Ushuaia Argentina Travel Guide
Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, located at 461 km southwest of Punta Arenas and 594 km south of Río Gallegos, Argentina, offers a wide variety of opportunities to enjoy of its amazing environment, a combination of mountains, sea, glaciers, forests, you can hire a modern catamaran or a comfortable sailing boat, which will take you along the Beagle Channel, to the Cape Horn(in the Chilean side) and the Antarctic Continent, in the way you can see the local birds and fauna, such as penguins and sea-wolves.
The tourist attractions include the Tierra del Fuego National Park; the southernmost in Argentina which limits on his occidental side with the Republic of Chile. Its objective is to protect the sub-antarctic environment; the Escondido and Fagnano Lakes, the Harberton and Moat Ranches, or maybe you should go through the Heart of the Island to meet the picturesque little town called Tolhuin or the Chepelmut and Yehuin Lakes.
You can learn about the history and culture of the people of Ushuaia, visiting the Museo del Fin del Mundo (End of the World Museum), the Maritime Museum, and the old part of the city that allows watching the typical architecture.
Nature lovers can go to the base of the Martial Glacier and admire the wonderful view of the city, Beagle Channel, and the Glacier itself, tourist can practice outdoor activities such as trekking, horse riding, mountain bike, sport fishing, or excursions through unexplored sites. In Ushuaia is located The Centro Invernal Cerro Castor, the newest ski resort in Argentina, situated at only 15 minutes from Ushuaia city, was built at the Krund mountain, from May to October, offers better snow conditions.
Another interesting place is the Isla de Los Estados (The Staten Island), where the Faro del Fin del Mundo (Lighthouse at the End of the World) can be found, this lighthouse was made famous by Jules Verne in its novel of the same name, published in 1905. The wild fauna is composed of penguins, sea wolfs, seals, seagulls, and cormorants.
You can travel on the Tren del Fin del Mundo (World’s End Train), considered the southernmost functioning railway in the world, the train originally was built to transport prisoners, now has been turned into a heritage railway into the Tierra del Fuego National Park.
The typical meal in Ushuaia, includes lamb barbecue, king-crabs or chocolates, and finally, Ushuaia receives regular flights from Buenos Aires, at Ushuaia – Malvinas Argentinas International Airport, there is also cruise ships to Falkland Islands (Islas Malvinas).
Things to do in Ushuaia
Ushuaia is the capital of the province of Tierra del Fuego, is the southernmost city in the world, is encircled by a range of rugged peaks and fronted by the Beagle Channel (named for HMS Beagle, the ship of Charles Darwin), it has approximately 64,000 inhabitants. Ushuaia means “bay penetrating westward” in the Yamana language.
Ushuaia is not only a city at the “end of the world”, but Ushuaia is also a city conformed by old-fashioned wood and metal houses and modern buildings in a spectacular environment. Ushuaia is now a major tourist town, a great destination with plenty of activities, many visitors use the city as a base for winter sports and for trips to Antarctica or trips around Cape Horn.
This picturesque city possesses an important tourist services infrastructure, excellent hotels, casinos, and restaurants, with a gourmet selection of traditional Fueguian crab, black hake, cod, bream, and exquisite shellfish. There is also an elegant commercial center and an increasing social and cultural activity.
Tren del Fin del Mundo
In the past, the town was home of the Yamana Indians, later it was a penal colony for serious criminals (being a remote island, escape from the prison would have been impossible), prisoners built the train known as the Tren del Fin del Mundo (End of the Earth Train), Ushuaia was also a naval base for the Argentine government. The population is growing fast as a result of immigration and tourism, the government has designated Tierra del Fuego as a virtually tax-free zone, to encourage people to settle. Its climate is not as severe as it seems, the mountains and the sea soften it, temperatures rarely drop below -10 degrees, in summer temperatures are above the +12 degrees.
Ushuaia Prison Museum
You can visit the Ushuaia Prison Museum, one of the most visited attractions in Ushuaia today, it offers a fascinating look into the lives of the prisoners through interpretive displays and artifacts. The Wing 4, another area within the prison, has been designated as a Marine Museum and offers a history of Ushuaia’s settlement from the time of its discovery. There is a restaurant, where tourists can eat “prison” meals.
End of the World Museum
Or maybe, you could visit the End of the World Museum, where you can see Indian hunting tools, colonial maritime instruments, an old general store, packed with antique products, and a store with excellent books about Patagonia for sale.
Tren del Fin del Mundo (Southern Fuegian Railway)
A visit in the “End of the World Train”, will enable the tourist to take the same tour done by convicts, when they were transported through the Tierra del Fuego region, in a route covered by rivers, lakes, cascades, forests, and snow-covered mountains, you can see also the reconstructed camps of the Yamanas natives.
Tierra del Fuego National Park
Located only from 11 Km. of Ushuaia, this park was created in 1960, its 63,000 hectares offers a beautiful glacial landscape, with incredible views, being its highlights the Lake Roca, the viewpoints into the Beagle Channel and Lapataia Bay, the Cape Horn, Staten Island, Paso Chico, Islas Bridge, Los Lobos, Los Pájaros, and Les Eclaireurs lighthouse.
Ushuaia Prison Museum
Located at Yagenes and San Martin streets, the museum allows tourists to see the actual cells of the prisoners who were housed from 1902 until 1947. The museum is a recommended place to visit, by the impressive architecture of the building and the history contained in it.
Located in pavilions 3 and 4 of the ex-penitentiary, the museum enables one to see the history of Antarctic exploration and other aspects such as austral wildlife in Tierra del Fuego. Exhibited are penguins, photos, captions, interesting ships models in scale, and a large philatelic collection.
If you visit the Hammer Island, you have the best chance to see a colony of elegant Magellanic Penguins, the island is easily reachable from Ushuaia, you have also the opportunity of enjoying trips in catamarans through Lapataia Bay, SeaWolves island, Bird Island, and other amazing Beagle Channel landmarks.