Named for the priest who spearheaded Salesian evangelism among the Selk’nam, this elongated lake fills a structural depression that stretches across the Chilean border to the west. Also known by its Selk’nam name Kami, its shoreline is nearly 200 kilometers long, and its surface covers nearly 600 square kilometers.
The lake’s most westerly part, along the Chilean border, lies within Parque Nacional Tierra del Fuego but is virtually inaccessible except by boat. As might be expected, the lake is popular with fishing enthusiasts.
At the east end, about midway between Río Grande and Ushuaia, pilgrims pause at the town of Tolhuin to sample the goods at Panadería la Unión (www.panaderialaunion.com), a legendary bakery whose celebrity visitors have included former president Carlos Menem, folk-rocker León Gieco, hard-rockers Los Caballeros de la Quema, and actress China Zorrilla. It has the usual fine bread but also loads of facturas (pastries), alfajores, and sandwiches; what it lacks, astonishingly for Argentina, is any coffee other than machine-dispensed instant.
For a full meal, there’s nearby La Posada de los Ramírez (Avenida de los Shelk’nam 411, tel. 02901/49-2382, lunch and dinner daily), which has excellent pastas at bargain prices, but also meats and, on occasion, local specialties such as trout.
© Wayne Bernhardson from Moon Argentina, 3rd edition