Isla de los Estados, Argentina
Pirates, intrigue and the story of survival at a remote ‘Lighthouse at the End of the World’, such was the plot and name of the Jules Verne adventure novel of 1884. The setting for the story is the isolated, mythical lighthouse of San Juan del Salvamento on the wilderness island of Isla de los Estados. Although, the first European to discover the island was Spanish captain Francisco de Hoces in 1526, it was the Dutch a century later that named it Staten Landt (Staten Island). Today an ecological reserve, the island is home to a vibrant population of Magellanic penguins, seagulls, cormorants, orca whales and seals.
Situated 29 kilometers (18 miles) off of Argentina, the 820 meter (2,700’) high peaks of Isla de los Estados are considered the last prominence of the Andes Mountains. This remote and seldom visited island is deeply indented with bays and steep inlets. Covered with dense forests of windswept and twisted beech trees, it could have been the movie-set for an Argentine Jurassic Park.