Cycling Tierra del Fuego

After we finished the Carretera Austral in Chile we took a ferry to Puerto Natales. (Still in Chile) In the Puerto Natales area we did the Torres del Paine hike. Stories and pictures can be found in a previous blog.
From Puerto Natales we are going to cycle the last part of our trip. Tierra del Fuego, Land of fire. It's a very empty part of the world, a bit like Alaska where we started this trip but also a lot different at many points.

We meet the notorious extreme hard winds, empty pampas and extraordinary wildlife. We try to camp as far as the wind or shelters make it possible.
At the Chile-Argentina border they discover incorrect stamps in our passports but they also give us food for on the road.
In the last kilometers of our trip we eat loads of empenadas, we ignore fences and we skinny dip in one of the most southern lakes of the world. Brrrrr.....

Have fun reading.

Together with Jacinta and Frank from @Spinningsouth we are leaving the ferry, coming from the Carretera Austral at the town of Tortel.

We stay in a hostel with camp opportunities in Puerto Natales. A bit crowded but ok.

Our Japanese friend Yasuhiro. He started his cycling trip in Canada, cycled to Ushuaia and from here he will fly to Spain, cycle through Europe followed by Africa. From there he will cycle back to Japan in the coming years.

Also some Belgian overlanders in the hostel. Traveling by 4x4 from Suriname to Ushuaia and back to Suriname.

Doing some last groceries before leaving town again and head for Tierra del Fuego.

Fortunate we are in good hands 🙂

By bear.

A last glance at Puerto Natales.

Ruta del Fin del Mundo | The road to the end of the world.

Empty.

Camp along the empty road at night.

We have heavy tail winds and fly to Ushuaia. (but for how long?)

Small huts along the road to wait for busses. We use them for having lunch, away from the harsh winds.

Flamingos, just along the highway. We stop to take some pictures.

!!.Danger Minefields.!! The sheep are still alive so maybe we can camp in the same fields as well? Nobody will disturb us I guess 😀

No, just kidding. We didn't camp in the minefields.

We camp at a small hut. We didn't sleep in it but it was good for cooking away from the wind.

Nice spot.

The next day some ostrich run with us.

They are faster then we are.

Puento what?

In Punta Arenas we have to take a ferry to Porvenir. We have to wait till the next day because there is just one ferry a day going. We camp straight behind the ferry office and catch the ferry the next morning early.

Ferry is there.

Porvenir

The do some last groceries in Porvenir and leave it behind us. The next five days there will be no town or shops at all so we had to buckle up enough food.

Tierra del Fuego is really empty.

But also beautiful.

It was hard to find a camp spot away from the hard wind. This is the second place where we tried to put up our tent. At the first spot the wind was still too hard to put up our tent. One of the tent poles is still bend from this try 🙁

One of the reasons we took this remote and empty road is because we wanted to visit a national park with King Penguins. Now just 50km ahead.

Yeah we made it to the penguins.

The King Penguins: Adults are 1,2m high, babies 95cm. This colony counts 300 till 400 penguins. The day we where here they counted 60 of them.

Check the big babies on the right side 🙂

No head?

From a safe distance we could observe them from inside a shelter.

The observing shelter.

Close to the national park filled with penguins there is a free brand new shelter specially for tourists to sleep in, away from the wind and bad weather.

Small but very ok.

Eat down, sleep in the top where is enough space for two mattresses.

We leave again the next morning.

With, again, a lot of animals along the way.

Wild horses. The look fenced but they do jump over it easily.

Red eyed birds.

We keep following the coastline.

It doesn't look like it but very though wind here. A distance from about 30km did took us 4 hours.

At night we camp in a (too) small shelter. But we had too. The wind was to strong to camp outside the shelter.

Hard wind is freezing cold.

At this part we have tail wind. So hard we were cycling 35km an hour on these gravel roads easily. That's the fun part about a hard wind.

But soon it started snowing.

Trange weather. 10 min after the snow the sun comes out again. They often say. 'In Tierra del Fuego you can have four seasons in one day.'

At an old church we have lunch.

The last few kilometers before the border to Argentina at Paso Bella Vista.

Border is coming up. It still seems very empty.

Haha, this is all. Just a few cabins for the guys in in the office. The last cabin in the row is the office where we had to get our passports stamped.

We are through. It took a while. When we entered Chile they did give us the wrong entry stamps. We also missed an important paper which we didn't get when we entered Chile. After a discussion with the nice officer he corrected it all and stamped us out of Chile.

After a kilometer we ride into the Argentina border office. Also there a funny story; You are not allowed to bring in fresh foods as meat, cheese and vegetables. But at this crossing they didn't check out our bags at all. The opposite happened, they had just prepared fresh meat and bread for themselves and asked us if we wanted some of it as well? "Welcome in Argentina" they said "When you cycle you have to eat a lot"

Hi Argentina. First time Ushuaia is at the signpost. Ushuaia, the very end of our trip. We are discussing this town for more than 1,5 year already. "What if we reach Ushuaia?"

The empty pampas of Tierra del Fuego.

Through the iOverlander app we find this red sheep shelter for the night.

We put our tent underneath it and it starts snowing straight away.

Away from the wind and snow.

The next morning, sun again.

More pampas road to the town of Rio Grande.

After leaving Rio Grande (sorry no pictures) At some point the road stops. We had to drag our stuff over a fence and cycle over private grounds but no one did care. At a certain moment even a guy was pointing us the correct directions.

And more fences to go over. In a distance a police post but they didn't see us or maybe they didn't wanted to see us.

The sign says 'Closed for all traffic' From here on we are fine again. Highway 3 leads all the way to Ushuaia.

We start counting down. Ushuaia 198km.

181km

160km.

We expected a busy road but it was not.

Heavy rain at the horizon. We hope it stays there.

151km.

For the night we find a nice spot between old with moss overgrown trees.

Ushuaia 141km.

Panaderia (Bakery) La Union. One of the most famous Casa de Ciclistas in South America. They should also have the best empanadas of South America we have been told.

131km.

Still counting down. 121km.

111km.

In a far distance we see snowy mountains again. This stretch from Rio Grande to Tolhuin where the Casa de Ciclista is is just a very boring road. We hope around Ushuaia it will be better otherwise it will be an anticlimax after seen so much awesome landscapes.

La Union bakery & casa de ciclista.

Young dog around.

Ordering more empanadas before we take off after two nights staying here.

Bye bye La Union and many thanks!!!!!

Just 104km to Ushuaia.

Yes, more mountains in the distance.

95km.

Lunch along a big lake.

87km.

Woooh... nearly there.

82km.

78km. Check the burned forrest.

72km. How many signs can you put along a road without side roads?

66km.

62km. A sign every 4km?

We leave the big lake behind us and start cycling along a smaller mountain lake.

Tierra del Fuego Ruta 3.

Along this smaller lake there are should be some abandoned cabins we had heard. Most of them fall apart but one of them should still be okay to spend the night in.

Found it.

Inside the cabin we find Jo from England. She started her cycling trip going north this morning.

Apart from the decayed cabins this place is really awesome so we decide to stay two nights straight away. We have a lot of time left before we have to catch our plane back home so why not staying in a nice place instead of staying in 'just another' city?

We exchanged a lot of tips and tricks for cycling South America in the night and we all did sleep well. Jo at her first night in the wild, we at one of our last ones. Jo packs up again and leaves for many more adventures. We wish her loads of fun and many tailwind.

It turns out a sunny day. We discover the area.

A lot of broken down cabins. The hard wind blows them apart.

There is also an old hostel/hotel. Also abandoned and falling apart.

Once this was a very nice place.

Back in our cabin we do tea and lunch.

Arjan still in his sleeping pants 😀

Drying our tent.

Not to bad at all this place.

Skinny dipping in one of the most southern lakes in the world.

Freezing cold. 10'C brrrrr....

Leaving a personal sign at one of the walls.

"Where are you to go cycle next?"

Chilling and reading a good book.

The next morning we take of for the very last day to Ushuaia. It's just 51km with one last mountain pass the go over.

We take an off road shortcut to the mountain pass.

Pretty steep. Pushing up.

But the views are worth it.

Still some snow close to the top.

Kims bike.

The winding road we came up. In the deep the lake we camped along the last two nights.

At the look out point a touristic viewing point is build.

Ciao... we go downhill from here.

The views are getting even better. No anticlimax 😀

Ushuaia 30km.

Tom from London. He on his first day cycling to Deadhorse, Alaska, we on our last day coming from that same Deadhorse. We overload him with tips and tricks as well we did with Jo in the cabin along the lake. We are kind of jealous about him. Not because we want to cycle back to Alaska now but because we know the great feeling of having 1,5 year of open road in advance, filled up with adventure.

YES, we made it!!!. We survived!!! Last but not least Ushuaia.

Celebration with cake and a good local APA beer called Cape Horn. How appropriate.

An old boat rusting away. Just there for a nice Kodak moment.

Finally "Fin del Mundo" End of the World.

End of the World but not the very last end of our trip. We are not back home yet. At the moment we are discovering Ushuaia, we have to organize bicycle boxes and we will count out some statistics about kilometers, flat tires and that kind of things.

So we can say "Stay tuned, this story will continue!"

Thanks for reading and bye for now. Kim & Arjan.

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1 Comment

  1. Marleen Smit

    Four seasons in one day, Crowded house😁.
    Succes de laatste paar dagen en goede terugreis.

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