We’re currently in the southernmost Argentine province, named Tierra del Fuego. The first Europeans (Spaniards during Magellan’s 1520 expedition) who came to explore the southern tip of South America saw the campfires of the native inhabitants of the area (the Yámana), hence naming the area “land of fire” or, Tierra del Fuego in Spanish. The landscape is the result of glacial erosion, which has created bays and beaches against a backdrop of rugged mountains. This region experiences frequent rain, fog and strong winds. Westerly winds (winds blowing from the west) over the sea lead to a uniform climate, with an average annual rainfall of 700 mm (28 in).
The national park, a short drive west from the city of Ushuaia, towards the Chilean border, forms the southern portion of the subantarctic forest and is known for its biological richness. This park is the only place in the country where the nothofagus—or southern beech—forest reaches the sea. Peat bogs are also extensively found in the park. These are made up of moss and aquatic grasses in damp valleys where low temperatures and slow moving acidic waters prevent decomposition.