Ushuaia is capital of the Tierra del Fuego, Antarctica and the South Atlantic Islands Province. It is located off a bay on the southern coast of the island of Tierra de Fuego, and is the capital city. Here you’ll find a bustling port, and the starting point for many adventurous activities, including kayaking, wildlife spotting, and hiking. Ushuaia is largely considered the most southern city in the entire world, and is relatively young, founded in 1884. In the 1970’s, Ushuaia’s importance and population grew, due to an industrial promotion and increase in job opportunities. Today, the city is a popular tourist spot, and a gateway to the Antarctic. Visiting this city, you’ll be struck by its charm, and the spectacular backdrop of the Andes. Below is our Ushuaia travel guide with information on all the best things to do, places to go and what not to miss.
MUSEO MARTIMO AND MUSEO DEL PRESIDIO – The construction of this national prison ended in 1920, and held close to 800 prisoners before closing in 1947. There is an intriguing description about the living conditions, lives, and treatment of the inmates.
PARQUE NACIONAL TIERRA DEL FUEGO – Only a small part of the park’s 63,000 hectares is available for public use. There are many riverside trails and a dense forest. This is a good spot to find birdlife.
GLACIAR MARTIAL – This glacier is a little way out of town, but once you make the hike up to the top it’s worth the trip. The view of the city is beautiful, and the glacier itself is also quite the sight.
MUSEO YAMANA – An interesting museum that has good insight into the Yamana way of life – the Yamana are indigenous people of the southernmost city in the world. This includes how they survived the harsh weather, why only the women would go swimming and how they managed to have campfires in canoes on the water.
MUSEO DEL FIN DEL MUNDO – Once a bank but now a museum, this small place makes for an interesting stop. It has exhibits on early penal colonies around the area.
TOURS – There are also plenty of tours that are offered to the different islands and sights around the area. You can go by boat or catamaran on the tours through the channel, with the option to kayak through as well.
*** WHAT NOT TO MISS ***
There are some good sights to see in the town, but also great boating tours that will give you a chance to see some of the surrounding waters. They will take you out and around the bay and channel area to see the amazing views of the glaciers, and maybe even spot some animals.
There are a few different options for dining in Ushuaia, including places which serve international and local dishes. Some of the best places offer great views over the bay and channel. Try Bodegon Fueguino (Avenida Gral San Martin 859) is a cosy restaurant, with friendly staff, and not too expensive. Ramos Generales (Calle Maipu 749) has an interesting, antique decor, and serves good meals, pastries, and desserts. If you’re after something refreshing, head to Freddo (Avenida San Martin 686) for some delicious gelato.
In Ushuaia, you’ll find more pubs and bars than clubs. There are some nice bars in the town that offer great drinks and a good atmosphere, where you can relax and have a drink to wind down the night. For some casual beers, go to Dublin (9 de Julio 168), where you’ll find a mix of locals and backpackers, a friendly atmosphere, good music, and tasty nibbles. There is only one place that is more of the club scene in town, Nautico (Maipu 1210). Here you’ll find many locals dancing the night away – it’s open until 6am.
Ushuaia has a very cool climate, but because of the ocean it is a bit milder. The average temperature never gets above 10 degrees throughout the year. In the warmer months of the year (from November to March) the average temperature is about 7 – 8 degrees Celsius, and in the cooler months the average temperature drops to about 5 – 6 degrees Celsius. Ushuaia hardly experiences any rain over the course of the year.
There are flights that fly into Ushuaia from Buenos Aires as well as from Chile. The flight from Chile has stops in Puerto Montt and Punta Arenas. There is also the option of travelling by bus, but be aware that all the buses that come from and go to Ushuaia stop in Rio Gallegos (a city in southern Patagonia, on the Gallegos River). From there it’s 12 hours to Ushuaia.
There are lots of lodging options in Ushuaia. You can find very cheap prices at the hostels, but most of them are shared rooms or dorms. They make for good places to get to know other people travelling around. There are also mid-range and more high end hotels in Ushuaia that offer private rooms and suites. Some of the places are located in the city centre, and other places are further out but offer great views of the bay area.
Antarctica Hostel (Antartida Argentida 270) is great for backpackers, with helpful staff, and a nice common area to hang out in. There are spacious lockers, and all you need in a decent hostel, including a kitchen if you fancy cooking. La Posta (Tte. Gral. Juan Domingo Perón Sur 864) has extremely knowledgeable and friendly staff, is close to the airport, and about 30 minutes by foot from the city centre. Another option is La Casa de Tere B&B (Pres. Bernardino Rivadavia 620), a simple bed and breakfast with a helpful owner, situated on a residential street.
For a more romantic stay, visit Cabanas del Beagle (Calle Las Aljabas 375) which is a 15-minute walk from the city centre. These are beautiful wooden cabins - the very definition of rustic luxury - with heated floors, a functioning fireplace, a small kitchen, and stunning views of the Beagle Channel. The owners even provide freshly baked bread.
Always be careful when wandering around the town, don’t go out alone after dark, and try to stick to the main parts of the city.
Make sure that the boat tours you choose are well known and professional, and don’t do anything that you don’t feel comfortable with.