4x4s around the Tierra del Fuego

Nature
The wow factor for nature - does it show nature at its best? Doesn't need to be the wilder-beast migration or diving with hundreds of hammerheads. Rather make you pause as you realise just how awesome the natural world can be
9
Culture
How much does this experience showcase some of the better and finer things that us humans can offer? Sure, it can be ancient ruins and renaissance churches, but it can also be festivals or soaking up some of the great modern cities of the world
3
Fun factor/activity
Very simple - was it fun? This is usually linked in with doing some kind of activity - i mean, walking along some cliffs is nice, but paragliding from them, now that is fun. Its a vastly underrated factor in a truly great experience
6
Avoid the crowds
Big tour groups and being surrounded by loud fellow tourists can sap the life out of even the greatest of travel experiences. This score is to reflect just how much you can avoid this. But. . . The score also takes into account if the crowds actually add to the experience, such as with a party town or a bustling food market
9
World famous
How world famous is the experience?
2
unique
How hard is it to have a similar experience in other places round the world?
6
Overall Score
The highest score of nature or culture, + fun factor, + avoid the crowds, + the highest score of world famous or unique. Then turned into a score out of 100. More details at the bottom of the page
75 *What the scores mean and where do they come from
continent
South America
country
Argentina
Length of time
1-2 days
Rough cost
Obviously people have different tastes, so this will depend on those tastes, but this is a rough idea of price of the whole experience based on 2 people able to split the accommodation costs and excluding travel there and back
$ 200
Time of year visited
January
Primary Tags
Click on any of the tags to see all travel experiences with the same tag
RANKING
How this travel experience ranks compared to all the other experiences on this site
76th/334 This travel experience's ranking compared to all the other experiences on this site
Top 30% SUMMARY RATING: Superb

Summary

The Tierra del Fuego – the southermost tip of the Americas and as strange as it is alluring.  Mountains and volcanoes surround you as you arrive in Ushuaia, the southern most city on earth, and you find yourself in the centre of a big playground of glacial lakes, channels and echoes of past culture of the original Fuegian natives.  Take the chance to explore by taking a 4×4 to see some of the lakes, national parks and breathtaking scenery.  You can usually do this in a day, but give yourself two so you can check out the Parque Nacional Tierra del Fuego and some of the lakes further afield and more remote like Escondido and Fagnano

highlights

#1 4x4 trips to Lake Fagnano and Lake Escondido - going off-road and seeing some of the isolated parts of the lakes, the surrounding breathtaking landscapes and stopping for some lunch by Lake Fagnano

#2 Parque Nacional Tierra del Fuego - whilst fairly small and compact, its fun to explore the ancient Fuegian forests of this coastal national park

#3 Grabbing some well deserved lunch in some secluded part of the wild forest

#4 Kayaking across the crystal clear Lake Fagnano

Rough itinerary

  • Base yourself in Ushuaia
  • Give yourself a full day for the 4×4 and canoeing trip
  • Only half a day needed for the trip over to the Tierra del Fuego National Park

Travel tips Including books

    • Tour – for both the half day trip around the Tierra del Fuego National Park and the full day of the 4×4 / canoeing trip to Escondido and Fagnano we went with the tour company Tierra Tourismo.  Couldn’t recommend them more and the guides were fantastic.  Prices below
      • Half day trip hiking around the Tierra del Fuego National Park.  Tour around the national park with a Landrover Defender (4×4).  USD63 per person
      • 4×4 & Canoeing.  Landrover Defender (4×4) to Escondido and Fagnano Lakes, 4×4 circuits, trekking through the forest, lunch at a shelter, and a canoe trip on Escondido Lake.  8 hours.  USD127 per person
  • Do parts yourself – that being said, you could easily arrange the Tierra del Fuego National Park part on your own through getting a taxi to drop you off.  Wouldn’t be able to see some of the spots as easily as with a 4×4 though
  • Local restaurants – we were pleasantly surprised at local restaurants and would highly recommend:
    • Kaupe
    • Kalma
    • Paso Garibaldi
    • Maria Lola
  • Ushuaia itself is actually quite a cool town.  We expected either a small village or some big industrialised port and its kind of both, in a nice way!  You have a lot of the ferries coming through, but you also have an adventury outpost feel in the main part of town with ski shops, outdoor gear, backpackers and general excitement for those about to head off into the wilderness / Antarctica
  • Accommodation – we stayed in the Los Yamanas hotel just outside of town.  Wouldn’t overly recommend it
  • Books
    • I couldn’t recommend more highly This Thing of Darkness by Harry Thompson, one of my favourite books.  This charts, in historical fiction-style, the true story of Captain Fitzoy’s journey to chart the Tierra del Fuego, meeting the native Fuegians and bringing the young Charles Darwin with him
    • In Patagonia.  Bruce Chatwin’s account of his journey through Patagonia to see the windswept landscapes, descendants of Welsh immigrants, forgotten legends and a feeling of adventure in seeing “the uttermost part of the earth”
  • Rest of Tierra del Fuego – make sure to check out some of the other things to do and general tips by checking out the Trip to the end of the earth, 4 days in the Tierra del Fuego entry
  • Wish I’d seen – some spots, looking back, I wish we’d have taken the time to check out were the Hikes Around Fort Williams on Isla Navarino; and biting the bullet for a cruise over too Antarctica – I wasn’t that fussed before I went, but now can see the awesome appeal

Experiences nearby

The below map shows experiences nearby with a colour that reflect the Overall Score of those experiences

Score Detail

Background - how many times have you asked someone what a travel experience was like and the response was "amazing" or "awesome"?  That response is nice to know, but it makes it hard to differentiate that experience compared to others.  That is exactly what these scores are trying to do - differentiate the experience by giving a score out of 10 based on 6 categories and then giving an overall experience score

This overall experience score is calculated by:  take the highest of the "Culture" or "Nature" score (1-10) + "Fun factor" (1-10) + "Avoiding the crowds" (1-10) + highest of the "Unique" or "World Famous score" (1-10).  Then convert into a score out of 100

Extra detail - the logic being that I find all of the 6 individual scores important, but I don't want to mark an experience down just because it doesn't cover both "Culture" and "Nature", or because it isn't both "World Famous" and "Unique".  Take the examples of Safari in The Serengeti and walking through Rome - they both appeal at opposite ends of the nature / culture spectrum, and you can have a fantastic time without needing to appeal to both sides.  So, their overall scores aren't penalized for their lack of one or the other, and I've done the same for "World Famous" vs "Unique".  But . . . I do think that the "Fun factor" of an experience is important, irrelevant of other factors, and so is "Avoiding the Crowds" (or where there are crowds that add to the experience).  So, both of these scores are standalone