The world didn’t end in 2012, but adventure travellers looking to get apocalyptic might see the end of the Earth in 2014. No, we’re not talking about another Mayan Doomsday. The end of the Earth is at the southern-most end of South America, a jagged archipelago that’s seen much bloodshed and more than a few sunken ships.
Depending who you ask, the final stop for civilization is at Ushuaia, in Argentina, or Puerto Williams, Chile. By my count Puerto Williams is just slightly further south (sorry Argentina – it was really close), yet they both jockey for cruise ships, ecotourism and folks who want to ski, hike and otherwise take in arguably the most dramatic landmass on the planet. Ushuaia gets the last laugh, however, with more traffic and tourism for folks looking south.
The best way to see Tierra Del Fuego depends on your pocketbook. Ecotourism has taken off in recent years, with cruises from Ushuaia to Antarctica. These can get bumpy though – Cape Horn, remember? – so bring your Gravol.
A more practical way to see Tierra Del Fuego for many people might be to do it by rail. The Southern Fuegian Railway, more aptly called ‘The Train of the End of the World’, which departs 8 km out of Ushuaia, at The End of the World Station (nice touch) and travels through the Pico Valley, stopping about midway at a crazy awesome view point for pictures. The ride ends at El Parque station in beautiful Tierra Del Fuego national park, from where travellers can return by train or coach at their leisure.
Most reviews of the journey are positive.
You’ll need to get to Ushuaia to pursue this option; the easiest way to do that is to fly from Buenos Aires or Santiago. You can also get there by sea, with some of the big cruise lines, including Holland America Line and Celebrity Cruises. Or if you’re a real keener, and do things the old-fashioned way, you can drive to Tierra Del Fuego – from Alaska no less! – via the Pan American Highway. My hat goes off to you if you commit to that journey.
However you get there, make a point to see Tierra Del Fuego. The cool factor is high when you can say you’ve seen the End of the Earth.