Things to do in Ushuaia: visiting the 10 main attractions
For decades the capital of Tierra del Fuego in Argentina, has been one of those places people add in their ‘to do list’ of once in a lifetime experiences. Its dreamy geography, picturesque history and the uniqueness of their people, makes Ushuaia an unforgettable place to ever go to. Very close to Antarctica, is well known for being the most southern city in the planet, a.k.a ‘the end of the world’. Even though we must confess that Puerto Williams in Chile is a little bit southern ;-).
In this article, we would like to share 10 things to do in Ushuaia that are at the top of the list of the traveler preferences.
1. Visiting Tierra del Fuego National Park.
Only 12 kilometers west to Ushuaia, more than 2000 thousands hectares of lakes, trees, mountains, wild animals, glaciers and ocean, awaits those who love trekking and nature. This national park is one of the biggest in the country and of the very few that have access to marine coast.
It gathers a little bit of all the ecosystems that exist in the island, and its home also to the southernmost train in the world (a short rail circuit used by ex-prisoners and that now is used with touristic purposes).
The park can be accessed by land, driving through the Nº3 national route and even by boat sailing on the waters of the Beagle Channel. Usually takes half a day to visit it, and there are different ways to do it. It’s definitively one of the things to do in Ushuaia that you shouldn’t miss.
2. Navigating on the Beagle Channel.
By far one of the most intriguing places in Patagonia, the Beagle Channel is one of the natural borders between Argentina and Chile, and joins both Atlantic and Pacific oceans. The Channel can be navigated through different tours that take visitors to Sea Lions and Penguins reservoirs, bird watching and also, to sail nearby the mythical Les Eclaireurs lighthouse.
From here, tourist can also embark on cruises that can take them around the area up to Punta Areas, in Chile. The most popular one takes 4 nights and 5 days, sailing through both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans around mountains, lakes, fjords, glaciers, and the Cape Horn.
3. Touring the Fagnano and Escondido lakes.
One of the other popular things to do in Ushuaia is to visit the Lakes Fagnano and Escondido. Touring these massive lakes, surrounded by lush vegetation, takes a full day and can be done throughout the year. The lakes are deep inside the island, it means that to reach them you cross part of the Andean Cordillera, with impressive views.
During the winter it’s possible to get a glimpse at the ever classic local dog boarding kennels and even enjoy a sleigh ride surfing the snow. While in the summer time, visitors can walk by the lake’s shore (or canoeing) and if the weather allows it, take their own lunch and improvise a picnic in the wilderness. One of the best ways to visit this area is in 4×4, since you can access hidden places with beautiful views.
4. Walking among penguins at Isla Martillo.
If you like the idea of being in touch with thousands of this tiny fellows ‘wearing their tuxedos’, then the Isla Martillo is your place to go. From October to March, during the summer in the southern hemisphere, over a thousands nests can be spotted in over 800 square meters of land.
More than 3,000 reproductive Magellanic Penguin couples arrive here every year, as well as a few Papua Penguins (very rare in South America). The tour can be done by foot, following a path that crosses through the terrain without harming or threatening the animals’ safety. To reach the Island, you can do it by taking a zodiac from Estancia Harberton (75 km away from Ushuaia, by land) or with a Catamaran that comes from Ushuaia.
5. Fishing and eating spider crab at Puerto Almanza.
Its being said that industries and new sources of work and income drive progress, and this town is a fair example. Puerto Almanza is the southernmost village in the entire country, where only less than a hundred people live. Almanza was born and sustains thanks to the Spider Crab fishing.
For those who are brave enough, some restaurants offer the possibility to join fishermen in the adventure of gathering the Spider Crabs themselves from the Beagle Channel, if the weather conditions are adequate. The chef will prepare a gourmet dish using the Crab gathered by the very own tourists.
6. Trekking to Laguna Esmeralda.
In English ‘Emerald lake’ gets its name thanks to the absolutely beautiful color of its green water. Surrounded by mountains and the overwhelming silence of the Andes, only 19 kilometers separates this dreamy spot from from Ushuaia.
Once here there’s a (approximately) 5 kilometers hiking road about 400 meters above sea level, where visitors can test their stamina. During the winter this massive lake is frozen allowing thrill seekers to walk right on it. It takes around 5 hours (return), and if you want to have a longer trek, you can reach Ojo del Albino Glacier, a very nice spot above the lagoon.
7. Driving to Cape San Pablo and Estancia Rolito.
About 200 kilometers north east from Ushuaia and by the shore near the Atlantic, a surreal landscape awaits for those who visit something different. Tours usually begin early in the morning and take bout 10 hours to complete.
On the way it is possible to visit the picturesque town of Tolhuin and stop for a typical Argentinean meal, only to move forward to a desolated landscape where a massive beached ship remains since decades: the Desdémona. Later on, in Estancia Rolito (an old Patagonian farm house), you can enjoy tea and cake as well as walking through a Lenga forest.
The crazy thing about this is that you cross the Andean Range from south to north (which is in the only part of the continent where it lies from west to east), seeing all kind of landscapes, starting from woods and mountains and ending in pampas and dry steppe.
8. Visiting Estancia Harberton, a particular Patagonian Ranch.
Is the oldest country house in Tierra del Fuego and can be accessed through land by car or navigating. Once here, not only an incredible house nestled in the wilderness of southern Patagonia awaits, but many activities as well.
A tea house and canteen, a local museum, a guided tour for history lovers, the possibility to visit Isla Martillo sailing from here and the always challenging Bridges Trail. This road was created by the Indians centuries ago and was the main way to connect Ushuaia with Río Grande. Today, adventure lovers join hiking or horse riding to recreate the odyssey.
9. Skiing on Cerro Castor: one of best things to do in Ushuaia during winter time.
Very exclusive accommodation facilities, almost 10 gastronomic spots with amazing views of Ushuaia and its surroundings but. But above all things, the Cerro Castor is by far the best ski center in Argentina well known for the quality of the mountain’s snow and of course, for being the ‘sky center at the end of the world’.
Only 26 kilometers away from the Ushuaia airport, a very safe a paved rout connect the ski center with the city. The location of the mountain and the snow temperature that oscillates between -5 and 5 Celsius degrees, makes this spot one of the favorite destination for professional ski teams (particularly to train when they don’t have snow in the northern hemisphere).
10. Doing winter sports at Valle de Tierra Mayor.
A valley right on at the feet of the Andes mountain range, surrounded by snow and glaciers. Close to Lago Fagnano and the Beagle Channel, this is one of the places that offers more things to do in Ushuaia during winter time. You also can see it when you visit Lakes Fagnano & Escondido.
Multiple tours, attractions and activities take place here, in this popular destination. During the winter it is possible to travel through this land on snowmobiles or hiking wearing the typical snow-shoes. The ‘White Adventure’ tour allows visitors to combine these activities with dog sledding.
Visit Ushuaia and Patagonia with Beyond BA LATAM
Besides what we have mentioned above, you can also fly in a helicopter to different areas having unforgettable views from the sky, go for hiking to some hidden places in the mountains, go for fishing, horseback riding…and even start from there your trip to Antarctica!
In Beyond BA LATAM we offer tours and experiences in Argentina and Chile, where we stand out in tailor-made vacations, designed around your interests and travel style. We invite you to take a look at some of our tours in Ushuaia and Patagonia, and to contact us in order to create the best trip for you. Get your backpack ready and sail away to the end of the world!