Tierra del Fuego, the End of the World, and the Yamana People

Posted by on July 5th, 2016

The southernmost city in the world tends to inspire awe at first glance. While this city anywhere else might be just another habitable area filled with houses, industry, and businesses alike, Ushuaia sits along the Beagle Channel and is at the entryway to several amazing National Parks sitting at the end of the world. One of those parks is the famous Tierra del Fuego National Park.

On a visit to Ushuaia earlier this year I had the opportunity to get to know this park intimately. After spending several days in and around Ushuaia, I decided to spend a full day in Tierra del Fuego before boarding my cruise to Punta Arenas that night. Upon arrival to the park, it was of course raining. Rain however, does not stop any excursion in Ushuaia. After all, steady year round rains are part of the process that maintains this beautiful and pristine ecosystem.

Tierra del Fuego National Park - Coastal Trail

Tierra del Fuego National Park – Coastal Trail

In Tierra del Fuego, it is possible to do such things as kayaking, hiking, or just walking along the coastal trails. Having a local guide with me proved priceless as I was exposed to the history and culture of the Yamana (aka Yaghan) people which inhabited this land up until the last century. The last full blooded Yamana woman is still residing today but lives in Chilean territory. When you walk the coastal trail and listen to their story you will transported in time to where people survived in Tierra del Fuego off of what they fished in the bay and all the while being without clothing. Questions kept filling my mind as I listened attentively to all my guide was teaching me about the indigenous peoples of this land.

After hiking all day, going out on the bay, and being exposed to the history of the land I just didn’t want this day to end. However, the cruise ship was starting to blow its final boarding call as I got back to town and just like that I was transported back to our time to get onboard and experience the stunning geographical features of the end of the world by travelling island to island abroad a Patagonia Cruise. Ushuaia is a place that I sure hope to get back to one day.

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