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Tierra del Fuego

Tierra del Fuego, literally meaning land of fire, got its name from sailors who observed indigenous bonfires on its coast at the southernmost tip of the world. The treacherous Strait of Magellan separates the island from mainland Argentina and Chile, and the traveller can arrive here by taking a ferry or plane.

Tierra del Fuego is an enchanting place with a far more temperate climate than one might expect. The most southern town in the world, Ushuaia, makes a great base for taking in the region. Although heavily touristed, one can go to national parks dotted with swamps, twisted trees and colorful mosses, visit family estancias, or see the old prison which housed political criminals. Those who escaped from the prison found themselves helpless in brutally unfriendly terrain. Hikers are even advised to carry rags dipped in kerosene to overcome the difficulty of starting a fire.

The land has character of its own, and while many of the locals have grown to dislike all the tourist traffic, many have colorful tales to tell. There is a cafe, for instance, in between Ushuaia and Rio Grande with pictures of the owner together with many famous people who might share a few interesting words with you. Ushuaia makes a base for cruises to Antarctica if you have a few thousand dollars lying around.