There are several reasons for visiting Argentina, but for nature fans, Ushuaia would probably top the list. Known as the end of the world, this remote location in South America has many attractions, including a former prison, rides on a scenic train, fantastic landscape, glaciers, and outstanding wildlife.
Ushuaia is a unique place where travelers can walk among penguins during the day and try some of the best Argentinean wines later. Unsurprisingly, visiting Ushuaia demands some planning, and tourists often feel puzzled when planning their first trip to Ushuaia.
Why Is Ushuaia Called The End Of The World?
Ushuaia is known as the end of the world thanks to its location. The capital of Tierra del Fuego is the southernmost spot of Argentina, and it's a gateway to Antarctica, making it a strategic hub for many Antarctica cruises.
Tierra de Fuego is an archipelago that stretches over Argentina and Chile and is known for its landscapes. The name means Land of Fire, and it received this name because when European explorers approached the archipelago, they saw columns of smoke.
How To Get To Ushuaia?
Despite its remote location, Ushuaia is reachable by plane, car, or bus. Yet, planning how to get there depends on how much time travelers have in Argentina and the itinerary.
The fastest way to get to Ushuaia is by plane, and there're direct flights from some cities in Argentina. Buenos Aires has the most significant number of options, but it also depends on the season, and the journey takes approximately 3.5 hours. Aerolineas Argentinas and Latam operate the flights.
Travelers exploring other spots in the country can also catch flights in Córdoba, El Calafate, or Rio Gallegos, most of them run by Aerolineas Argentinas. There's no public transportation at the Ushuaia airport, but travelers catch a taxi or book a transfer in advance.
It's possible to start the journey in Alaska and drive through the Pan America highway until Ushuaia, while those already in Argentina must travel 1,864 miles between Buenos Aires and Ushuaia. Still, the journey by car is filled with scenic views along the way, going through Mendoza, the pampas, and Patagonia.
Travelers need to catch a ferry from the Chilean territory to cross the Strait of Magellan, which takes approximately 390 minutes. After that, there is a short drive to Ushuaia.
This is the longest way to get to Ushuaia, and travelers can create an itinerary to see other cities in Argentina. As no buses go directly from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia, tourists must catch a bus until Rio Gallegos, which takes approximately 36 hours. There, they can go on a second bus to Ushuaia, and the travel lasts eight hours.
The Best Time To Visit Ushuaia
The best time to visit Ushuaia depends on what travelers are expecting to see. Book guides often recommend visiting it during the Argentinean summer, between December and February, but it doesn't mean visitors can expect warm days. The weather in Ushuaia is often cloudy and windy, and the warmest month is January when temperatures reach up to 50°F (10°C).
Travelers who want to see the famous penguins in Ushuaia should plan their trip between November and February. The winter is between June and August, and it's also the best period for those planning to visit the ski resorts.
Things To Do In Ushuaia
Getting to Ushuaia demands some planning, but it's worth the journey, as travelers can find a range of activities year-round. To explore the region, staying at least three days in Ushuaia is recommended, but those who decide to stay one week won't feel bored.
Boat Trip At The Beagle Channel
The Beagle Channel separates the Chilean and Argentian territory, and there are several boat tours in Ushuaia to explore it. The trips will always include the lighthouse Les Eclaireurs and two famous islands in the region, but there are different types of tours. The shortest one is a two-hour boat trip that covers the main attractions.
Yet, travelers can choose other tours, including seeing the penguins at Martillo Island and exploring the rural area.
See The Penguins
The best time to see penguins in Ushuaia is between November and February when they travel to the region to reproduce. The best way to watch them is to catch a day tour to Martillo Island, where visitors can walk on the island for nearly one hour, and this is the highlight of traveling to Ushuaia. What makes it more remarkable is that there are different species of penguins on the island. The guide will explain more about the animals and the region.
Tierra del Fuego National Park
Travelers can explore the Patagonian landscape at the Tierra del Fuego National Park, a large area with rivers, lakes, mountains, forests, glaciers, and unique wildlife. The place is home to guanacos (animals similar to llamas), penguins, and sea lions. It's the perfect place to go on hiking or book a tent on their campsites.
Train To The End Of The World
The Train of Ushuaia was originally built to bring timber to the prison in the city, but it has now become one of the most popular touristic attractions. The train leaves five times daily, and there's a bilingual guide explaining more about the Ushuai's history and landscape. It's an exciting tour to do with children.
Stay In A Ski Resort
Between June and October, Ushuaia becomes popular among skiers that come all over the world. They often stay at Cerro Castor, a ski resort with 33 market trails. The trails feature different difficulty levels, and there's also the option of going on a guided tour. Argentina also has other destinations famous among skiers, like Bariloche.
The Ushuaia is filled with incredible lagoons, including the Lago Escondido and Lago Fagnano. Yet, Esmeralda Lagoon is probably the most beautiful of them. The emerald waters of this lagoon come from glaciers, and a forest and mountains surround it, creating the most peaceful spot in the region. Those who want to see it from another angle can book a helicopter tour.