End of the Year at the End of the World: Ushuaia, Argentina

In late December of last year, we made our way further south along the scenic Patagonia region to arrive in Ushuaia, Argentina. Dubbed “the southernmost city in the world” we found it fitting that we would end our exciting year at the end of the world! We were entering the height of summer and with so many daylight hours to enjoy we made sure to make our stay in this city a memorable one.

Ushuaia Argentina

It’s the end of the world as we know it…

Things to Do

With its proximity to Antarctica, Ushuaia is a gateway for those lucky enough to be heading to that magnificent continent. With our backpackers’ budget however, we weren’t in a position to shell out $7,000-$10,000+ PP for a cruise (although I really, really wanted to) and we both agreed to leave that expedition open for another time. If you’re like us and decide that staying on the South American continent is more up your alley, here’s a list of top things to do while visiting Ushuaia.

Take a hike on a glacier

Hike up Glaciar Martial to get a stunning panorama of Ushuaia and the Beagle Channel from an altitude of 1050 meters. Trek through snow patches during summer or take the chair lift to the ski center in winter. The hike is moderate with a few steep parts towards the top and the whole trek from the city center should take about four hours.

Welcome to Martial Glacier

Welcome to Martial Glacier

Base of Martial Glacier

At the base of the glacier ready to start our hike

Snow on Martial Glacier

Snow!

Trekking through the snow... bring good shoes! Glacier Martial

Trekking through the snow… bring good shoes!

A well deserved break. Martial Glacier

A well deserved break

Gorgeous views of Ushuaia and the Beagle Channel below

Gorgeous views of Ushuaia and the Beagle Channel below

 

Take a boat around the Beagle Channel and surrounding islands

Feel like Darwin yourself as you sail through this scenic strait surrounded by Chilean and Argentinian lands on either side. You will pass the town of Puerto Williams, Chile which is considered the “southernmost town” (Ushuaia gets the southernmost city designation due to its population). Also see Les Eclaireurs Lighthouse and visit a Magellanic penguin colony on the tour. We booked with Catamaranes Canoero.

Ushuaia as seen from the boat

Ushuaia in the distance as seen from the boat

Ready to spot some penguins!

Ready to spot some penguins!

Taking in the sights- Ushuaia

Taking in the sights

Les Eclaireurs Lighthouse

Les Eclaireurs Lighthouse

Penguin colony

Penguin colony

Take a walk along the harbor

Even though it was summer, we only got two days of sun while visiting. We took advantage and decided to walk around the lovely harbor to take pictures. The mountains surrounding Ushuaia along with the water views give way to some gorgeous scenery.

Ushuaia Harbor

Ushuaia Harbor

Enjoying the sunshine- Ushuaia

Enjoying the sunshine

Gorgeous day to walk around Ushuaia

Gorgeous day to walk around Ushuaia

Walking to town

The city leaves a lot to be desired… but the views make up for it

Visit Tierra del Fuego National Park

Arrive by train, bus or car to experience some of the area’s most natural wonders. Hike through forests while witnessing glaciers and waterfalls and taking time to appreciate the native fauna.

Take a historic approach

Visit the Fin del Mundo/End of the World Museum and The Maritime and Prison Museum for a look back at Ushuaia’s history as a penal colony.

Photography exhibit downtown Ushuaia

Photography exhibit downtown

 

Eat and Drink in Ushuaia

Dublin

This cozy dive bar is a hit with foreigners and gets PACKED during high season. The local beer is good, people are friendly and the festivities last long into the night (in summer the sun may still be out when you head home).

Chilling with Charlie and Manu at Dublin

Chilling with Charlie and Manu at Dublin

Ramos Generales

With a warm atmosphere and quirky decorations this place is perfect for a nice evening out. Their food is delicious and their pastries and desserts are divine.

Dinner at Ramos Generales

Dinner at Ramos Generales

Casa de Te

This charming tea house at the base of Martin Glacier is the perfect place to warm up after your hike. It is a bit pricey but they have a huge selection of fine teas to pair with delectable desserts. The perfect treat after a long hike!

A break at the tea house after our hike- Casa de Te

A break at the tea house after our hike

Cozy casa de te

Cozy tea house

137 Pizza

Looking for a quick bite? This place has delicious pizza and mouthwatering empanadas!

Quick Tip

If you’re in town for new year’s eve be sure to book reservations for dinner early especially if you have a large group.

The least blurry picture I could find of us- New Year's Eve in Ushuaia

The least blurry picture I could find of us- New Year’s Eve in Ushuaia

 

Stay

We used Booking and Airbnb to find last minute deals in town. During high season try to book early if you can (especially during the holidays). We booked last minute and had to switch around to three different places due to availability.

View from our room in Arroyito

View from our room in Arroyito

Our cozy little love nook found on Airbnb

Our cozy little love nook found on Airbnb

 

Getting There & Where to Next

Most backpackers arrive by bus either from Puerto Natales or Punta Arenas. The bus ride can vary from 8-10 hours with passage through some terrifically scenic landscapes. Coming from either city you will need to cross borders and hop on a ferry for a brief transfer.

Next- we headed to Puerto Natales to visit Torres Del Paine National park. Stay tuned for our riveting recap of the W trek!