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Ushuaia, Argentina

Ushuaia has the rugged feel of a frontier town and the setting of a glacial paradise. Located on the Beagle Channel and backed by snow-capped mountains, this southernmost city in the world serves as the capital of the Argentine province of Tierra del Fuego, the "Land of Fire." It was so named because of the torches lit along the shore by the native Indians to warn each other of danger.


Lapataia National Park

Located 12 miles west of Ushuaia, Lapataia is a 155,000-acre park whose magnificent scenery is matched only by the abundant wildlife. In this wilderness of glacial lakes, Andean mountains and woodlands, you might spot an 18-inch Great Patagonian Woodpecker, the large green austral parakeet, hawks, steamer ducks, and the rare Andean tapaculo. Gray fox and guanaco are also present, but most obvious are the effects of the Canadian beaver, introduced to Tierra del Fuego in 1948 and flourishing throughout the island.

Tierra Del Fuego National Park

Located in southwestern Tierra del Fuego province, over the borderline with Chile, this National Park is the southernmost example of the Andean - Patagonian forest. It was created in 1960 and has a surface of 63.000 hectares.

In this area the final part of the Andes features a northwest - southeast orientation. The peaks alternate with valleys where there are rivers and glacial originated lakes. Two types of forests predominate here: those of Lenga and Guindo trees, with an open underwood mainly consisting of moss and fern.

In the spaces within the forests there is plenty of peat in very humid, flooded areas where the sphagnum moss grows.

On the sea shore, the two great bays (Lapataia and Ensenada) deploy in gorges and beaches that are full of white cauquenes. There are also black eyebrowed albatross (over two meters long) who cohabit with the steam duck and the diving petrel. There is also a rare kind of otter named chungungo.

Other species are the guanaco and a particular Tierra del Fuego variety of red fox. The Canadian beaver, an introduced species, has caused a great environmental impact because it cuts down trees in order to build dams which, in turn, provoke floods in certain parts of the forest where the trees also die as a consequence of the excess of water.

There are many trekking paths inside the Park, that can be easily followed:

Black Lagoon: Only 400 m. from Route 3 you arrive to this lagoon, which is dark colored due to the presence of peat.

The Island: it consists of 800 m. along the coasts of rivers Lapataia and Ovando, over archipelago Cormoranes.

The Lookout Point: From route 3 you directly access Lapataia Bay, walking along a lengas wood. From there you get to the lookout point which offers a magnificent panoramic view of the bay.

Meet the beavers: After some 400 m. up to Los Castores stream, you will be able to observe the dams system these incredible animals have built, as well as the environmental impact it causes.