Just 2km back down the road towards Ushuaia, the hike to Laguna Turquesa is far less popular than the hike to Laguna Esmeralda. There were only 2 of us in our transfer who were going to do it (myself and a Marcielo from Buenos Aires), and we had the trail to ourselves up until we reached the lake itself.
We were both waiting at the main bus station near the Tourist Information Centre at 9am, but unfortunately a 3rd person didn’t show up to make the transfer happen. So, it was 10am again before we set off. Why don’t people want to get out early before the weather turns bad??!! I’ll never understand…
Right from the outset, the trail rises quite steeply through the Lenga forest
and doesn’t let up until you hit the treeline, where it opens out into a green valley leading up to the lake.
We actually detoured up to the right, rather than heading straight for the lake, and carefully climbed a very steep shale slope to arrive at a high lookout over the Laguna itself.
It was an amazing view, and I was intrigued that there were actually 2 people snorkeling! Given the temperature of the water, they had to be wearing dry-suits, and I have no idea what they might have seen in there.
From our high perch, we also had a panoramic view back across the Carbajal-Tierra valley towards Laguna Esmeralda, which is where I was hiking yesterday. This provided a completely different perspective on the extent of the peat bogs, which form fascinating patterns from this birds-eye view.
Given there was no wind, we stayed up here enjoying the view and the peace for about 45 minutes, before veeeery carefully picking our way back down to the shore of the lake itself. Unfortunately, because it was completely overcast, the lake was not showing off its brilliant turquoise colour, but it was still beautiful.
We hiked around to the far end of the lake, which looked just like an infinity pool
and climbed again to a different high vantage point that included a view of both Laguna Turquesa and Laguna Esmeralda.
Again, it is an out-and-back hike, with a very easy and fast descent. Plenty of time to take in the views so you don’t arrive too early for the minivan pickup!
This is a beautiful, short day hike that would still be manageable for people who don’t do a lot of hiking. The hike itself is a little tougher and not as interesting as Laguna Esmeralda, but I preferred the views from above the lake.
Time: The suggested time is 1.5hrs each way, but if you have some fitness you can do it in less. In total, there was 4.5 hours between being dropped off and picked up by the transfer – which is more than enough time to visit the lake, and scale some of the steep hills around it.
Cost: The transfer from the main bus station near the Tourist Information Centre costs 350ARS per person for the return journey.
Maximum elevation gain: 330m to Laguna Turquesa, 420m to our highest lookout over the lake