Roads to the End of the Earth
TO TIERA DEL FUEGO
Distinction: Southernmost road in the Western HemisphereThe Northern Hemispheres end of the Earth roads terminate in barren landscapes in places that arent for the faint of heart. But the final destination of Highway 3 in Argentina, which runs all the way south to the island of Tierra del Fuego, is Ushuaia, a modern city of 50,000 that packs tourists into five star hotels and restaurants on their ways to skiing, fishing, sailing, and mountain biking in the surrounding glaciers, mountains, and forests. Tourists also gather here for cruises to Antarctica, and theres even an End of the World museum in Ushuaia.The town in located on the Beagle Channel, named for the ship that brought Charles Darwin here in 1823. Tierra del Feugo (land of fire) drew its name from the Yamana tribe of peoples, who, it is said, used to build fires in front of their huts. Descendants of the Yamana still live in the region, which has been populated for 12,000 years. Most tourists arrive here by plane or cruise ship, but the main highway is well maintained for those who undertake the long journey by land. A short detour through Chile is necessary to get from mainland Argentina, and the journey includes a ferry trip across the Strait of Magellan, which leads to Punta Arenas, Chile.