Get ready to learn all about and witness an amazing story about the Patagonian beavers, and how humans can unwittingly create a devastating natural disaster by turning what could have been an ecological paradise into a true real ecological nightmare. This cautionary tale of man involving himself in the affairs of nature is sure to astound and enthrall you. This tour experience will, as well, take you hiking through the beautiful Patagonian forest and Tierra Mayor valley, to later reach the Emerald Lagoon, which radiates shades of emerald green as the sun dips into it.
In 1946, Argentina’s government decided to introduce a group of 50 beavers into Ushuaia from Canada, in hopes they would thrive and reproduce. This was done in an effort to foster the fur trade, and boost the local economy. Unfortunately, the business never took off... but the beavers sure did! As they have no natural predators in the area, the beavers flourished from a population of only 50 to over 100,000!
Because beavers are excellent swimmers, they built dams out of the large trees they fell, in order to flood their habitat and protect themselves from predators. These dams can be huge. In fact, the largest beaver dam in the world (located in Canada) is half a mile (850 meters) long, and can be seen from space!
In their natural habitat, these furry creatures seem like nature’s smartest engineers when building dams to protect themselves. But here, in this strange habitat, they are thriving without limits and are mindlessly felling trees and destroying the ecosystem, with not a single predator in sight!
We’ll begin our hiking adventure with an hour and a half ride to Tierra Mayor Valley, from where we’ll start our hike through the Patagonian forest, until we reach the Emerald Lagoon. As we trek further into the quiet forest, with the marshlands lightly squishing beneath our feet, we’ll soon arrive at the heart of the lagoon. Here you’ll be dazzled by the shades of emerald green that reflect off the water when it’s touched by sunlight. After a short trek back from the Emerald Lagoon, we’ll arrive at the flowing streams that are home to the local beavers. Here, if we’re lucky, we may have the chance to see the beavers in action as they leave their burrows in the afternoon to begin their work (this is why the tour starts in the afternoon). Due to a recent and successful beaver control program imposed by the local government, beavers are now more difficult to see than before.
As night slowly approaches, we make our way back to the refuge, where a tasty dinner awaits. After dinner, we’ll return to our hotel with the knowledge of this cautionary tale, and what happens when man unsuccessfully becomes involved in the affairs of nature, thereby affecting a fragile ecosystem, and the natural beauty of our planet.
Important: Please note that the refuge where dinner is held is very rustic, so there are no bathrooms as such, except, well, in nature.
Important: the tour’s exact itinerary and duration may change subject to weather conditions and decisions of the tour guide to optimize your tour experience.
Difficulty: moderate. Trek distance: 5.6 miles (9 kilometers - approximately 1 hour and 45 minutes each way). Elevation gain: 535 feet (163 meters) with a cumulative elevation gain (refers to the sum of every gain in elevation throughout the entire trek) of 567 feet (173 meters).
The minimum age required for this tour is 5 years old. moderate. This tour usually operates from mid October to end of March.
Duration: Full day (approximately 6 to 7 hours from the time you leave your hotel until you return). This tour starts in the afternoon.
Guide: group guide. The maximum group size for this tour is approximately 18 travelers.
Vehicle: group vehicle.
Includes: dinner with non-alcoholic beverages & wine.