- Sightseeing, Neighborhood/Area Type
- More than Full Day Time to Spend
Read about how we rank Things to Do.
This enchanting triangular archipelago is separated from the southernmost tip of Chilean Patagonia by the Strait of Magellan and has captivated the minds of explorers, scientists, and curious wanderers. Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan first arrived here about 500 years ago, cruising through Tierra del Fuego's remote straits on a quest for Asian spices. And in the 1800s, Charles Darwin sailed to the region's rustic frontier aboard the HMS Beagle. Tierra del Fuego's name (meaning "Land of Fire") stems from passing sailors who first stumbled upon the region and saw the indigenous Yámana tribe's campfires blazing across its shoreline.
Today, travelers come from across the globe to marvel at Tierra del Fuego's emerald-hued bodies of water and brightly gleaming glaciers. While visiting, you'll likely want to pay a visit to Tierra del Fuego National Park, which backs the Chilean Patagonian border on the Argentine side of Tierra del Fuego. This park boasts an array of wildlife and fauna as well as the green-hued Laguna Verde lagoon. Most importantly, Tierra del Fuego acts as a gateway to Antarctica. Hop on the Transbordador Austral Broom ferry to skirt Cape Horn by sea, which allows for some great views of "the end of the world."
Sitting on the Strait of Magellan, the charming town of Porvenir serves as a base for exploring the Chilean side of Tierra del Fuego. Ushuaia, across the border in Argentina, also makes for an excellent starting point for navigating through southern Patagonia. Between September and March, a variety of ferries depart from Punta Arenas to Ushauia. For more information, check out our guide to Getting Around Chilean Patagonia.