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Exploring Tierra del Fuego on four wheels

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Visitors with their own vehicles get far more out of a trip to Chilean Tierra del Fuego than those limited to Porvenir and its environs. Cars can be rented in Punta Arenas and brought over to the island on the car ferry. Most of the roads are unpaved and moderately potholed, but can be tackled without a 4WD if driving carefully – with the exception of the coastal road south of Camerón to Puerto Arturo, which is for 4WDs only, and the stretch of road between Onaisín and Cerro Sombrero if it has been raining.

Fuegians rely only on themselves and on each other when it comes to breakdowns and all motorists will stop should you come to grief, but given the low traffic volume on most roads, you should come prepared with a sleeping bag, food, water, a torch, warm clothes and – most importantly – a spare tyre and all necessary equipment. Always stop to help other motorists in need and plan your journey carefully: there are only two petrol stations – one in Porvenir and the other in Cerro Sombrero. If you wish to head south to Lago Blanco, you must take a spare canister of petrol with you.

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