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Laguna San RafaelTierra del Fuego (Fire Land) is an island, shared in territory by Chile and Argentina. It was named after Hernando de Magallanes, the famous explorer who visited the zone in 1520 and discovered the southern entrance which joins the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, discovery which gave him a name around the world and a place in history. He was traveling around this area when he came to face a number of bonfires on the land ahead, bonfires which had been started by the natives known as Onas or Selknam. They had named the island as 'karukinká', which means 'our land'.

Over four thousand natives lived on the island and the Magallanes, they were nomads, strong and tall people, who behaved in a hostile way when it came to the invasion of their territory. They created weapons, such as slings, arrows and bows; which made it possible for them to hunt for survival, and to protect their land from any enemy. They managed to do it for about fifty years, but the lack of organization between the tribes and the colonization managed by the governments of Chile and Argentina, took them to near extinction. Besides, they were also chased or persecuted as a sport practiced by the settlers of that time, who paid high amounts of money for a pair of ears.

In 1945, it was discovered that the island was a fount of petroleum, especially in the northern part. Since then, many oil platforms have been installed to extract the mineral, as well as mineral carbon. The platforms installed are of two kinds: perforation and submarine extraction. Around that time, Tierra del Fuego was used to graze cattle as well.

Tierra del Fuego, the land of fire, is located in the very south of the American continent and its limits are the Magellan's Strip, the Beagle Channel and the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans.

Neccesary information

When to go
All Year.
Estrecho de Magallanes, east of Punta Arenas.
Getting to know one of the most southern places in the globe, with its cold weather and unique landscapes. Tierra del Fuego has everything you?d want to see, native forests and protected animals, to hotels by the lake and historically important places.
How to get there
By land, you take the Ruta 9 Norte and before getting to Punta Arenas you take the CH 255 route, at kilometer 47. The CH255 connects, through ferry or charter, with Tierra del Fuego, road which ends in Porvenir. By water you have to cross the Magellans Strip, taking a boat or zodiac on Three Bridges (Tres Puentes) in Punta Arenas. The ferry ride ends on Bahia Chilota, which is 5 kms away from Porvenir. The ferry works from Tuesday to Sunday, once a day, and it takes it two and a half hours to get to Tierra del Fuego. You can also fly over the Strip, taking a flight in Punta Arenas. The flights are daily and the trip takes about 15 minutes.
  • Codon Baquedano
  • Blanco Lake
  • Lynch Lake
  • Alberto de Agostini National Park
  • The Castores Valley

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