We were collected by the travel agent around 9am and the the guide / driver drove around the city to collect the rest of the 4 passengers then we were on our way.
I really enjoy when the group is small as you get a chance to talk to each other and share travel stories. In this group, we have a couple from Mexico, one lady from Buenos Aires and a gentleman from Germany. As soon as we started the conversation we discovered that this German gentleman will depart for Antarctica the next day. How exciting!
Antarctica is also on top of my list but mentally I have not prepared for it. There will be a whole month of sailing around the Southern Ocean, and if you are lucky you get a few good and calm days. According to the local guide in Ushuaia, you’ll probably experience extreme weather most of the time. It’s also important to consider it will be an expensive trip. The cruise costs approximately 8,000+ euros per person, and on top of that you will have to make your way down to Ushuaia. You probably need to budget for the entire trip at around 12,000 euros.
Back to the trip: an hour after our departure from Ushuaia, we arrived at Paso Garibaldi, a mountain pass that cuts across Patagonia’s Southern Andes. We went through the Feugian Cordillera, stopped for some pictures and enjoyed the view of the Lago Escondido (Hidden Lake), and the unspoiled Lago Fagnano.
The stop was brief, we then got back in the car and started descending towards Lago Escondido. The ride was fun and adventurous. We went through some parts of the Feugian forest, bouncing through the muddy road. They weren’t really roads, they were more some sort of pathway not designed for anything. The ride was super bumpy and we had to hold on to the car tight. Throughout the forest we can see many trees were dead as a result of the construction of a beaver dam. The eradication of the North American beaver in Tierra del Fuego is being attempted by the government of Chile and Argentina in this area at the southernmost tip of South America. The non-native species were introduced in 1946 as a source of commercial fur trading. When the fur trade industry was unsuccessful, the beavers became a bigger problem and government agreed to intervene.
After half an hour off-road ride we arrived by the lake, it place was unspoiled, quiet and peaceful. Our guide put out some Dulce de Leche (a typical Argentinian dessert pastry) and some mate tea (a typical tea in Argentina) for sharing.
We continued to walk along side of the lake for about 30 minutes, our guide caught up with us us at the end of the stoney lake beach. The wind was pretty strong by the lake but it was still pretty pleasant walk. I enjoyed the quietness as we were the only living souls in the area.
We arrived in one of the cabanas near Refugio de Canal where we had our barbecue lunch. There were so much meat on the table, together with nice wine. Everyone was super relaxed and we continued sharing our travel stories. The Mexican couple were sharing so much about their disappointment on their son who insisted to marry a girl from El Salvador. Although the couple told us in much anger, as an audience I found the story of how their son met his fiancee as beautiful and romantic. The rest of us had to console them to accept the fact and try to embrace their future daughter in law.
When we got back to Ushuaia, it was still very early. We took our time to wander around by the harbour.