Welcome to Ushuaia. Located at the most southern tip of Argentina, this charming city lies on the island of Tierra del Fuego on the northern shore of the Beagle Channel.
Founded in 1870 by British missionaries, the city began as a place to house Argentina’s most dangerous prisoners. Nowadays, it serves as the gateway to Antarctica, where thousands of eager tourists flock each year to start their cruising adventure.
While many use Ushuaia as a stopover before beginning their cruise, this captivating Argentinian destination has much more to offer travellers.
Where else do you get the chance to see breathtaking views of the Southern Ocean, snow-capped mountains and lush forests simultaneously?
With an array of activities to suit all, Ushuaia is the perfect destination to build the anticipation for your upcoming cruise or to relax and unwind after.
Below we’ve put together the top 5 reasons why you should have an extended stopover in Ushuaia. After all, it’s not often that you can boast about having spent a few nights at the ‘End of the World’.
Nestled in the south-west of Tierra del Fuego province, only 12km from Ushuaia, this stunning national park covers 63,00 hectares of land and is a must visit for any traveller to the region.
It is the only national park on Argentina’s coastline and the southernmost national park on the planet.
Visitors to the park are treated to approximately 40km of trails, varying in difficulty and length, all which offer unique and spectacular scenery.
Walking the many trails is truly the best way to experience Tierra Del Fuego, as it is easy to stumble across magnificent panoramic views of the bay, stunning waterfalls and a vast array of unique park wildlife.
Another great option to see the park is the Southern Fuegian Railway, more commonly known as the ‘End of the World Train’. A popular attraction, the world’s southernmost train will take you back more than 100 years, to a time when convicts used the railway.
The journey takes only an hour each way, so if you’re short on time, or you prefer to take a historical journey into Ushuaia’s past, the End of the World train is a great option!
No matter what your age, this thematic gallery provides the perfect introduction to the history of Ushuaia. Visitors are treated to an interactive experience that spans three levels, complete with life-size wax figurines and historical scenes that capture the essence of Ushuaia’s past.
You will be taken on a magical journey to unearth the mythical history of the native people, relive the arrival of the European settlers, and discover the remarkable feats of Antarctic Explorers.
Make sure you grab an audio guide (available in several languages) and take full advantage of the exhibits that allow you to enter and take photos!
Resting in the middle of the Beagle Channel, just 5 miles from the city centre, Les Eclaireurs Lighthouse marks the rugged entrance to Ushuaia Bay.
Holding its own against the dramatic Martial mountains this lonely lighthouse rests on a remote and uninhabited island, lending it the name of “Lighthouse at the End of the World”.
The only way to reach the lighthouse is by boat. Several tour companies operate short sail trips, which boast panoramic views of the lighthouse and surrounding snow-capped mountain ranges.
Martial Glacier is a natural wonder hidden in the clouds, yet only a few kilometres from the city centre. Both visually striking and physically alluring, Martial Glacier treats visitors to the very best vantage points in the region and offers a plethora of activities year round.
Complementing the Antarctica cruise season, which is open from late October to the end of March, this time of year sees undulating and green pastures all around Martial Glacier, making the area ideal for hiking.
There are numerous trails, of varying durations and difficulty, making this the perfect outing for everyone. Hikers can reach the base of the glacier, a 2-3 hour round trip winding through the lush forest, crystal clear streams, and icy boulders (even in summer!).
An alternative option for those less enthused by hiking is the chairlift, which takes passengers to the start of the main hiking trails. The ride up offers incredible views of the mountain range and city below. It is also the perfect opportunity to take a picturesque snap of the Beagle Channel.
Esmeralda Lagoon is another must-do for any trip to Ushuaia. Set in the valley of Fuegian Andes, this stunning green lagoon is a favourite hike and an unforgettable experience.
Only a short shuttle from Ushuaia, the hike is relatively easy, and the views are nothing short of spectacular.
Walking through the rich Patagonian forest you will come across a number of streams, peat bogs and beaver-made dams until you finally walk over the hill to arrive at the visually stunning green waters of Esmeralda Lagoon. Flanked by a snow-capped mountain range, it’s the perfect location to sit and unwind after a big day of exploring.
Beyond the stunning scenery, Esmeralda Lagoon has another unique and fascinating aspect – Argentina’s introduced beaver population. These Beavers were initially brought in from North America to breed them for their fur, however, due to the differing climate and lack of predators the population skyrocketed.
During your hike, you will come across beaver-made dams and series of miniature lakes that have formed by the beavers. While Esmeralda Lagoon is the postcard picture and deservedly the focus of the day, be sure to keep an eye out for beavers.
These are the top 5 places to visit in Ushuaia. Make sure you plan ahead and book a few extra nights at the ‘End of the World’. It’s the perfect way to complement your Antarctica cruise!
If you have any further questions or queries regarding the top 5 places to visit in Ushuaia then please get in contact or leave a comment below.
Thank you and happy travels.
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Burnham started his career as a professional tennis player before retiring due to injury. Since then Burnham has thrown himself into adventure travel. He has visited some of the most iconic and obscure parts of the planet - his most memorable experience is Antarctica!
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