Ushuaia Travel Guide.
Situated on the Beagle Strait, Ushuaia is the largest city in Argentine Tierra del Fuego, and arguably the southernmost city in the world. In the past, the town has been a missionary base, penal colony and naval base for the Argentine navy. Ushuaia is now a major tourist town, complete with casinos and nice restaurants, and commonly used as a base for hiking, winter sports and cruises to Antarctica.
In the late 19th century, the land that is now called Ushuaia was inhabited entirely by Yamana Indians and a handful of missionaries. At the time of writing (October 2005), there is allegedly one pure-blooded native-speaking Yamana Indian left. An excellent book on the history of the Yamana and their demise is The Uttermost Part of the Earth by E. Lucas Bridges, the son of one of the early missionaries. His father, Thomas Bridges, documented what he could of the Yamana language and found that it had a far larger vocabulary than the English language. Darwin, who famously sailed through the Beagle Channel, thought that the Yamana, were "the missing link".
Today the town is growing fast as a result of increased tourism since the 2002 economic crash. The government has encouraged this growth by designating Tierra del Fuego a virtually tax-free zone to encourage people to settle (many of the inhabitants of today's Ushuaia come from Chaco, in the north of Argentina). The cost of living however, is relatively high as all goods have to be transported long distances, usually by container ship.
Climate-wise, Ushuaia is warmer than many assume; although (arguably) the southernmost city in the world, it is no further south than Belfast is north, and temperatures rarely drop below -10°C. However, summers tend not to climb much above +12°C and, as in all of Patagonia, strong winds add a significant wind chill factor.
There are daily Aerolineas Argentinas and LAN flights from Buenos Aires. LAN Chile, through its LAN Express services, flies daily from Santiago de Chile, stopping over in Puerto Montt and Punta Arenas. Flights can be booked from the Aerolineas Argentinas office, as well as from some local travel agencies. The local LAN Chile representative is the Rumbo Sur travel agency. LAN Chile tickets can be purchased online; With Aerolineas Argentinas you can make a reservation online but the ticket must be purchased in person at an Aerolineas office within 24 hours (Jan 2008).
Buses from/to all destinations (apart from Puerto Natales) all stop at Rio Gallegos. It can be cheaper to just buy a ticket to Rio Gallegos and purchase an onward ticket from there. The ride to Rio Gallegos involves crossing into Chile and is advertised as taking around 12 hours (220 pesos); however, it is often much longer.
There are city buses within Ushuaia, but they only reach few of the tourist attractions. They are good to get to Playa Larga, for example, or from one part of the center to another, along the east / west axis.
Tours / transport to the main tourist attractions can be booked through the Tourist Office (on San Martin) or through many of the hostels. Regular minibuses leave for the National Park, Glaciar Martial, the trailhead of Laguna Esmeralda, or other places, from a parking lot at the corner of Maipu and Fadul.
Taxis are another option, costing, for example, Ar$8 to get from the city centre to either the airport or Glaciar Martial. There are also several car / bicycle hire companies.
* Museo Marítimo, Yagones y Gobernador Paz. Located in an old prison displays a collection of the history of Tierra del Fuego. Admission includes entry into the Presidio which is on the same site as el Museo Marítimo.
* Presidio - Museum of the historical military prison of Ushuaia. One wing of the museum has been converted to an art gallery featuring the work of local artists.
* Museo del Fin del Mundo. Highlights include the largest exhibited collection of birds from Tierra del Fuego, the figurehead of the Duchess of Albany (a sunken vessel), and library dedicated to the history and nature of Tierra del Fuego. Admission price of 20 pesos.
* Estancia Harberton - Open only in the summer months, Estancia Harberton is a worthwhile trip for those interested in the Bridges family and their role in the local history. It is located about 40 miles East of Ushuaia on the Beagle Channel.
* Mastil de General Belgrano - A remote area west of the city of Ushuaia on Isla Redonda, paying tribute to one of the founders of Argentina, and to the navy cruiser named after him which was sunk by the UK in the Falklands War. It was a stop on one of the televised Amazing Race contests, and features a one-person post office for sending letters from the end of the world. Accessible by boat from Playa Larga (approx Can$20).
* Museo Mundo Yámana, . Privately run museum with several dioramas of traditional Yaghan/Yámana life, origins and migrations, as well as displays of the period of early contact with Europeans. Located at 56 Rivadavia, near the Museo del Fin del Mundo. Admission price 15 pesos as of February 2009.
* Hike the Glacier Martial - Provided that you wear comfortable shoes and have the patience, a hike up the Glacier Martial will provide a very beautiful view of Ushuaia and the Beagle Chanel. There is also a single ski slope open during the winter months, and ski hire is available from the site.
* Catamaran trips - Catamaran trips will take you around the Beagle channel and give you nice views of the mountains, cormorants, sea lions and penguins.
* Tierra del Fuego National Park - This national park provide some nice day hikes on well marked trails. Longer treks are also possible, such as Paso de la Oveja (2 days) or the Sierra Valdivieso Circuit (4 days). These treks cross part of the national park but start and end elsewhere. The Compania de Guias de la Patagonia and Club Andino Ushuaia can help with organisation and renting gear.
* Cerro Castor - This centre for winter sports offers skiing and snowboarding. Nearby, you can also ride snowcats or husky sleighs.
* Kayak the Beagle Channel - Kayaks can be hired near the Aeroparque on the promontory jutting out from Ushuaia.
* Motonave Barracuda sail -ship trips will take you around the Beagle channel and give you nice views of the mountains, cormorants, sea lions and penguins.
* Ushuaia Golf Club -Located west of town just before the entrance to the National Park. Probably the southernmost golf course in the world.
* Tren del Fin del Mundo --Located west of town just before the entrance to the National Park. A pleasant 45 minute train ride into the park on a narrow guage railway rebuilt on part of the roadbed of the old logging train.
The main shopping district of Ushuaia is located near the waterfront and offers everything that souvenir-seekers and Antarctic travelers could want. While Antarctic travelers should (obviously) arrive with proper gear already in their possession, quality winter gear including boots, coats, and other necessities can be purchased from a variety of shops.
* Kaupé, Roca 470, +54-2901-422704 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting +54-2901-422704 end_of_the_skype_highlighting (email@example.com, fax: +54-2901-422704), . Expensive compared to other restaurants in Ushuaia, but the view is spectacular and the food is absolutely, positively guaranteed not to disappoint. edit
* Kuar, Perito Moreno 2232, (firstname.lastname@example.org). A couple of kilometers outside town, right above the rocks by the sea, breathtaking bay views and good live music scene, sophisticated and good but not outstanding and a bit pricey dining. If you don't mind the occasional dropping by of a bunch of gringos, be sure to book a table by the window in the restaurant area or to take a seat by the big wooden steps in the bar area. edit
* Opiparo, Maipu 1255, +54-2901-434022 (email@example.com). An excellent pizza & pasta restaurant at the world's end. edit
* Dublin Bar, on 9 de Julio, is popular with tourists.
* Galway Bar, on San Martin, is another popular Irish pub although it usually has less atmosphere than Dublin.
* Nautico, on Maipu, is Ushuaia's only real nightclub / disco, and is open until 6AM on the weekends.
* Bodegon Fuegino, San Martin 859, 2901 431972. Locally-sourced, artesanal, home-cooked food. Tapas-style picadas recommended as sampling menu. Good wine selection.
Hotels in Ushuaia are often booked, especially during peak tourist season, thus it is advisable to arrive in Ushuaia with reservations. Hostels on the other hand are numerous and even in mid summer you should have no problem finding a bed.
* Antarctica Hostel. One of the best hostels in town. Just opened recently. Free internet access and breakfast is included. Shared kitchen. Dorm bed Ar$60, double Ar$200. edit
* FreeStyle Hostel, . the freestyle has an excellent view of the bay from their 3rd floor common room. Hostel is clean, new and well maintained with internet costing Ar$1 per half hour and breakfast is included. Kitchen is clean and fully stocked with room for perishables. Dorm rooms, private rooms and private rooms with kitchenettes are available. Dorm: Ar$50 pp; Room for 4: Ar$220; Private room (double or single) Ar$180. edit
* La Posada Del Duende, Deloqui 1482, 02901 432562 and 15514984 (firstname.lastname@example.org). Dorm: 55 pesos pp, double 80 pesos pp (high season, Jan 2008). edit
* Los Lupinos, Deloqui 750, 02901 424152 (email@example.com). Centrally located, big kitchen, free breakfast, padlockable lockers, free wi-fi and Internet. Dorm: 60 pesos pp, double 210 pesos. (-54.8065336,-68.3091218) edit
* Yakush Hostel, (at Piedrabuena & San Martin (the main street)), 435807 (English spoken), . Opened in May, 2004. Very inexpensive and well located. Clean, funky decorations, free email, 24hr hot water, private lockers in each room, TV, and music. Breakfast included. Great staff - hang out, talk. $50 pesos (as of Feb 2009). edit
* Hostel Aonikenk, 25 de mayo 576, 02901-422098 (firstname.lastname@example.org), . checkout: 10 am. Free internet access and breakfast is included. Great view of the bay from the dining room/kitchen/living room. Dorm bed Ar$40 (low season, Apr 2009), double Ar$160, with private bath Ar$180 (high season ,jan 2010). edit
* Torre al Sur Youth Hostel, Gobernador Paz 1437, 02901-430745 (email@example.com), . Free internet access on a 15-year-old computer. Kitchen use until 22:30h. Very thin walls between the rooms. Family atmosphere. Great view in dorm and kitchen. Dorm bed from Ar$46 (member) Ar$ 49 (others) (Feb 2009). edit
* End House, 623 Gobernador J.M. Gomez. Free internet access and breakfast is included. Cheaper rooms are somewhat noisy. Dorm bed from Ar$30 (high season, Jan 2008). edit
* Posada Costa Serena, Av. Roca 129, (02901) 43-7212 (firstname.lastname@example.org). Located just next to Av. San Martin in the middle of town, this posada offers simple accommodation with an excellent position. Free Wi-Fi is available in all rooms, 2 computers are available for the use of those without laptops, residents have full use of a kitchen, the room price includes all-day breakfast and snacks (e.g. coffee, cakes) and the managers are very friendly. Rates as of Mar 2007 are 100 pesos for a single and 110 pesos for a double or twin. edit
* Tango B&B Ushuaia, (email@example.com). Offers daily room service, excellent location, seven blocks away from the main street, really exclusive, with warm and drinkable water 24 hours available, free Internet, cable TV in the living room, optional TV in the room, conditioned atmospheres, safe box in front desk, buffet breakfast and the good quality that only the owners/hosts can give you. A Tango show free with the unique view of the Beagle channel and the Islands that surround it. edit
* Hotel Albatros, Av. Maipú 505, (02901) 43-7300 (firstname.lastname@example.org, fax: (02901) 42-3206), . Located on the waterfront near the docks, this hotel offers comfortable (although not particularly fancy) rooms and excellent service. Free Wi-Fi is available to all visitors, the room price includes a continental breakfast, and the staff are helpful and speak English. High season rates (as of January 2006) were US$150 for a single or double room, US$175 for a triple, and US$225 for a suite.