Language and Currency
What is Ushuaia Like?
What is the Weather Like?
Where Does the Ship Dock?
Where is the Shopping?
What is There to Buy?
What is There To Do?
Is There Anything of a “Don’t Miss Quality?
Are There Any Great Restaurants or Bars?
A form of Spanish known as Castellano is spoken in Argentina and the currency is the Argentinean peso.
On the shores of Beagle Channel and surrounded by mountains, Ushuaia is the world’s southernmost city, and is known as the “Port at the End of the World”. It is the capital of Tierra Del Fuego, a large triangular island beyond the Magellan Straits, and the Southern Atlantic Province. Ushuaia was originally colonized as an Argentinean penal colony in 1902. It remained a prison outpost until 1947. In fact, some of the 42,000 present inhabitants are descendants of those prisoners. It is now a major South America tourist destination and is rivaled only by Buenos Aires for ship traffic. Ushuaia is one of few cities on earth that offer the sea, mountains, and forests all in one place. Ushuaia can best be described as a hearty frontier town in a truly dramatic setting.
Tierra del Fuego National Park
Although summertime temperatures average between 40 -60° F, it can get much colder and overcast skies, rain and windy conditions are not unusual. Pack a pair of gloves, hat and raingear in preparation for the possibility of inclement weather
The ship docks directly in Ushuaia and the center of town is less than a 10 minute walk. Taxis are available, but are not metered. Average cost to hire a taxi is $20 an hour. Make sure you agree on a price before leaving the pier.
Most of the shopping is located along Av. San Martin, the main street, in the heart of the town. There is also a craft area located at the port that offers some interesting local fare.
Patagonian antiques, regional chocolates, and copies of aboriginal masks are the “hot ticket” items in Ushuaia. Regional artisan goods, and handcrafted leather and ceramics are also good buys. This also happens to be tax free zone – so take advantage of the price breaks.
Nature is the principal attraction in Ushuaia. Tierra Del Fuego national park, 12 km outside the city, provides an opportunity to go horseback riding, mountain biking, or trekking through forests, discover hidden lakes, and admire the rich fauna and flora. Lapataia Bay, within the park, is the end of the Pan-American Highway, which begins in Alaska, literally bringing you to the “end of the world”. Just outside the entrance to the park is the “Train of the End of the World” providing scenic trips along the River Pipo into the park, via steam locomotive. Beagle Channel Catamaran trips are available at the pier and provide an opportunity to explore the wildlife along the waterways. Venture 7 km in another direction and you are at the base of Martial Glacier. From here you can take an 1100 meter chair lift ride to the top for an absolutely awesome view of the Beagle Channel. Once at the top, there is a 2 km glacial hike that can prove interesting. Fishing is yet another activity that is quite popular. If none of this interests you, then a walking tour of the city is always an option. Start out along the coastal avenue, Maipu, which borders the Beagle Channel. Wander downtown on Malvina Argentinas St. and you will not be able to miss the reconstruction of “Old Town”, a replica of the days of the areas pioneers. Travel down San Martin, the main street, until you reach Yaganes. This is the location of El Presidio, the jail at the end of the world. It has been turned into an interesting museum that even houses wax statues of some its more infamous prisoners
Mountains Surrounding Ushuaia
Although it provides no stellar view, or fascinating glimpse of wildlife, traveling to the end of Route #3 (the Pan-American Highway) is a “don’t miss” in my book. How can one travel all this way, to the very southernmost city in the world, and not venture to the absolute end of the world for a photo op?
I wish I could make some recommendations, but we were in port for just a short time and exploring the natural wonders, left no time for testing the local cuisine.