Tierra del Fuego Lago Fagnano Adventure

Lago Fagnano

This past fall, I finally got back into the experience of overseas travel, after not traveling outside of the USA since the fall of 2019. It was nice to get back into the swing of things and experience new places. As it happened, my first trip was to Argentina. To be honest, I had never really given much thought to Argentina in the past. But since I had booked a cruise to Antarctica, and most Antarctica cruises start from Argentina, I was going to be in the country anyway. Since I like to get as much bang for my travel buck as possible, I figured if I am already down at the end of the world, I might as well explore the country and see what it has to offer.

Once I started my research, I realized that Argentina has a wealth of places to see and do and a variety of climates to make travel interesting. Tierra del Fuego sounded really interesting from my travel research, and I knew the terrain would be very different from home and what I am used to. To start my vacation since my Antarctica cruise had a fixed time and I ran the numbers in terms of work vacation days spent, I decided to go to Argentina early enough to give me three full days in Tierra del Fuego and the town of Ushuaia to explore. Working with my travel agent, Tesa Totencgo, she (in conjunction with an amazing Argentina travel agency, Oriunda who made all the arrangements on the ground) recommended some fun activities in Tierra del Fuego. My first full day in Argentina was a trip out to the large Lago Fagnano. It’s on the island of Tierra del Fuego, but not in the national park to my knowledge. It was a good opportunity to see and do something different and get comfortable in the Tierra del Fuego area.

Lago Escondido view from Paso Garibaldi

I was picked up early by my guide from Canal Fun Nature, the group that offers this tour. There were about six of us in this SUV, and we met up with a couple other SUVs and headed out. Our first stop was the mountain overlook, Garibaldi Pass, which gave us a very expansive view of Lago Escondido and the surrounding mountains.

After that, we headed out to Lago Fagnano (a huge lake of around 100 km across) and took advantage of the SUV’s 4×4 capability to navigate some rather rugged trails on the lake shore, and sometimes even in the lake a little bit. This lake is huge, and in fact part of it is in Chile (since both Argentina and Chile share borders on Tierra del Fuego island). Our guides pointed out local flora (such as the fragrant floral calafate berry bush that produced a very pretty yellow flower, and also the berries that were very popular in the region), and castors, which are beavers that have been beavering everywhere and cutting down trees to make numerous dams.

Our guides dropped us off at the lakeshore and instructed us to follow the shore for about a half mile and then turn inland to the hut. They went ahead and prepared the lunch buffet. It was nice to get out and walk along the lake shore. The sun was shining, and the wind picked up every so often to create small white caps on the lake surface. It was pleasantly chilly and the wind is a hallmark of the weather in Tierra del Fuego.

Our easy walk brought us to the hut where this very tasty and expansive lunch buffet was prepared. There were a wide assortment of grilled meats, sausage sandwiches, a variety of sides, and oh so much Argentine wine. By the end of it, we were stuffed and rather drunk, but definitely got our money’s worth. Thankfully the lunch was the culmination of our day’s activity, so we took our time navigating out of the lake on a different road, an actual road within the park. Afterward we took a different road back to Ushuaia to enjoy the view. It was definitely an enjoyable day, and a great start to my multi-week Argentina adventure.

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