People visit Ushuaia for a number of different reasons. To be very honest, quite a few people come to the city for bragging rights and nothing else. They come so that they can tell others that they’ve been to the southernmost city in the world. However, after most arrive they quickly realize that there is more to brag about Ushuaia then its geographical location. The world’s southern most city is settled on a hilled perch overlooking the beautiful Beagle Channel. Backdropping the city are some impressive mountains many of which are snow capped and a few that are capped by small glaciers. The nearby Tierra del Fuego National Park is also very worth a visit. Whether people head to Ushuaia as a jumping off point to Antarctica or to brag about their past travels, those who visit will surely realize there is more to this city than most believe.
Things to do in Ushuaia
- Tierra del Fuego National: Tierra del Fuego National Park is just a quick drive from Ushuaia, and is more than worth a stop as it is quite beautiful. In the park there are a number of different things to do. One can simply visit on a day trip and take in a boat trip, a small hike, or even something simple like a picnic. Those who are looking to explore the park a little bit more extensively can also do multiple day hikes. You can either stay at refugios or camp along the way. Camping gear is readily available for rent in Ushuaia. **Note: the park has a very high entry fee for foreigners, the equivalent of about 30US$.
- Museums: The city’s maritime museum is worth a stop. It was once a prison home to a couple hundred people and is as interesting a museum in Usuaia. The other popular museum in town is the Museo del fin del Mundo, which for many is quite interesting while for others, myself included, feel that it is quite tacky.
- Wildlife Safari: Down by the piers there are a number of offices that offer tours to view some of the local wildlife of the Beagle Channel by boat. The trips are worthwhile and you will often spot a number of different things. If it is penguins you’re keen on spotting make sure you take one of the tours that allows you to jump off the boats and spend time on land at the large Magellan penguin colony.
- Hiking and mountain biking: You don’t need to go all the way to the National Park to do some hiking in the Ushuaia area. One of the nearby trails leads to up a hill to a glacier, and although the glacier isn’t much more than an overgrown snowball the views from the top are well worth it. You can also hike up to the ski hill which has a chair lift that operates even in the summer. Another option is to rent a bike and head out to Playa Larga which is just 5 km east of the city.
- Skiing: In wintertime the ski hill opens up, and although the nearby hills are smaller than one might expect to see in North America or Europe the temperature for skiing is great as it rarely gets much colder than -5 degrees Celsius. You can also go cross country skiing and snow shoeing.
- Dog Sledding: Yes, a piece of North America has arrived in Argentina. The dog sledding opportunities are supposed to be fantastic in the winter time as well trained huskies will whisk you around the countryside.
Where to Eat in Ushuaia
Being strapped for cash in Ushuaia isn’t a whole lot of fun. There are a lot of great restaurants here but many of them charge excessive prices hoping to cash in on the influx of tourists visiting from one of the expensive cruise ship. One place I enjoyed eating for a reasonable price was a resto-bar called Bananas. I got a set meal at Bananas for 8US$ and it was very tasty. Also, if you plan on spending some time at the local Irish Pub, Dublins, they have good meals at very decent prices. If you have a bit of a budget to blow be sure to try the locally caugh King Crab.
Where to Sleep in Ushuaia
If you’re heading to Ushuaia during the high season be sure to book your accommodation in advance. In fact, my bus was late arriving and the hostel gave away my room by 11pm thinking I would arrive. The Freestyle hostel, which I was booked with look nice from the lobby, but since they gave away my reservation I can’t recommend them. I ended up staying at the Antarctica Hostel which in terms of quality appeared to be much worse then the Freestyle, but the nice staff and friendly guests made it a nice stay all the while.
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