Chile travel

Karukinka, the natural reserve at world´s end

One of Chile´s largest islands at 29.484 km2, Tierra del Fuego (or “Land of Fire”) remains one of the least-changed places on Earth. Its remote location in the extreme south has made it an exotic destination, where hyper-connectivity and increasing globalization seem out of place, like elements borrowed from a sci-fi film.

In the south of Tierra del Fuego is Karukinka Park, one of the planet´s last ecosystems still untouched by humankind. With almost 300 hectares inhabited by more than 100 indigenous species, this unique sanctuary has been preserved by Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS), a US nonprofit that manages conservation projects in 60 countries around the world.

In Karukinka there´s no cellphone signal. This is Nature in her purest and wildest state. That´s why WCS designed a public plan which gives visitors the opportunity to appreciate the park´s educational, touristic, and scientific value. The park´s maze of trails and paths take visitors on a sightseeing journey, where they´ll see birds, lake mammals, bays, and unexplored rivers.

In the Vicuña sector of Karukinka, a guest house provides basic services to visitors. 10 camping sites and 6 lodgings provide shelter for groups of 2 and 4. The park has 6 main trails of varying length and difficulty. At 6.9 kilometers, Pietro Grande hill is an example of a medium-difficulty hike that can be done in four hours. For people looking for more, the La Paciencia encompasses 66 kilometers of trails, equal to a five-day hike.

Visitors can also reach points of interest by bicycle. One such place is Caleta María, the southernmost point of the park where settlers Ivette Martínez and Julio Gastón Contreras make their home alongside King Penguins, elephant seals, the black-browed albatross, and many other species of endangered animals.

Sport fishing is another common activity enjoyed in Karukinka while in season, which starts in October and ends in April. Tierra del Fuego is recognized as one of the best places in the world for sport fishing due to the generous size and number of fish species.