Looking for your next great summer destination? The world has plenty of wonders in store for curious travelers, but perhaps none as mystical as Ushuaia in Argentina.
Dubbed as the “End of the World,” the capital of Tierra del Fuego in Argentina is more than just the stuff of fantasy novels. It is surrounded by the Andes Mountains up north, and the Beagle Channel down south.
What used to be a missionary base, penal colony, and naval base is now a busy port and a buzzing tourist destination. There are casinos, restaurants, and ski resorts that will provide you entertainment. However, it’s the outdoor adventure that you need to prioritize when visiting this southernmost town in Argentina. It is, after all, a little patch of paradise that you must go see for yourself.
Why should you mark Ushuaia next on your bucket list of places to visit? Here are some of the best sights, eats, and places to stay in this cozy town in Argentina:
Top Tourist Sites
1. Tierra del Fuego Natural Park
Ushuaia is home to diverse natural resources and wildlife. Its abundance in flora and fauna makes it a perfect tourist destination for nature lovers.
Situated where Route 3 ends, the Tierra del Fuego Natural Park stands as one of its biggest preservation grounds open to tourists who want to immerse themselves in nature. The Natural Park protects two of the area’s most famous bodies of water: the Lakes Fragnano and Roca, which serve as a testament to the area’s early settlers.
The so-called End of the World train, which was originally an old prisoner train, runs around the area. You can ride the famous train to discover vast forests and glacial lakes in Tierra del Fuego. For more adventure, you can hike along the trails of the countryside, or go for a canoe ride in the lake.
2. Mount Castor Ski Resort
If you happen to be near the area during the winter months, Ushuaia is still a sight to behold in the cold season.
Mount Castor has a ski resort that lets you enjoy the beauty of Ushuaia’s natural wonders in spite of the cold. You can also opt for fun activities here that are unique to winter, like skiing.
3. Les Eclaireurs Lighthouse
Because of its moniker, Ushuaia and its surrounding area have inspired some great literature. While not directly in the city itself, there are tour packages that offer a visit to Les Eclaireurs Lighthouse. This site has been cited in futuristic author Jules Verne’s novels as the famous Lighthouse at the End of the World.
Where to Stay
Exploring the city and immersing yourself in its culture will take more than an overnight stay. In fact, the recommended length of stay in Ushuaia is a minimum of three days and two nights. This will allow you enough time to visit Tierra del Fuego National Park, explore the Beagle Channel via cruise, and go around the town proper itself. However, it is highly suggested that you take more time to discover more of Ushuaia since there is so much to explore the island.
Finding the best places to accommodate you is essential in creating a comfortable atmosphere.
Fortunately, there are plenty of resorts to choose from, with a range of themes from the romantic to a solo getaway that will suit anyone’s travel preference.
Here are three of my recommendations:
- If you’re looking for some quiet time at night after a day’s adventure, the Macondo House would be your best bet. A small and private budget hostel, this 7-room property sits atop a hill, overlooking the town. It promises an intimate feel, clean facilities, and good personal service, without burdening your travel budget.
- Another budget accommodation that gives you a good view of the mountains and the Beagle Channel is Hotel Posada Fueguina. Anchoring their success on quality and customer care, their Fuegian cabanas and trademark customer service would make you feel at ease.
- If you have extra budget, you might want to consider staying at Hotel Las Lengas, one of the more upscale hotels in Tierra del Fuego. It is highly modernized, with its huge windows that provide you scenic views of the channel or the mountains. Just a 5-minute drive distance from the Port of Ushuaia, it provides travelers more time for other activities like sailing.
Aside from trekking and simply enjoying nature in this breathtaking city, there are also a number of activities travelers can partake in. Be sporty and go hiking, horseback riding, mountain climbing, or scuba diving. Indulge in a laid-back trip and cruise around nearby glaciers, bays, and cliffs to survey the terrain. Whatever activity you fancy, Ushuaia has got you covered.
Take a cruise.
During your stay in Tierra del Fuego, don’t miss out on the chance to course in its waters. Set out on a short cruise in the Beagle Channel to the Les Eclaireurs Lighthouse. You should also include in your itinerary Martillo Island, where you can walk with penguins, and Estancia Harberton, the oldest estancia in the area built by English missionaries.
Explore the poignant prisons and the Maritime Museum.
When you want to take a break from breathing in Nature, Tierra del Fuego also offers dark tourism through the halls of its former prisons.
Ushuaia’s Prison and all of its 380 rooms housed the most notorious criminals and political prisoners sentenced with life imprisonment. Guided tours around the penal colony would allow you glimpses of how the convicts spent their time–there were primary education courses and workshops given to them. The train that runs in Tierra del Fuego National Park was once the transportation of prisoners with good conduct who were allowed to collect firewood.
Mingle and maté around.
No, I don’t mean it that way.
In Tierra del Fuego, and everywhere else in Argentina, to maté is to share a cup of brewed tea leaves and bond with you. A warning though, a classic maté can be a bit strong in taste to first timers. You must also note that sharing maté means you’ll drink from the same cup and sip from the same straw as others as the tradition is considered as a social act.
Taste local specialties.
Personally, when I travel, I make sure that my itinerary includes a stop or two at recommended restaurants to taste their local cuisine. Although eating out in Ushuaia can stretch your budget a bit, it is highly recommended that you try their lamb, trout, crab, and other seafood.
You should also try eating out in a parrilla, a self-service buffet, where you can eat as much as you can for a set price! It’s perfect for budget travelers who want to eat their hearts out.
The Takeaway: A Hidden Paradise
Ushuaia is a picturesque destination for anyone who’s willing to take a little break at the end of the world. Its natural wonders and rich culture offer tourists a glimpse into a history consciously preserved by its inhabitants.
Experience the inspiration of fantasy novels first-hand in Argentina’s enchanting city. One day simply isn’t enough. Book your stay with the numerous resorts nearby to fully enjoy the experience.
About the Author
Laura Buckler is a contributor for coursework writing service. She believes that everything in our life is simple and achievable and tries to help people recognize their own potential.
Personal motivation is her main driving force. Follow her on twitter.