tourists who love panoramic views but do not feel like climbing a mountain, light aircrafts that take off from the local airport will give them the opportunity to get a privileged view of the end of the world and its surroundings.
At the end of the world you can enjoy the pleasure of playing golf in a fascinating and unique landscape. Six kilometers away from Ushuaia, the most southern golf court, surrounded by the impressive Andes mountain range, has 9 holes with double exit, 5,371 meters and comfortable facilities in the valley of Pipo River.
In summer time, often from September to March, cruises sail along the southern circuit of South America. They set sail in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) or Buenos Aires (Argentina) and stop at Ushuaia (Argentina), Punta Arenas (Chile) and sail along the Chilean channels to Puerto Montt or Valparaiso (Chile).
- Do not drop litter on the mountain. Place it in the bins at the chair-lift resort.
- Do not walk over the glacier ice, there are very dangerous cracks.
- Ask the chair-lift staff about the safest paths.
- Do not damage the fauna and flora of the place.