Beagle Channel: Navigation through Tierra del Fuego, Ushuaia
Navigation through the Beagle Channel is the most traditional tour to be done in the Ushuaia region. It is an incredible experience with sensational landscapes. The Beagle Channel connects the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean and separates Ilha Grande from Tierra del Fuego from several small islands to the south. Its eastern part marks the border between Chile and Argentina, but its western part belongs to Chile.
How to get Beagle Channel
There are several tourist agencies throughout the city and in the port area of Ushuaia that provide the Beagle Channel Navigation service. You can go in person at one of these agencies or book this tour through the hotel or hostel you have stayed in if he offers this service. After hiring, you need to go to the port of Ushuaia at the scheduled time which is where the tours depart from. My tour was contracted with the agency Patagonia Explorer.
How to visit Beagle Channel
At the time of purchase, you can choose between a small boat or a catamaran. The guide recommended me to sail in a small boat as this option would be more attractive because the number of people is less than the catamaran and the vessel is able to get closer to the islands.
There is a longer path that is done only in the summer that passes through a penguin and a shorter one that is made in winter that does not pass through the penguin. So, if you go in the winter do not hope to see the penguins as this time of year they migrate north.
Beagle Channel Navigation
The route I took was Isla de Los Pájaros, Isla de Los Lobos, Faro Les Eclaireurs and Isla Bridges. This entire trip has a total duration of 4 hours, already counting the time you go down for a short walk on Isla Bridges.
As you leave the port, you will start to see the city of Ushuaia getting more and more distant.
First Stop: Isla de los Pájaros
After half an hour of sailing through the Beagle Channel, you will arrive at Isla de los Pájaros where you can see a large number of birds, in addition to the royal and imperial cormorants that are characteristic of this region. Cormorants are hunters and can submerge up to 30 meters below the water in search of food.
Second Stop: Isla de los Lobos
The second stop will be on Isla de Los Lobos, where it is possible to spot a large number of sea wolves. Despite the pleasant view, the smell is quite strong. At this point, it is very complicated to take good pictures because the boat rocks a lot.
Third Stop: Faro les Eclaireurs
This is one of the main tourist spots in Ushuaia and the highlight of Navigation through the Beagle Channel. Faro Les Eclaireurs was opened in 1920 and is still in operation, automatically and not open to the public. Although located in Ushuaia, known as the City at the End of the World, this is not the Lighthouse at the End of the World. In fact, the Lighthouse at the End of the World is the Lighthouse of San Juan de Salvamento which is famous for being printed on the cover of Julio Verne’s book. Either way, it feels like being at the gateway to the end of the world.
Last Stop: Isla Bridges
After Faro Les Eclaireurs you can have coffee, chocolate and eat some cookies that are served by the guide. In the meantime, the boat will return on a different route than the outgoing one and will have its last stop on Isla Bridges. At this point, you can get off the boat and take a short 10-minute walk to the highest point on the island.
Erick Stengrat the Sailor
At this point, I had already made a lot of friends with the sailor, a gaucho fanatic for Grêmio and asked if I could take a picture sailing with the boat. He upgraded my order and let me sail for about 10 minutes towards the port of Ushuaia.
In the beginning, it is complicated since when you turn the rudder to the left the boat turns to the right and vice versa. In addition, the response time is a little slow, which makes you think that the boat has not turned enough and then ends up turning too much. It was certainly one of the highlights of this tour.