Alberto de Agostini National Park

Located in the Tierra del Fuego region of southern Chile, Alberto de Agostini National Park is an emblem of the South American country, with its biological diversity and unique landscapes that make it an exceptional destination. Its glaciers, rugged mountains, and deep fjords make this Chilean protected area a living testimony of the ice age, honoring the legacy of explorer Alberto Maria de Agostini.

Alberto de Agostini National Park Facts

Alberto de Agostini National Park

Geographic Location

Located at the southern tip of the XII Region of Magellan and Chilean Antarctica, it is a vast area that includes all the islands south of the Strait of Magellan and west of Navarino Island, as well as a portion of Tierra del Fuego, which extends south of the Admiralty Sound, and even encompasses the majestic Darwin Range. located at the coordinates: 54°44′57″S 70°26′23″W. With an area of more than 14,600 km², it stands as the third largest national park in Chile.

History and designation as a National Park

Established on January 22, 1965, when it was officially created by D.S. No. 80 of the Chilean Ministry of Agriculture, the Alberto de Agostini National Park has since become a protected area destined to safeguard its extraordinary natural beauty and rich biodiversity.

The park is an essential refuge for various species of wildlife, including the culpeo fox, the screech fox, leopard seal, dolphins, whales, sea lions, elephant seals, southern dolphins and Chilean dolphins. The presence of these species in the park is a testament to the importance of conserving their natural habitat and ensuring the protection of their biological diversity.

Thanks to the protection given by the Chilean government, the area has been preserved and protected for present and future generations, allowing visitors to appreciate the richness of its wildlife and researchers to study the environment and its biodiversity.

Geography and Climate

Mountains of Alberto de Agostini National Park

Geology: glaciers, mountains and fjords

With magnificent glaciers, rugged mountains, and deep fjords, the park’s geology is truly unique. Its landscape is characterized as a living testament to the ice age.

Almirantazgo Sound Glacier in Alberto Agostini National Park in Chile

Climate: weather patterns and temperatures

The climate in the park is temperate, cold and humid, with average temperatures between 2°C and 9°C. Rainfall increases in autumn and winter. It is recommended to wear appropriate clothing to protect yourself from the cold and rain.

The climate varies considerably, with complex weather patterns and temperatures that can change rapidly. The influence of adjacent seas also plays an important role in the local climate.

Maritime: Adjacent Seas and Their Influence

The seas surrounding the park play a crucial role in its climate and are home to rich marine biodiversity, playing a fundamental role in its ecosystem. The main seas surrounding the park are:

  1. Chilean Sea: Also known as the southeastern Pacific Ocean, the Chilean Sea bathes the western coast of the park. It is an extension of the vast Pacific Ocean and has a significant influence on the local climate and marine biodiversity of the park.
  2. Beagle Channel: Located south of the park, the Beagle Channel separates Tierra del Fuego’s Big Island from the Tierra del Fuego archipelago. It is an important channel for navigation and has been a historic route for explorers and scientists who have visited the region.
  3. Strait of Magellan: To the north of the park is the Strait of Magellan, a waterway that connects the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. This historic strait has been a crucial route for navigation in the region since the times of European explorers.
  4. Fjords and inland channels: In addition to the main seas, the park has numerous fjords and inland channels that offer unique and varied marine habitats. These fjords, in combination with the adjacent seas, provide a great diversity of marine life.

Flora and Fauna

The biodiversity in Alberto de Agostini National Park is vast. Its native flora includes a wide variety of alpine and subalpine vegetation, while the fauna ranges from marine mammals to unique birds.

Flora and Fauna

The biodiversity in Alberto de Agostini National Park is vast. Its native flora includes a wide variety of alpine and subalpine vegetation, while the fauna ranges from marine mammals to unique birds.

Flora: native vegetation and endemic species

Flora of Alberto de Agostini National Park in Chile

The flora in the park is varied, including native vegetation and endemic species that grow in the alpine and subalpine region, creating a beautiful contrast to the white glow of the glaciers on the foothills of the Andes. This place is mainly dominated by coigües, canelos and lengas, trees that stand majestically in the landscape. We can also find edible species, such as the Magellanic strawberry, which adds a touch of color and flavor to the vegetation.

The park’s floor is home to a rich community of mosses, lichens, and fungi, which is typical in southern ecosystems. These small organisms play a crucial role in the ecological balance and contribute to the biodiversity of the region.

On the plains, peatlands take centre stage, giving life to these lands. These moist and fertile areas are home to a variety of plants and provide important habitats for various species of fauna.

Fauna: marine mammals, birds and fish

Leopard Seal Parque Nacional Alberto de Agostini

The fauna of the Alberto de Agostini National Park stands out with marine bird species as the main protagonists. As we travel along its shores, we can delight in the impressive flight of albatrosses, cormorants and petrels that intermingle in the sky. In the more wooded areas, we can see the elegant canquenes and the colorful kingfisher, which add a touch of grace to the landscape. From time to time, a majestic condor can surprise us taking flight in the sky, offering an unforgettable experience.

Marine life is also a prominent attraction in the park. In the beach areas, it is common to observe the imposing elephant seals resting on the sand, while towards the forests, playful otters and friendly coypus make their appearance, marking their presence in the habitat.

This natural paradise is so magnificent that it has even been honored in Chile’s new family of banknotes, where its beautiful scenery adorns the obverse of Chile’s $10,000 bill. It is a recognition of the greatness and importance of this park in the identity and natural heritage of the country.

Unique Ecosystems and Conservation Areas

The park is home to diverse ecosystems, from marine areas to forests to tundras, each with its own biodiversity.

Tourist Attractions

From glaciers to hiking trails to boat tours, there’s something for everyone. Photography lovers will find countless opportunities to capture breathtaking landscapes.

Darwin Mountain Range

The Darwin Range is considered to be the backbone of the park, with an extension of 35 km, which dominates the landscape with its impressive mountains and glaciers.

Mount Darwin

The highest peak in the park, reaching 2,488 m a.s.l., offering unparalleled panoramic views of the Austrian region of Chile.

Mount Sarmiento

With a height of 2,404 m a.s.l., this mountain is a symbol of beauty, immortalized by Jules Verne in his work "Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea". Its summit was first reached in 1956.

French Peak

A surprising place where two glaciers break off, creating an impressive natural spectacle.

Roncali Glacier and Italy

Two majestic glaciers that break off from the French Peak, exhibiting the imposing beauty of the ice and glacial nature.

Pia Glacier

A magnificent snowdrift that juts deep into the Darwin mountain range, offering a captivating view of glacial beauty.

Garibaldi Glacier

An impressive glacier that enchants visitors with its impressive ice formations and majesty.

Günter Glacier Plushow

Another impressive glacier in the park, framing the landscape with its dazzling millenary ice.

Eagle Glacier

An impressive glacier that adds its charm to the already spectacular geography of the park.

Brookes Glacier

A glacier of great beauty that is part of the natural splendour of the Alberto de Agostini National Park.

Marinelli Glacier

The most extensive of all the glaciers in the park, with imposing walls of ice that take the breath away of those who observe it.

Local Culture & History

With a rich history that includes the indigenous Yámana and Kawésqar peoples, the legacy of explorer and missionary Alberto Maria De Agostini, and much more, the local culture is a fascinating mosaic of stories and traditions.

Indigenous peoples: the Yámana and Kawésqar

The history of the Yámana and Kawésqar indigenous peoples is central to the Alberto de Agostini National Park region. These indigenous peoples have inhabited these lands for millennia, living witnesses to the rich history and cultural tradition of southern Chile.

The Yámana, also known as Yaganes, have historically been known as "the canoers of the end of the world" due to their prowess in navigating through the region’s cold and treacherous waters. Their way of life was centered on fishing, hunting and gathering shellfish, adapting masterfully to the extreme conditions of Tierra del Fuego. Traditionally, they used canoes made of tree bark and wore clothing made from the skins of marine animals to protect themselves from the unforgiving weather.

The Kawésqar, also called Alacalufes, were nomadic and moved in canoes along the canals and fjords, relying on hunting and fishing for their subsistence. His in-depth knowledge of the environment and his abilities to navigate the intricate waters of the region were astounding. Their cosmogony and spiritual traditions were closely linked to nature and the forces of land and sea.

Both peoples developed a rich oral tradition, passing on their knowledge and legends from generation to generation. However, due to the social and cultural changes that occurred with the arrival of European colonizers, many of these ancestral traditions and ways of life have been threatened.

Today, although the Yámana and Kawésqar populations are small, their communities are still present in the region and work to maintain and revitalize their languages and cultures. Recognizing and valuing the history and legacy of these indigenous peoples is critical to understanding the deep connection between the land, culture, and identity of this region in the far south of Chile. Its presence in the Alberto de Agostini National Park adds a cultural dimension to the experience of those who visit it, offering a valuable reminder of the importance of preserving and protecting the cultural and natural wealth of this treasure at the end of the world.

Historical Explorers and Scientists

The region has been explored by numerous scientists and explorers throughout history, leaving a historical legacy.

From the first European navigators and explorers who came to these shores in search of a route to the Pacific, to modern scientific expeditions, the region has attracted brave and curious people looking to discover the secrets and wonders of this part of the world.

One of the most prominent explorers who left a significant mark on the region was Alberto María de Agostini himself, whom the park honors with his name. As an Italian missionary and explorer, Agostini was the first to map vast areas of Tierra del Fuego and Patagonia, documenting the region’s geography and wildlife in the early 20th century.

Legacy of Alberto Maria De Agostini

The story of missionary and explorer Alberto Maria De Agostini is central to the park’s history and his contribution to exploration and conservation is fondly remembered. This intrepid Italian, born in 1883, dedicated much of his life to exploring and studying the southern region of Chile and Patagonia.

From his first expeditions in the early 20th century, Agostini became one of the first explorers to map and document large areas of Tierra del Fuego and its environs. His tireless work of exploration led to the identification and recording of numerous glaciers, mountains, fjords, and waterways that make up the park’s astonishing landscape.

In addition to his role as an explorer, Agostini was also a talented photographer, capturing stunning images of the region’s landscapes and wildlife. His photographs became a valuable visual testimony to the beauty and majesty of Chile’s southern tip.

But Agostini’s legacy wasn’t just limited to exploration and photography. As a Salesian missionary, he also contributed to the well-being of local indigenous communities. He took care to learn their languages and customs, and worked to improve their quality of life by providing assistance and education. His efforts played a key role in the creation of Alberto de Agostini National Park on January 22, 1965, which was named in his honor in recognition of his outstanding contribution.

Access to the national park

Map of geographic location of Alberto de Agostini National Park

Geographical location map of Alberto de Agostini National Park
Access to the park can be done by both public and private transport. Accommodation options vary, and services are available at visitor centers to ensure a comfortable and safe experience.

How to get there: public and private transport

To get to Alberto de Agostini National Park it is necessary to use maritime transport, as it is located about 800 nautical miles south of Punta Arenas, in the southern region of Chile.

From Punta Arenas, Puerto Montt or Ushuaia, several boats depart to offer southern crossings to the park. One of the most outstanding options is the Broom Ferry (, which makes trips twice a week and connects Punta Arenas with Puerto Williams, the southernmost city in the world. The boat tour lasts approximately 31 hours, giving travelers the opportunity to enjoy the stunning views and landscapes of the southern tip of Chile during the crossing.

Sailing into the park is part of the experience, as it allows you to appreciate the fjords, glaciers and mountains that surround the national park. During the trip, it is possible to spot various marine species and birds that inhabit the waters of southern Chile.

After arriving in Puerto Williams, it is possible to access the Alberto de Agostini National Park through land routes and trails.

Accommodation: options and recommendations

For those who wish to seek accommodation near Alberto de Agostini National Park, there are several options nearby that cater to different preferences and budgets. These are some of the towns where you can find accommodation options:

  • Puerto Williams: The closest town to the park, Puerto Williams offers a variety of accommodation alternatives, ranging from hostels and cabins to small hotels. It’s a convenient starting point for exploring the park’s natural wonders and enjoying local hospitality.
  • Puerto Navarino: Despite being a smaller town, it also offers some accommodation options, such as cabins and rural accommodations, providing a more intimate and close-to-nature experience.
  • Punta Arenas: This larger city, located north of the park, has a wide variety of hotels, hostels, and tourist apartments. It’s an excellent choice for those looking for additional amenities and a wider range of services.
  • Ushuaia (Argentina): From the Argentinian side of Tierra del Fuego, Ushuaia also offers a variety of accommodation options, including hotels, hostels, and inns. This city is ideal for those who wish to explore both the Argentinian and Chilean sides of the southern tip of Patagonia.

Services: visitor centers, guides, and security

Visitor centers offer information, guides, and assistance to ensure a safe and enjoyable visit.

Recommendations & Trip Planning

Proper planning, including choosing the best time to visit and preparing the right equipment, can make your trip a truly memorable experience. Health and safety considerations are also vital.

Best time to visit

The best time to visit Alberto de Agostini National Park is during the spring and summer months, which run from October to March. During this season, temperatures tend to be milder, with warmer and less cold days than in autumn and winter. There is also less rainfall compared to the rainier months, offering more favorable conditions for enjoying nature and outdoor activities.

During spring and summer, the chances of observing the park’s rich biodiversity and enjoying the breathtaking views of glaciers and natural landscapes are higher. In addition, the friendlier weather conditions allow for a better experience when exploring trails, navigating and enjoying the tourist activities offered by the park.

It’s important to note that although temperatures may be milder during this time, the weather in the far south of Chile is still changeable and can vary rapidly. Therefore, it is always advisable to be prepared to face different weather conditions.

Equipment & Preparation

Proper preparation and the right equipment are essential to enjoy the visit to the fullest.

  • Appropriate clothing: Due to the park’s cold and humid temperate climate, it is essential to wear clothing that keeps you warm and dry. Include layers of clothing that you can add or remove depending on changing conditions. A waterproof jacket and waterproof pants are a must to protect you from rain and moisture.
  • Appropriate footwear: Be sure to wear sturdy, comfortable hiking boots or shoes that offer good grip for walking on uneven, wet terrain.
    Sun protection: Even on cloudy days, the sun can be intense in this southern region. Bring sunscreen, sunglasses, and a hat or cap to protect yourself from the sun.
  • Backpack: Carry a comfortable and sturdy backpack to carry your belongings, water, food, and other essentials during your excursions.
    Water bottle and snacks: Stay hydrated during your activities by carrying a reusable water bottle. Also bring some snacks to keep your energy up during the day.
  • First aid kit: Carry a small first aid kit with basics, such as bandages, disinfectant, pain relievers, and insect repellent.
    Camera and binoculars: Don’t forget to bring a camera to capture the park’s stunning landscapes and wildlife. Binoculars can also be useful for observing birds and other animals from a distance.
  • Information & Maps: Bring maps of the park and learn about hiking trails and available activities before you begin your visit.
    Respect for nature: remember that you are visiting a protected area, so it is essential to act responsibly and respectfully with nature. Do not leave trash and follow the instructions of the park rangers to preserve this natural treasure.