Costera Senda (Coastal Path) – Paseo de La Isla – Mirador Lapataia (Lapataia Viewpoint) – Senda de La Baliza – Arias Port, 12km.
Today’s outing was to the southernmost national park of Argentina, Tierra del Fuego. A minivan from the town center brought tourists to the pier of the Zaratiegul Bay, where the trail starts. (Before that we had to pay a hefty park entrance fee of USD 17 per person!)
The park personnel told us that the Senda Costera would take 4 hours, but at the trailhead the sign showed us that miraculously the estimated hiking time got shortened to 3 hours : )
This 8km trail was following the coastline, occasionally dropping to some small, pretty isolated pebble beaches and walking up in the beach forest. We usually make a stop at nice viewpoints or beaches, but the rain and some loud, young Israeli groups behind us kept us going.
By the time this trail ended, Philippe had enough and decided to go back with an earlier bus. I was eager to continue on another trail to the Arias Port.
After a short gravel road where Philippe walked in the other direction, a new path “Paseo de La Isla” lead me to a cute, small peninsula, hiking along the coast of Lapataia and Ovando River. The lush, intimate landscape with water-birds was a welcome change from the earlier trail. Too bad that Philippe did not come along, because this was the prettiest part of the trail so far. There was no one around and it was a small adventure, trying to find a path alone. I always love the feeling alone in the stillness of the nature.
Soon next to another trail “Mirador Lapataia.” Going through the open, low bush area, I could see the panorama of the snow-capped mountain range in the surrounding area. After a short forest, I came out to the viewpoint and looked down the beautiful Lapataia Bay and its Arias Port. The circled bay was secluded by the intricate coastline and protected by the natural gate of islands. A short moment the sun came out and reflected the water in blue. I knew why a local travel agent person raved about this place. It was beautiful.
As I had a little bit more time before the 5pm bus, I walked on a short trail along the Lapataia Coast. At a peaceful pebble beach an old buoy stood and the path ended with a fence. From there it is the off-limit Natural Reserve Area which continues to the border of Chile….