Chile // Tierra del Fuego //


A collection of brightly painted corrugated iron houses set in a narrow bay of the same name, PORVENIR (optimistically meaning “future”) gives off the impression of order stamped on nature, with neat topiary leading down the main street, Philippi, from an immaculate Plaza de Armas, overflowing with native vegetation. The seafront Parque del Recuerdo sports a curve of flagpoles, the painted skeleton of a steam engine, the mounted stern of a boat and a statue of a Tehuelche man – a rare reminder of a culture made extinct by the gold rush. The harbour, meanwhile, teems with all manner of sea birds, such as cormorants and kelp geese, and a twenty-minute walk along the coast takes you to Cerro Miradór, from where you get an excellent view of the town.

The exploration of Porvenir’s environs is more about the journey itself rather than a specific destination: it’s about driving the island’s virtually empty roads and taking in the rolling pampas, the lakes teeming with birdlife, and the rusting hulks of old machinery that hint at Tierra del Fuego’s gold rush past.

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