Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego (Argentina)

Ushuaia brands itself as the “fin del mundo,” which directly translated is the “end of the world” though “world’s end” is probably a better translation. (Who wants to see the end of the world?) Ushuaia is basically the southernmost town in the world which is permanently settled (there is another small town in Chile but it gets no credit, and is likely not as pretty:)

When you are in Ushuaia you are 3x closer to Antarctica than Buenos Aires according to our guide one day (didn’t do the math) but regardless it’s far! Look at a globe and the rest of southern most points (South Africa, NZ) aren’t even close.

Over the years it has become a major cruise port thanks to increased interest /availability of Antarctica cruises. As such (and the many tax benefits to locals for living there) it is a bit of a boomtown. I was there in ‘98 and it was tiny – something like 25-30k people. Today it’s approaching 100k!

There are still gorgeous mountains all around (literally all around) and the Beagle Channel is still lovely too. Just more people everywhere! We were there in the earliest days of high season, so the “summer” activities were open but not so many people to be bothered by it.

We stayed in a lovely apartment walking distance to everything in town. We chose it as it had an incredible view of the harbor. Steve loved watching all the ships come in and out:)

Nate doing some school work. There was a table he elected not to use just then.

One of our main activities was a 1/2 day trip to the national park including the “fin del mundo” train. It was cloudy, but still quite pretty. The train had a historical audio track to listen to which told about the original settlement and early days of the town as a penal colony. Sounded terrible! A frozen Alcatraz (bigger island though!) a month’s journey from home. (Most argentines live in and around Buenos Aires which was a 1-month boat ride away). The “lucky” prisoners got to chop wood all day in all conditions. The others couldn’t leave their dark, freezing and dank cells. The park itself is almost all protected areas so limited things to see all on the one road.

End of the Pan American Highway

More end of the road signs- note it shows the Malvinas (Falklands) as part of this province. The world (including the folks who live there) beg to disagree. You do not do that in Argentina though!!
Bay at the national park

Another day we took a 3 hour cruise in the Beagle Channel. (Kids are still a little down on boats, but this stayed in the channel and we intentionally picked a calm day). We saw some beautiful coastlines, sea lions (the males were HUGE) and cormorants. We really lucked out to have blue sky.

The boat- we got to take a very short walk to a scenic lookout on an island…
Many many cormorants
Sea lions with lighthouse in distance

For the record there is not much of Halloween in Ushuaia. We ate at the Hard Rock Cafe* (yes really) to see if they’d have decorations or themed things, but alas no. There was another one at the Buenos Aires airport (yes really) that was decorated so we thought they all would be. Apparently not. We did see a kid dressed up on the street, but not much else. Our kids didn’t seem to mind. We bought them some Skittles and they were seemingly content with that! We also had a big asado dinner again which they were pleased by.

*random factoid: apparently the Seminole tribe of FL own all the Hard Rock Cafes now. (Per menu in Ushuaia!)

3 replies on “Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego (Argentina)”

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