Beagle Channel (aka Glacier Alley) is surrounded by the Darwin Mountain Range peaks and the breathtaking view of D`Aggostini National Park. This narrow strait in Tierra del Fuego is named after HMS Beagle, a British ship that first surveyed the area during its world circumnavigation (1826-1830).
Beagle Channel is located in Chile's Tierra del Fuego province, close to South America's southern tip. It separates the Tierra del Fuego's Isla Grande from the archipelago's southernmost islands, among which are Hoste; Londonderry, Navarino; Picton-Lennox-Nueva. At approx 31 mi (50 km) from its western end, the strait divides into 2 branches - north and south of the Gordon Island. The southwest branch (between the islands Hoste and Gordon) enters the Pacific Ocean at Cook Bay. The northwest branch (between the islands Isla Grande and Gordon) enters the Darwin Sound - connecting it to the Pacific Ocean by the channels O'Brien and Ballenero. The two biggest port towns on Beagle Channel are Ushuaia (Argentina) and Puerto Williams (Navarino Island, Chile).
The strait provides a sheltered passage between the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean. Its western part is wholly inside Chile, while its eastern part forms a boundary between Chile (south) and Argentina (north).
Beagle Channel has a length of approx 150 mi (240 km) and width between 3-8 mi (5-13 km). As cruise ships sail through its north-western (Chilean) branch (the so-called "Glacier Avenue" or "Glacier Alley"), passengers can enjoy the mesmerizing views of the world-famous glaciers named Alemania, Francia, Holanda, Italia, and Romanche (among others). All these blue-iced glaciers fall from heights of over 1000 ft (300 m) down to the water below.
Beagle Channel, along with the Magellan Strait (to the north) and the Drake Passage (to the south) are the only navigable seaways (passages) around South America. However, most large-sized commercial (cargo shipping) vessels operate on itineraries via Drake Passage or Strait of Magellan. Under the 1984's Treaty of Peace and Friendship between Argentina and Chile, marine vessels (including cruise ships) of other nations are allowed to navigate these waters only with a Chilean pilot on board.