“Bienvenido al fin del mundo”. (Welcome to the end of the World) – slogan for Ushuaia, Argentina
“Más allá del fin del mundo”. (Beyond the end of the World) – slogan for Puerto Williams, Chile
It seems that Argentina and Chile have a rivalry. We’re not referring to the obvious, and highly subjective subjects like which country has more passionate soccer fans or whether Carménère is a better wine than a Malbec. We’re referring to the question of which country possesses the southernmost city in the world. Ask an Argentine, and they’ll tell you that city is Ushuaia. Chileans believe the answer is Puerto Williams. You may wonder, why the controversy? Can’t this be resolved with a quick click of the mouse and a visit to Google Earth?
Puerto Williams, does indeed have many fewer tourists, and thus fewer restaurants and llama key chains for sale. However, one can find similar city staples as in bigger towns – a post office, fire station, school, and even an airport. You’ll also find horses lazily grazing downtown, friendly locals, even friendlier dogs, and the cozy, welcoming feel of a small-sized, big-hearted city. In this case, less is more – this town was a clear winner with us in that it offered so much more than just its southerly location.
Wishing to offend no one, however, we visited both locales. We made it to the end of the world in Chile …and then we crossed the Beagle Channel and did it all over again in Argentina. What’s more, it seems that the karmic power-that-be decided to reward our efforts. As we crossed the channel, we were briefly greeted by six sei whales swimming in a pod directly in front of us, a site so uncommon and dramatic, that even the boat captain uttered a “Jesus Christ!” before quickly guiding the boat in for a closer look. And at that moment, half-way between the two cities laying claim to being at the end of the world, it certainly felt like we were indeed there. The end of the world! Or beyond the end of the world as it would be, flanked by our six new best friends with the jagged peaks of Tierra del Fuego and Navarino Island around us – an amazing highlight within a year of highlights.
link below to more photos of Torres del Paine and Tierra del Fuego
|Torres del Paine & Tierra del Fuego|