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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Eat and Drink in Ushuaia
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).
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.
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!
Looking for a quick bite? This place has delicious pizza and mouthwatering empanadas!
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.
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.
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!