The four hour flight from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia gives passengers amazing views of Patagonia and the snow-capped Andes mountains that stretch all the way down through South America. Flying in, it’s hard to imagine there is a modern city anywhere in the vicinity.
Ushuaia is considered the southern-most city in the world. Battling with Puerto Williams, Chile (officially not a recognized city) for the title, Ushuaia is connected to the rest of Argentina by Route 30 and a small but modern airport. Even five minutes from landing, there is absolutely nothing in sight other than most impressive mountain range in the entire world.
A ten minute taxi ride from the airport reveals a small, but very modern and comfortable city. Plenty of restaurants line the main street of San Martin and the harbor is busier than one would imagine given it’s remote location. In fact, Ushuaia has become a major launching pad for cruises to Antarctica.
During the winter months most visitors are Argentinians taking a break from their lives in Buenos Aires to enjoy the wonderful skiing. Even the hostels are packed during this time and are transformed into party central for the lively Buenos Aires locals.
Ski bums will enjoy a day on the mountain. Cerro Castor appears the be the popular one with most visitors. I was treated to a foot of fresh powder from the night before going and bright sunny skies throughout the first half of the day. I was told that the weather changes five times a day in Uhsuaia and that was evident by the snowstorm that started around 1pm. It took several hours to escape the parking lot due to how quickly the snow fell on the roads. Be careful if driving or better yet, pay the AR$30 for a round trip shuttle ride from your hotel or hostel.
Visitors to Ushuaia have to treat themselves to a boat ride of the Beagle Canal. If you get seasick easily, be sure to take some Dramamine!
There are a handful of boat operators lined up down at the warf waiting for your business or you can book it through your hotel/hostel. I paid AR$135, about $35 US, for a 4-hour cruise on a small but comfortable boat. Unfortunately the penguins weren’t around during this time of the year, but a visit to Isla los Lobos made for some great photo opportunities.
For an archeology buff (I’d be a young Indiana Jones if I had a museum funding my adventures) a short stop at a Yamana island was interesting as you get the opportunity to see former dwelling sites of the Yamana people that are all but extinct now. Move the brush a little and you’ll find shell midden from hundreds of years ago.
I would recommend any visitor to Argentina to hop on a cheap LAN or Aerolineas flight down to Ushuaia and enjoy the southernmost city the world. Great food, great people, and amazing terrain all make for an incredible experience. Just be sure to dress a little warmer than I did.
Please take a moment to enjoy this video I shot during my tour of the Beagle Canal.