Ushuaia attracts all kinds of tourists: from women hiking (or trying to) in high heels to Gore Tex wearing people ready for their trip to Antarctica. Some people come here just to have been here while others come well prepared for some serious adventure.
The town itself is not very pretty and there’s not a lot to do here (and almost nothing to eat during siesta time from 3 to 8 pm) so you have to get out on a tour or go trekking.
Hiking Around Ushuaia
There are actually many trails close to the town (the surrounding nature is gorgeous) but it’s not that easy to get there. For the shorter and easier trails you can take a bus (though they’re not cheap at all) but for the longer and more demanding and interesting ones you’ll need a guide and probably your own wheels. We hiked the 4.8 km trek to Laguna Esmeralda, a really beautiful trail that leads through different terrains up to a green-blue lagoon at the foot of the mountains.
The summer weather in Tierra del Fuego is a bit of a challenge: The wind is cold, the sun very warm. But as soon as it’s gone, it gets cold so you always need to carry a jacket.
The weather changes rapidly and a lot, which is quite annoying since you never know what to wear and when you’re hiking you spend half the time taking off or putting on clothes. However, the weather was a lot better than we expected, or what our iPhone app predicted.
Boat Tours in Beagle Channel
At the waterfront a lot of companies offer catamaran or boat tours in the Beagle Channel. We chose a sailing tour with the company Paludine – a great choice! Only 8 people plus the captain and a guide on a small sailing boat, you get special sailing clothes if you want (very recommendable: it’s cold on deck) and the boat can get very close to the islands where penguins, sea lions and cormorants live. We were a great group and the guide was able to tell us a lot about the the fauna and flora of Tierra del Fuego; we had a really great time! The only thing: don’t eat too much before the trip. Or after it.
So here we are at the end of the world (kind of), and everything is the southernmost whatever in the world, something Ushuaia does cash in on, which is probably only fair. It’s the only town that size in this part of the world. The Chilean towns of Puerto Navarino and Puerto Williams on the other side of the Beagle Channel are not nearly as big as Ushuaia with its international airport and port from where ships to Antarctica depart.
Trip to Antarctica, Anyone?
Antarctica has always seemed so far away, almost impossible to reach but here… You could just go to one of the many tour agencies offering trips and see if they have a last minute offer.