Hanging Out In Ushuaia, At The End Of The World
(54.80° S, 68.30° W)
My experience of Ushuaia was a little underrated. It is billed as frontier town, and is the southernmost city in the world. In truth, it is not really a travel destination but rather a place where tourists find themselves in order to catch onward travel, usually a cruise to Antarctica a hiking adventure.
The town, of nearly 60,000 residents, is unimpressive. In the past, the town has been a missionary base, prison colony and naval base for the Argentine navy. Shops are stacked with cheap souvenirs and hiking gear. The streets and houses are ramshackle and run down. Barking dogs were chained up outside most properties and mangy strays wandering the streets in search of scraps. One followed us for at least half an hour and was impossible to get rid of.
Despite the town being somewhat underwhelming there are some attractions to explore. On a sunny morning I took a pleasant hike up the Martial Glacier. The terrain was steep but relatively easy going. Our path followed a babbling river and snow peaked caps with the Andes towering behind.
I rode on the El Tren del Fin del Mundo (End of the World Train), a sort of miniature steam train that winds through the Ushuaia countryside. Most notably through the tree cemetery where prisoners cut down trees for over 50 years. Hiking in the Parque Nacional Tierra Del Fuego and kayaking in the Beagle Channel both have excellent reviews. The Beagle Channel is named after Charles Darwin’s ship which explored this peninsula of South America in the early 1800s and documented the existence of native tribes living in the area. I did not stop in Ushuaia long enough to be able to make these trips. Although we did sail through the Beagle Channel on our way to Antarctica.
I also dined at a couple of restaurants. Kuar Resto, perfectly positioned on the edge of the Beagle Channel with spectacular views into the harbour. And Kaupe a family run restaurant with exceptionally friendly staff which prepares regional seafood dishes. It’s located at the top of town with views of the Bay of Ushuaia and the Beagle Channel. Neither restaurant was exceptional but both are probably above average for Ushuaia and worth a visit if you are looking for some sustenance with a good view. Try the King Crab it's the favourite local catch here.
Spending time In Ushuaia does indeed make you feel like you have reached ‘the end of the world'. So if that’s what you are after you have come to the right place.
I visited Ushuaia on the 20th - 21st December 2015 and the 31st December 2015 - 2nd January 2016, from MS The World.