USHUAIA - TIERRA DEL FUEGO
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This is where we find the typical Patagonian bas--relief plateau - low, rounded hills with low vegetation. This sector features major livestock (especially sheep) farming establishments, many of which are specially prepared to receive tourists, and some of which also include oil and natural gas wells.
To the north of Ushuaia, at a distance of 230 km is the city of Río Grande.
Founded July 11, 1921, it is on the shore of the Argentine Sea close to the mouth of the river by the same name. This area specially features the internationally famous major trout fishing facilities. Thanks to a special promotion law, the city became a focal point for the assembly and production of electronic equipment.
In 1893, Salesian missionaries of Nuestra Señora de la Candelaria chose this city as an evangelical conversion center for the local Selknam aborigines. Monsignor Fagnano, a member of the Don Bosco order headed the mission. When the local population disappeared, the mission building became the area's first preparatory school, and in 1983 it was given the status of National Historical Monument. The Chapel, the Mission House, the building housing the María Auxiliadora sisters and the "Monseñor Fagnano Regional Museum" make up a fascinating circuit to relive the past in this remote area.
By Route "B" or RP 8, a gravel road paralleling the Grande River, one may travel to the west, passing on the way the Estancias (ranches) Cauchicol, Despedida, Aurelia, San José and San Justo, up to the Chilean border.
On Route "C" or RP 5, at km 20, is "Estancia María Behety", dating from 1899, named after the wife of wealthy Spaniard José Menéndez. This ranch has "rustic Fueguian style" architecture (mostly twentieth century), and features a huge Shearing Barn.
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The central area is midway between mountain and steppe geography. It features scrub-type and wooded vegetation in isolated patches in valleys and on mountainsides. Adventure and rural tour activities figure largely among the activity options here.
It is located 60 km north of Ushuaia, on National Route Nº 3. Before reaching the lake, the traveler comes across the "Las Cotorras" and "Haruwen" mountain shelters. As from "Rancho Hambre" the road climbs steadily up to 450 meters above sea level at Garibaldi Pass, a high-altitude scenery vantage point where visitors can enjoy a panorama of Lake Escondido and Lake Fagnano. The picturesque beauty of this spot is really unique.
Another forty kilometers takes us to Lake Fagnano or Kami: this is an impressive international body of water shared between Chile and Argentina (most of its surface). It is one hundred kilometers in length by six wide, and along its shore lodging is available in the form of an inn, a campsite and a group of cabins, where horseriding, bicycle and four-wheel motorcycle tours (among others) are available. It is ideal for sport-fishing and bird-watching (the local petrel and the cauquen are specially interesting).
Tolhuin and the Valdez River Hot Springs
At the foot of "Michi" peak, some kilometers away from Lake Fagnano and after going through a cabin complex, one comes to the picturesque village of Tolhuin, founded in 1972. Its name in the Selknam (Ona) native tongue means "heart", and it is the third most heavily populated area in Tierra del Fuego after Ushuaia and Río Grande. It offers tourists lodging at inns, campsites and cabins as well as excellent gastronomy options. Many picturesque log buildings and the famous Valdez River Hot Springs are the main attractions here.
Lakes Chepelmut y Yehuin
Continuing along National Route Nº 3, 35 km north of the Río Valdez Hot Springs, and taking a left fork along the ''H'' or RP 18 side road, we find lakes Chepelmut and Yehuin. These are both unequalled fly fishing facilities, specially for trout; they also offer trekking, horseriding, mountain biking, boating excursions and local fauna tours. This area also boasts Shenolsh peak, the natural habitat of the Patagonian Andean Condor, from which an impressive view of the area is possible.
San Pablo Cape
At the mouth of the Ladrillero and San Pablo rivers lies San Pablo Cape, a picturesque locality which may be accessed by National Route Nº 3 and then taking RP 21, some 180 km from Ushuaia. The coast running from San Sebastián Bay up to San Pablo Cape is internationally important for the survival of different species of migratory coastal birds, some of which spend the non-reproductive stage of their lives there.
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The Antarctica or the White Continent is one of the world's most important
natural preserves. It is protected by the ecological norms laid down
by Antarctica Treaty member countries. One could even say that we
are on a "sixth continent", an enormous area at present exclusively
dedicated to scientific research activity.
This continent covers fourteen million square kilometers around the
South Pole. It is permanently covered with ice, which overflows into
the surrounding sea. Barely two percent of the total surface of the
continent is ice-free. Its northern geophysical border is limited
by the 60° parallel of southern latitude, also known as the Antarctica
Convergence. The general appearance of the continent is that of a
great plateau, 3,000 meters high in places.
Visiting the Antarctica is both fascinating and mysterious. There
are several itineraries which take up between nine and fifteen days.
Using inflatable dinghies, one may visit scenarios chosen either for
their scenic beauty or for the abundance of their wildlife. The vessels
possess all the comfort required for this kind of trip. Between the
November and March, different cruise ships, either icebreakers or
reinforced-hull vessels leave for this destination.
Its fauna consists of seals, sea lions and walruses, penguins, albatrosses,
petrels, cormorants and whales; most Antarctica species live in the
coastal area where krill, a small crustacean life form that many of
them use as a staple food, is abundant.