Boasting imposing mountains, otherworldly glaciers and some of the most diverse and spectacular landscapes on the planet, the very southern tip of South America should be a place for only the most intrepid explorers to tread. But is it possible to explore the incredible scenery of Tierra del Fuego, the Land of Fire, in a more luxurious fashion?
The answer to this question is a resounding ‘yes’, with sustainable luxury resorts having opened across the region in recent years, both in the city of Ushuaia and the more rugged wilderness of both Argentina and Chile. Ushuaia is widely claimed to be the southernmost city in the world and acts as the gateway to the region, a city surrounded by a panorama of barely believable natural landscapes.
Despite the increasing number of tourists visiting Ushuaia and the rest of southern Patagonia, however, it remains one of the more relatively untouched natural environments that also functions as a realistic travel destination.
Many of the ecological wonders of Tierra del Fuego inhabit the archipelago that sits inside the Beagle Channel, the stretch of water that separates Argentina and Chile at the extreme southern end of the continent. Further afield, however, there is also incredible scenery and natural wonders that can be sighted within the two national parks in the region.
Sat in the shadow of the imposing, snow-capped mountains that envelop Ushuaia, the Los Cauquenes resort is a popular option for tourists hoping to explore a region often regarded as ‘the end of the world’ in luxury and style. Not only does Los Cauquenes offer the comfort of a luxury resort, but also its spa facilities also allow for winding down at the end of a long day exploring the incredible scenery that Tierra del Fuego is known for.
For those seeking an even more isolated environment than Ushuaia, however, there are options located deeper within the Tierra del Fuego wilderness. This option also allows travellers to consider the option of staying in Chile rather than Argentina, with the area of Tierra del Fuego straddling the border of these two South American neighbours.
Tourism within the Chilean side of Patagonia is largely focused around the beautiful Torres del Paine National Park, a stunning mountainous region where peaks reach towards the sky and glaciers snake towards the horizon. Without the amenities that a city such as Ushuaia can offer and a significant distance from Punta Arenas, the key settlement on the Chilean side of the border, a trip to Torres del Paine really can represent a leap into the unknown.
Tourism is still a growing, rather than an established, industry in Tierra del Fuego, however, which does mean that travel between Chile and Argentina can be difficult. There are few border crossings between the two nations, with the mountainous terrain creating a formidable natural barrier, and luxury lodges that are just a matter of kilometres apart can take hours to travel between.
This requires the traveller who is looking to explore Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego in luxury to be quite discerning with the locations that they want to visit, although the whole region offers enough stunning panoramic views and accommodation options that a visit to the southern tip of the world would be an incredible experience wherever you choose to tread.
Photos: [all via Bigstockphoto.com].