What to do in Ushuaia?

Owner of a unique natural landscape, Ushuaia is located in the most austral area of ​​the Tierra Del Fuego province, on the banks of the Beagle Channel and surrounded by the Martial mountain range. This city, whose name means “bay that penetrates to the west” in the Yamana language, is not only the southernmost urban center in the world, but a land of myths and legends, where the beauty of the last stretch of the Andes Mountains conjugates with millenarian forests, incommensurable glaciers, mysterious turbales and enchanted valleys.

According to the time of the year in which it is visited, Ushuaia is a city of eternal days or immortal nights that seduce those who disembark at the “End of the World”.

Let’s talk about history

Almost 500 years ago, a group of explorers from the Old World sighted the shores of an unknown land, where scattered fires and columns of smoke seemed to float on the waters. Perhaps it was that almost mystical vision of the native fires that gave its name to the island of Tierra del Fuego.

The first human occupations in the Beagle Channel took place about 7,000 years ago. The area where today the city of Ushuaia rises, as in the rest of the Argentine sector of the Beagle Channel, was inhabited by a group of natives, known today under the name of Magellan canoeists. Upon the arrival of the Europeans, the canoeists who lived in this area called themselves yamana or yagans. Completely adapted to the marine coastal environment, they ate meat from sea lions, fish, birds, molluscs and crustaceans that they gathered, and also from guanaco meat.

The northern area of ​​the island, where the forest is less dense and grasslands predominate, was occupied by another group of natives, who called themselves selk’nam, but they were known as Ona. Their ancestors, who came to the island more than 10,000 years ago, brought with them their nomadic way of life and their hunting tradition of terrestrial animals.

The identity of Ushuaia is marked by the passage of the original peoples, the anglican pastors, the gold prospectors and the prison inmates.

How to arrive?

-Airway: There are several daily flights to Ushuaia. From Buenos Aires there are direct flights (3 hours) or with stopovers (5 hours). The Airport of Ushuaia “Malvinas Argentinas” is located 4 kilometers from the city center, in the southern part of the Ushuaia Peninsula. From there you can take a taxi to the city.

-Terrestrial road: Either by car or by bus, the most direct route is National Route N° 3. The buses arrive from different cities in Argentina to Río Gallegos, in Santa Cruz. Once there, in the same Bus Terminal is the service that “crosses” the island.

After traveling 68 km along National Route N° 3, arrive at the Austral Integral Border Crossing, where you must complete the requirements for leaving Argentina and entering Chile. In the neighboring country, National Routes N° 255 and 257 lead to Punta Delgada, where a ferry is approached, after about 20 minutes of navigation, to reach Bahía Azul, in the Chilean sector of Tierra del Fuego. To enter the Argentine territory must cross the Border Pass San Sebastian. Once in the province of Tierra del Fuego, Antarctica and South Atlantic Islands, there are 81 km left to travel along National Route N° 3 until reaching the city of Río Grande; 185 km to Tolhuin; and 290 km to Ushuaia.

-Maritime route: Access to Tierra del Fuego by sea is made by boats arriving in Ushuaia sailing from various ports in the world.

What to do?

-City tour: We leave you a list with the most outstanding museums and sites!

  • Tourist pier. Take a picture with the End of the World placar and take the opportunity to consult lake excursions.
  • Maritime Museum and Prison Museum  (Address: Yaganes and Gov. Paz). Check schedules and rates.
  • Museum of the End of the World (Address: Maipú 173) and Old Government House (Address: Maipú 465). Check schedules and rates.
  • Plaza Islas Malvinas (Address: Maipú and Luis Pedro Fique).
  • Urban Nature Reserve “Encerrada Bay”. Natural, historical and cultural tour. Bird nesting area.
  • Paseo de Artesanos Enriqueta Gastelumendi (Address: Maipú and Laserre).
  • Saint Christopher Ship (Address: Avenida Prefectura Naval Argentina).

-Tierra del Fuego National Park: Located on the southwestern end of Tierra del Fuego, on the Beagle Channel, it has an area of ​​68,909 hectares belonging to the ecoregion of Patagonian Forests. The Tierra del Fuego National Park was created through Law No. 15,554, enacted on September 30, 1960 and promulgated on October 25 of that year.

  • How to arrive?: By car on National Route N° 3, taxi, remis or regular lines buses from Ushuaia.
  • Check schedules and rates.
  • Trekking: 
  1. Pampa Alta. Difficulty: medium. Length: 4.9 km. Duration: 1 hs to the panoramic point.
  2. Coastal. Difficulty: medium. Length: 8 km. Duration: 4 hours.
  3. Hito XXIV. Difficulty: medium. Length: 3.5 km (one way). Duration: 3 hours round trip.
  4. Guanaco Hill. Difficulty: high. Length: 4 km (one way). Duration 4 hours to the summit.
  5. Lapataia sector: Island Tour, Black lagoon, Lapataia’s lookout, the Turbal, Castorera and Path of the Beacon.

Mapa PNTF 

-Train of the End of the World: It covers the last 7 kilometers of the old prison train route, which started from the Ushuaia prison to the slopes of Mount Susana to obtain different materials for construction. Check schedules and rates. Tel.: (+54 2901) 431 600 | info@trendelfindelmundo.com.ar.

-Navigation through the Beagle Channel:  From the port of Ushuaia there are daily excursions to navigate the Beagle Channel and visit the colonies of wild fauna and avifauna. The classic circuit is available throughout the year and tour the Birds Island and  Sea Lions Island, continuing to the Les Eclaireurs Lighthouse, an emblem of the “End of the World” that indicates the entrance to Ushuaia Bay. Between November and March the option of visiting the “Pingüinera” of Hammer Island is added, where an important colony of magellanic penguins nests.

There are also companies that offer treks on Bridges Island  or “H” Island. Another alternative includes navigation to Stay Harberton, the first stay in Tierra del Fuego, where guided circuits can be made in the hull and the “Acatushun” Museum of Birds and Marine Mammals. Also, from the small port of Ensenada Zaratiegui sailings are made towards Ronud Island and Lapataia Bay.

-Flying over Ushuaia.

-Escondido Lake and Fagnano Lake: Take National Route N° 3 in a northerly direction, passing through the Garibaldi Pass, which offers a beautiful view of the Escondido and Fagnano lakes. There you can make different walks or excursions, such as 4×4 or kayak rides.

  • How to arrive?: By car on National Route N° 3, taxi, remis or regular lines buses from Ushuaia.
  • Our recommended: Sunset Kayaking. Check schedules and rates. Tel .: (+54 02901) 1561 2319 | valledelobosoficial@gmail.com.

-Trek to Esmeralda Lagoon: The trail begins in Valle de Lobos, 18 kilometers from Ushuaia. After crossing the forest, you must cross the peat bog area and continue the ascent to the Esmeralda Lagoon.

  • How to arrive?: By car on National Route N° 3, taxi, remis or regular lines buses from Ushuaia.
  • Important: The signaling in the peat bog area is not clear. The blue pipes are not a good idea to mark a path, because they are confused with the environment.

-Trek to the Martial Glacier: The base of the Martial is only 7 kilometers from the center of Ushuaia, so it can be reached by car, taxi, or walking. During the trekking you get fabulous panoramic views of the city.

  • The chairlifts do not work.
  • Culipatín in the Martial, an option for adults and children.

-Trek to Vinciguerra Glacier and Témpanos Lagoon: The trail starts at the Andorra gate. During the first part, the terrain is flat. After crossing the Big Brook, the ascent begins through the forest of lengas and ñires, which ends in a valley of height, crossed by a stream. After a few meters, the final climb begins that leads to the Témpanos Lagoon and Vinciguerra Glacier.

  • How to arrive?: By car on National Route N° 3, taxi or remis from Ushuaia.

-Trek to Walker’s Lagoon and Pass of the Sheep: The trail starts at the Andorra gate. It’s a two days trek. It is recommended to camp in Walker’s Lagoon. 

What to eat?

The king crab and the black hake are typical dishes of fuegian cuisine. The Beagle Channel produces one of the best crabs in the world and in the South Atlantic, off the Patagonian coast, it is one of the few places where the coveted black hake is caught more than 1000 meters deep. The patagonian lamb is also outstanding, unique for its delicate and tasty meats thanks to the natural pasture and the high salt component that it consumes.

Where to stay?

Ushuaia has a wide range of accommodations that adapt to the needs and pocket of each traveler.

-Our recommended: Hostel Cruz del Sur.

It has: Shared and private rooms; breakfast included; Wifi; lockers; equipped kitchen; garden with grill and parking; hot water 24 hours; laundry service; living room; and library.
The best: the location, the cleanliness and the warmth of all the equipment that makes you feel at home.

Address: Gdor. Deloqui 242. One block from San Martin Avenue, two from the Maritime Museum and four from the Information Center. | Tel: + (54 -2901) 43-4099 | Facebook: Cruz del Sur – Hostel in Ushuaia.


-I’m going to spend the New Year at the End of the World.

Text and photos by Gabriela Naso.

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