Sub-Antarctic forests and idyllic views across the sound and beyond to the frigid seas of the Beagle Channel characterize Lapataia Bay in Tierra del Fuego National Park.
Located a short distance from Ushuaia, the region’s main city, Lapataia Bay is perfectly suited for day trips. Hikers hoping to explore the unique landscapes at the very extreme edges of South America will not be disappointed with a visit to this part of the national park.
Where is Lapataia Bay and how do you get there?
15-miles (24km) from Ushuaia, Lapataia Bay is located in Tierra del Fuego National Park, a 240-sq.mile (630km²) area that protects some of Argentine Patagonia’s wildest scenery.
During summer, it is easy to get to Lapataia Bay. From 9am, buses leave hourly from Avenida Maipú and stop at Lago Roca and Lapataia Bay. The cost is around $18 USD return and tickets can be bought from tourist agencies in Ushuaia.
You are required to pay an entrance fee into the park, charged at $14 USD.
Top attractions around Lapataia Bay
Although Ushuaia is officially at the “End of the World”, arriving to Lapataia Bay, you’ll be struck by the secluded tranquility of this spot and feel hours from civilization. One of the best ways of exploring is by hiking, particularly as this allows for leisurely exploration of this remote, stunning and rarely-visited part of the Patagonia.
Hiking in Lapataia Bay
Some of the best hikes include:
Paseo de la Isla: A very short trail, only 0.4-miles (600m) in length, this follows the shoreline of Lapataia Bay around the Cormoranes archipelago.
Mirador Lapataia: Passing along another short trail (half a mile/1km), this hike promises a spectacular panoramic view of Lapataia Bay and can be combined with the Paseo del Turbal, a 1.2-mile (2km) path that leads from the main road along a path lined with peat bog.
Senda Costera: A longer trail, (roughly 6-miles (10km) one way) this starts from where the bus drops passengers off at Lapataia Bay and follows the shoreline, crossing Rio Lapataia and passing along pebble beaches and earthy ground to arrive at Zaratiegui Bay. From here, you can take boat excursions either to Isla Redonda or back to Lapataia Bay.
Wildlife to look out for in Tierra del Fuego National Park
With only a very small proportion of Tierra del Fuego National Park open to visitors, it is an excellent place for native Patagonian species. In Lapataia Bay, with luck you might spot Patagonian geese, steamer ducks, diving petrel and black-browed albatrosses.
Inland and along the trails that crisscross the region, guanacos, Patagonian grey foxes, Southern river otters and introduced Canadian beavers and European rabbits (both of which have done serious damage to the equilibrium of this ecosystem) can be spotted.