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2014 - Año de Homenaje al Almirante Guillermo Brown, en el Bicentenario del Combate Naval de Montevideo

Accesses

Travel by road

This is a good choice to visit Tierra del Fuego from north to south along Nacional Route Nº3, as it is completely paved in our province. Your trip should be planned well in advance as distances to the island are actually considerable to any other part of our country and it has some complications which we want you to avoid.

There are two possible ways of access: from the west (Punta Arenas, Chile) or from the north (Río Gallegos, Argentina). In both cases you will cross the Straits of Magellan and the boundary – at least once. We will tell how to proceed on your own vehicle or by bus.

Assuming that you are coming from the north by bus, you will get to Río Gallegos (RG). Get ready for long distances with a few stops, but you can also organize your itinerary with some intermediate stops, tailor-made. For instance, take the bus in Buenos Aires (Retiro Bus Station) or Mendoza and after 36 or 48 hours´ drive, respectively, you will be in RG. On the other hand, you can take your time to visit other spots in between, such as Trelew or Comodoro Rivadavia, before arriving to RG. Once you are a the RG Bus Station you will easily find the service to “cross” to the island, usually once a day and the whole itinerary may take from 8 to 12 hours. Note that your time of arrival may not connect with the bus to Tierra del Fuego (plan an overnight).

The bus goes south on National Route Nº3 for 68 km (paved) towards the Paso Fronterizo Integración Austral (boundary station) where all requirements concerning Customs and Immigrations affairs to leave Argentina and enter Chile take place. For further information press here Paso Fronterizo Integración Austral.

Once in Chile, National Routes Nº 255 and 257 lead to Punta Delgada to get aboard the ferry and cross the Straits of Magellan together with other buses, tracks and cars.

After twenty minutes´ navigation the ferry reaches Bahía Azul (in Chilean Tierra del Fuego) and the road is paved for the next 30 km to Cerro Sombrero, a small town. Then there is dirt road up to Paso Fronterizo San Sebastián, where once again all you will have to fulfill all Customs and Immigrations affairs to leave Chile and enter Argentina again. For further information press Paso Fronterizo San Sebastián.

If your plan is taking a bus in Punta Arenas (Chile), most of them drive along National Routes Nº 255 and 257 to get to Punta Delgada and take the same ferry we described above, continuing the same itinerary. There may be taking a bus from Puerto Porvenir, on the western shore of the island (Chile), where you can get by crossing the Straits of Magellan aboard another ferryboat (Punta Arenas-Bahía Chilota, Puerto Porvenir),a two-hour navigation. From Puerto Porvenir the Secondary Road Y-71 (dirt) crosses the island west-east for about 150 km to reach the Paso Fronterizo San Sebastián (press here for further information).

If you are planning to drive yourself, the accesses are the same as above, either from Punta Arenas (Chile), along National Routes Nº 255 and 257, whereas from Río Gallegos along National Route Nº 3. For further detailed information, check with our Access Map and Distance Chart and our section Driving your own car.

Whichever the case, you will be entering an area free of Mouth disease and Fruit Fly. In order to keep this sanitary status the SE.NA.S.A. is in charge of detecting any possible infected food. So we suggest that you do not bring in your luggage any kind of handmade product, fruit, vegetables, cheese, meat or sausages (from cow, sheep, pork or goat) because they will be withdrawn and burnt.

By then, you will have arrived to the island and crossed the Straits of Magellan! You will have to choose between Río Grande, Tolhuin or Ushuaia, where you will always get to the National Route Nº 3, totally paved to Ushuaia.

Bus service to Río Gallegos

We remind you there is no direct land transportation from Buenos Aires to Tierra del Fuego. These are the companies that link Buenos Aires to Río Gallegos:El Pingüino, TAC, Transportadora Patagónica, Don Otto, Costera Criolla, Andesmar.

Bus service to Río Grande (via Río Gallegos or Punta Arenas)

From Duration Further information
and booking
Approximate fare
(in pesos - one way – includes ferryboat)
Río Gallegos 8 to 10 hours Tecni Austral $55
Punta Arenas 8 to 9 hours Tecni Austral
Transporte Pacheco
Tecni Austral $55
Transporte Pacheco $60

Note: From Río Grande you can get to Ushuaia through Domestic Transportation Ushuaia - Río Grande – Ushuaia

Domestic transportation Río Grande-Ushuaia- Río Grande

Ushuaia - Río Grande: On Nacional Route Nº 3 along 222 km (paved). Duration: 3 hours

Further information and booking: Tecni Austral - Líder LTD - Transporte Montiel

Fare: Tecni Austral, $30; Líder LTD, $25; Transporte Montiel, $25.(cuando llamé a Tecni Austral me dijeron que cuesta $30, supongo que las otras 2 habrán aumentado también)

Driving your own car

If you are planning to drive your car, the most convenient way from Buenos Aires is to drive along a highway to Cañuelas (via Ezeiza) to join National Route Nº 3 which runs north-south along Patagonia and is totally paved up to the Straits of Magellan. If this is the way you have chosen to come here, there are several things to take into account and in order to avoid bureaucratic problems you´d better read carefully our sections on Chilean-Argentine boundary stations Pasos Fronterizos Integración Austral and San Sebastián (llevar al link).

Some pieces of advice we can give you were taken from comments by our visitors:

  • Do not miss the opportunity to fill your car gas tank. There are long tracts with no gas stations and some maps show stations that are not working or may not have fuel reserve.
  • Watch the winds! The westerlies are certainly strong and when you cross another vehicle (mainly if it is a truck) it will protect you for a while and as a consequence when you are exposed to wind again, it will feel stronger.
  • From March to September it may freeze or snow all along the route and the effect is not always visible. We recommend that you do not drive your car during that season, since besides your car will request special snow wheels. All this sort of thing may spoil your trip.
  • The road crosses several provinces and in general there is a police control at each provincial border. Keep your vehicle and your personal documents at hand.
  • We also recommend that you plan several stops during your drive in order to rest properly. You may be surprised to get to a hotel you see as a reference on your map which is just some ruins. The most convenient decision is to overnight in cities where you have booked your accommodation in advance because in summer they are usually full.

What happens south of Río Gallegos? The National Route Nº 3 continues south all along 68 km (paved) towards the Chilean-Argentine boundary station Paso Integración Austral (press here for further information) where you will have to fulfill all requirements concerning boundary affairs. Once you have crossed the Argentine control station you will have to pass the Chilean control station and you will drive along 43 km (paved) on the National Route Nº 257, in Chile, towards Punta Delgada (further 15 km paved). This spot is known as Primera Angostura, where the ferryboat starts crossing the Straits of Magellan. After 20 minutes you will be getting to Bahía Azul, on Chilean side of the island of Tierra del Fuego. Press here for information on ferryboat schedules and service interruption because of tides (Austral Broom). From Bahia Azul, the road continues for 30 km (paved) to the town of Cerro Sombrero (where there is fuel) and then for about 120 km of dirt and difficult road to the Chilean-Argentine boundary station Paso Fronterizo San Sebastián where you will be back in Argentina. All these last 120 km are quite difficult to drive because the road is not properly kept and there are wide trucks and sometimes heavy oil machinery which is transported on trucks.

If you are driving from Punta Arenas, you will drive on National Routes Nº 255 and 257 (both paved) for about 183 km to Primera Angostura. From here, it is the same as described above from Río Gallegos.

Instead, if you plan to cross the Straits of Magellan through its wider part you can get aboard the Austral Broom ferryboat in the city of Punta Arenas to sail for about 2 hours and 30 minutes and get to Puerto Porvenir, on the Chilean side of Tierra del Fuego. There starts Secondary Road Y-71 (dirt road) which crosses the island west-east for about 150 km to get to the Chilean Argentine boundary station Paso Fronterizo San Sebastián.

You have got to Tierra del Fuego! Our provincial territory includes Antarctica and South Atlantic Islands.

Once you have crossed San Sebastián control station there are still 81 km to Río Grande city, 185 km if you want to get to the town of Tolhuin or 290 km if you will try Ushuaia… where are you going? We do believe there is a lot to do in every place so we recommend that you start in Río Grande.(que vaya al link donde está la descripción de RGA)

Pasos Fronterizos Integración Austral y San Sebastián (Chilean-Argentine control station)

In Argentina the controls by Dirección Nacional de Migraciones (Immigrations), the SE.NA.S.A. (Sanitary control) and theAdministración Nacional de Aduanas (Customs) are carried out here. Then, the Chilean station controls your arrival in that country through SAG (Sanitary control) and Carabineros de Chile (Immigrations). These stations are not open 24 hours. The most convenient procedure to avoid unnecessary delays is to check with each institution. Here we give you a summary.

Dirección Nacional de Migraciones (Immigrations)

You will need your passport and the immigrations form you filled in when you entered Argentina. Remember you are leaving the country and in the next boundary control you will enter Argentina again. (believe it or not!)

SE.NA.S.A. (Sanitary control)

You will be entering an area free of Mouth disease and Fruit Fly. In order to keep this sanitary status the SE.NA.S.A. is in charge of detecting any possible infected food. So we suggest that you do not bring in your luggage any kind of handmade product, fruit, vegetables, cheese, meat or sausages (from cow, sheep, pork or goat) because they will be withdrawn and burnt.

Administración Nacional de Aduanas (Customs)

Tierra del Fuego (Argentina) is ruled by special customs restrictions, particularly concerning electronic equipment and vehicles. We strongly recommend to declare any kind of cameras and computers (laptops). The documents requested are: driving license, green card and all documents related to the car rental (specifically to enter or leave Tierra del Fuego).

When you return north to “the continent” you will pass this control again and there are restrictions on products purchased in Tierra del Fuego (limits in price and/or quantity). For further details check here Administración de aduanas-sitio falta.

SAG

All along the Chilean-Argentine boundary there is a sanitary barrier which prohibits the introduction of fresh food (meat, sausage, fruit, vegetables). In case you travel with a pet it is essential to carry a health certificate signed by SE.NA.S.A from your starting point of your trip in Argentina.

Sometimes when you cross the control station out of the regular schedule you may becharged …… dollars or Chilean Pesos for extra time work.si esto no es más así, anular toda la oración resaltada.

Carabineros de Chile

You will be requested the same documents as in Dirección Nacional de Migraciones (Argentina)

Cruce del Estrecho de Magallanes (Crossing the Straits of Magellan)

There are two spots where crossing the straits is possible. Both are in the Chilean territory and are operated by Transbordadora Austral Broom. They join Punta Delgada-Bahía Azul (National Route Nº 257) and Punta Arenas-Bahía Chilota in Puerto Porvenir (Secondary Road Nº Y-71).

Primera Angostura (Punta Delgada – Bahía Azul)

“Primera Angostura” is a name that refers to one of the narrowest part of the Straits of Magellan. It takes about 20 minutes to cross from one side to the other. Punta Delgada is on the northern coast of the straits, 55 km south of Paso Fronterizo Integración Austral. After crossing, you will be on the island, still in Chilean territory and the road continues for about 150 km to the boundary at Paso Fronterizo San Sebastián.

The ferryboat operates daily form 8:30 am to 1:30 am (Chilean time) leaving from Punta Delgada and from 9:15 am to 2:00 am (Chilean time) leaving from Bahía Azul (Tierra del Fuego).

This non-stop service is sometimes interrupted by very low tides or strong winds (when they surpass certain speed and sailing turns risky). The interruptions are generally short, but should this happen, take your time to enjoy walking on the shores of the Straits of Magellan. Obviously tides –and not winds- may be predicted and the interruption of the crossing for low tides is detailed in this website. PressAustral Broom for further details.

Punta Arenas-Porvenir

This crossing starts in the city of Punta Arenas (192 km southwest of Paso Fronterizo Integración Austral). Take the ferry at the pier of the company Austral Broom which is placed in the northern area of the city. Once aboard the ferry you will sail for about two hours and a half to Puerto Porvenir, in the Chilean Tierra del Fuego. There starts the Secondary Road Y-71 (dirt road) which leads to Paso Fronterizo San Sebastián after driving for about 150 km. The ferry operates only once a day, from Tuesday to Sunday and the schedules are programmed every fortnight. For update information press here (Austral Broom).

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