Tigre itself may have been revitalized, but many rusting hulks still line the Paraná’s inner channels. Farther from Tigre, where colonial smugglers often hid from Spanish officials, summer houses stand on palafitos (pilings) to prevent—not always successfully—their being flooded.Destination:Activities:
Parque Nahuel Huapi’s focal point is its namesake lake, whose fingerlike channels converge near the Llao Llao peninsula to form the main part of its 560-square-kilometer surface. With a maximum depth of 454 meters, it drains eastward into the Río Limay, a Río Negro tributary.
In the middle of Nahuel Huapi’s northern arm, Isla Victoria once housed the APN’s park ranger school (since relocated to Tucumán), which trained rangers from throughout the Americas.Destination:Activities:
Elongated Lago del Desierto, 37 kilometers north of El Chaltén, is a scenic end-of-the-road destination with hiking trails, boat excursions, and even a challenging border crossing to the Chilean settlement of Villa O’Higgins.
From the lake’s south end, a short trail winds west through dense southern beech forest to a vista point and the hanging glacier at Laguna Huemul; a longer route follows the eastern shore to the border, a 20-kilometer trek over gentle terrain. Every year, a few hundred people cross the Argentine-Chilean border in a zone that was once so contentious that a Chilean Carabinero even lost his life in a firefight with Argentine border guards in 1965.Destination:Activities:
From the Muelle Turístico, at the foot of Lasserre, there are boat trips to Beagle Channel wildlife sites such as Isla de los Lobos, home to the southern sea lion (Otaria flavescens) and the rarer southern fur seal (Arctocephalus australis), and Isla de Pájaros, a cormorant nesting site.
These excursions cost around US$40 pp for a 2.5-hour trip on oversized catamarans such as the Ana B, Ezequiel B, and Luciano Beta. With extensions to the penguin colony at Estancia Harberton and a visit to the estancia itself, the cost is about US$68.Destination:Activities:
Since the Soviet Union’s demise, Ushuaia has become the main jumping-off point for Antarctic excursions on Russian icebreakers that, despite being chartered under U.S. officers, sometimes still show the hammer and sickle on their bows. For travelers with flexible schedules, it has been possible to make last-minute arrangements at huge discounts — no ship wants to sail with empty berths — but heavy demand has made it difficult to pay anything less than about US$4,000 for 9–14 days, including several days’ transit across the stormy Drake Passage (sea-sickness medication advised).Destination:Activities:
Finisterra (Land’s End)
You know you’ve reached the end of the road in Baja when the towering granite rock formations and signature arch at Finisterra, or Land’s End, come into view. Just about every tour boat that departs the Cabo San Lucas Marina heads to the 62-meter El Arco to stage a postcard-perfect photo op.
In most conditions, the boat captain can pull right up to the arch. On rare, exceptionally low tides, sand appears under the arch and you can walk through the passage. Nearby rocks host a colony of sea lions, while pelicans congregate at the Roca Pelicano, a popular snorkeling and scuba diving site.Destination:Activities:
An abundance of glass-bottomed tour boats depart frequently from the marina and from Playa El Médano 9 A.M.–4 P.M. each day. The standard 45-minute tour costs US$8–12 per person and covers Pelican Rock, the famous Land’s End arch, and the sea lion colony.
For no extra charge, the crew will let passengers off at Playa del Amor near the arch; you can flag down any passing boat from the same fleet and catch a ride back to the marina later in the day. Be sure to see the boat you will board before you pay, as engines can be old and unreliable, and you may not get your money back if the trip is aborted due to engine failure.Destination:Activities:
A popular date for couples is the Lobster Dinner Cruise (Aquatours Marina, Blvd. Kukulcán Km. 6.5, toll-free Mex. tel. 800/727-5391, toll-free U.S. tel. 866/393-5158, www.thelobsterdinner.com, US$89 dinner with open bar, no children under 14, departs at 5 and 8 p.m. nightly), serving three-course lobster, surf n’ turf, and vegetarian dinners aboard an 18-meter (60-foot) Spanish-style galleon.
The ship cruises the Laguna Nichupté for 2.5 hours while diners enjoy the sunset or starry night sky, accompanied by live saxophone. Reservations are required; an additional US$3 per person dock fee applies.Destination:Activities:
The most accessible Maya site within the Sian Ka’an reserve is Muyil (Hwy. 307, 25 kilometers/15.5 miles south of Tulum, 8 a.m.–5 p.m. daily, US$3), on the western edge of the park. Also known as Chunyaxché, it is one of the oldest archaeological sites in the Maya world, dating back to 300 B.C. and occupied continuously through the conquest.
It’s believed to have been primarily a seaport, perched on a limestone shelf near the edge of Laguna Muyil; it is connected to the Caribbean via a canal system that was constructed by ancient Maya traders and still exists today.Destination:Activities:
For first-time visitors, the key sights are the Atacama Desert and Torres del Paine, but both mean considerable flying time on a relatively short holiday. Except for Santiago to Punta Arenas (about 3 hours, a little more with a stopover) and Easter Island (5 hours) flights are less than 2 hours.
This is usually a summer itinerary—the arid but relatively cool Atacama can be ideal at any season, but most people prefer Patagonia in summer. At any time of year, though, unpredictable Patagonian weather can short-circuit even the best-planned itinerary.Destination:Activities:
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