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Ushuaia, Argentina

Situated on the Beagle Strait, Ushuaia is the largest city in Argentine Tierra del Fuego, and arguably the southernmost city in the world. In the past, the town has been a missionary base, penal colony and naval base for the Argentine navy. Ushuaia is now a major tourist town, complete with casinos and nice restaurants, and commonly used as a base for hiking, winter sports, and cruises to Antarctica.

Ushuaia is the capital of the Argentinian part of the Tierra del Fuego, the archipelago at the southern end of South America. The city has in the last decades transformed from a sleepy village to a lively tourist center, so you will not feel quite like you are at the end of the world. The scenic landscape around the city, with good outdoor sports including one of the southernmost winter sports resorts in the world complete with a view to the sea, make Ushuaia a place worth visiting.

The area

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Ushuaia, Argentina

Destination:
Situated on the Beagle Strait, Ushuaia is the largest city in Argentine Tierra del Fuego, and arguably the southernmost city in the world. In the past, the town has been a missionary base, penal colony and naval base for the Argentine navy. Ushuaia is now a major tourist town, complete with casinos and nice restaurants, and commonly used as a base for hiking, winter sports, and cruises to Antarctica.

Ushuaia is the capital of the Argentinian part of the Tierra del Fuego, the archipelago at the southern end of South America. The city has in the last decades transformed from a sleepy village to a lively tourist center, so you will not feel quite like you are at the end of the world. The scenic landscape around the city, with good outdoor sports including one of the southernmost winter sports resorts in the world complete with a view to the sea, make Ushuaia a place worth visiting.

The area

The city borders one of the southernmost legs of the Andes and has several urban centers. The mall is about 2 km long and stretches from the freight port past the Avenida Alem (National Road 3). East of downtown there is the industrial area, and the western side is dominated by residential buildings and the airport. Most hotels and resorts, particularly at the upper end of the price scale are on the road to the Martial Glacier.

History

Prior to the late 19th century, the land that is now called Ushuaia was inhabited entirely by Yámana people and a handful of missionaries. Due to outbreaks of typhus, pertussis, and measles, by 1911, the Yámana had effectively disappeared; as of 2007, there was allegedly one pure-blooded native-speaking Yámana left.

In the late 19th century, the Argentine government established a penal colony in Ushuaia intended for repeat offenders, serious criminals, and some political prisoners, following similar examples by the French and British. The prison population became forced colonists who spent most of their time chopping down the now-protected lenga trees, which they used to build the town. The prison was shut down in 1947, but it and the railway to the settlement have now become the Museo Maritimo and the Tren del Fin del Mundo respectively.

Today the town is growing fast as a result of increased tourism since the 2002 economic crash. The government has encouraged this growth by designating Tierra del Fuego a virtually tax-free zone to encourage people to settle; many of the inhabitants of today's Ushuaia come from Chaco, in the north of Argentina. The cost of living, however, is relatively high as all goods have to be transported long distances, usually by container ship.

Climate

Climate-wise, Ushuaia is warmer than many assume; although (arguably) the southernmost city in the world, it is no further south than Belfast is north, and temperatures rarely drop below -10°C. However, it is still cooler and more unstable than on the drier northern half of the island. In the summer, there are hardly any clear days: On most days there are sun, clouds and short rain showers, with temperatures around +15°C. The winters are somewhat clearer, with temperatures around -2°C and a lot of snow. The ski resorts have snow from May to early November. As in all of southern Argentina, strong winds add a significant wind chill factor.

If you plan to hike, you should have weatherproof clothing, and even if you are just visiting the city, you will need both a pullover and a jacket even in the summer months of January and February. In January, the city is full of domestic tourists (which means you should book your accommodation beforehand). There are fewer visitors from mid-February until the start of the ski season in June.

Tourist office

There are several tourist offices. Aside of the central one on the main street (currently closed, the nearest is in the port next to the 'end of the world' sign) there are smaller ones on the airport and the port.
  • Central Tourist Office, San Martín 674 (corner of Juana Fadul), ☎ +54 2901 424550, +54 2901 432001, fax: +54 2901 432000, e-mail: muniush@speedy.com.ar. free WiFi, toilets 

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Ushuaia, Argentina: Port Information


Your cruise ship will dock at the port of Ushuaia. Center of the city is a 10-minute walk from the port. 
Taxis are available. 

Get around Ushuaia, Argentina


There are city buses within Ushuaia, but they only reach a few of the tourist attractions. They are good to get to Playa Larga, for example, or from one part of the center to another, along the east/west axis.
Tours/transport to the main tourist attractions can be booked through the Tourist Office (on San Martin) or through many of the hostels. Regular minibuses leave for the National Park, Glaciar Martial, the trailhead of Laguna Esmeralda, or other places, from a parking lot at the corner of Maipu and Fadul.
Taxis are another option, to get from the city center to either the airport or Glaciar Martial. There are also several car/bicycle hire companies.

What to see in Ushuaia, Argentina


  • Museo Marítimo, Yagones y Gobernador Paz. Located in an old prison displays a collection of the history of Tierra del Fuego. Admission includes entry into the Presidio which is on the same site as el Museo Marítimo.
  • Presidio - Museum of the historical military prison of Ushuaia. One wing of the museum has been converted to an art gallery featuring the work of local artists. 
  • Museo del Fin del Mundo. Highlights include the largest exhibited collection of birds from Tierra del Fuego, the figurehead of the Duchess of Albany (a sunken vessel), and library dedicated to the history and nature of Tierra del Fuego. 
  • Estancia Harberton - Open only in the summer months, Estancia Harberton is a worthwhile trip for those interested in the Bridges family and their role in the local history. It is located about 40 miles East of Ushuaia on the Beagle Channel.
  • Mastil de General Belgrano - A remote area west of the city of Ushuaia on Isla Redonda, paying tribute to one of the founders of Argentina, and to the navy cruiser named after him which was sunk by the UK in the Falklands War. It was a stop on one of the televised Amazing Race contests and features a one-person post office for sending letters from the end of the world. Accessible by boat from Playa Larg.
  • Museo Mundo Yámana. Privately run museum with several dioramas of traditional Yaghan/Yámana life, origins and migrations, as well as displays of the period of early contact with Europeans. Located at 56 Rivadavia, near the Museo del Fin del Mundo. 

What to do in Ushuaia, Argentina


  • Martial Glacier.  Provided that you wear comfortable shoes and have the patience, a hike up the Glacier Martial will provide a very beautiful view of Ushuaia and the Beagle Chanel. 
  • Catamaran trips - Catamaran trips will take you around the Beagle channel and give you nice views of the mountains, cormorants, sea lions, and penguins.
  • Tierra del Fuego National Park - This national park provides some nice day hikes on well-marked trails. Longer treks are also possible, such as Paso de la Oveja (2 days) or the Sierra Valdivieso Circuit (4 days). These treks cross part of the national park but start and end elsewhere. The Compania de Guias de la Patagonia and Club Andino Ushuaia can help with organization and renting gear.
  • Cerro Castor - This center for winter sports offers skiing and snowboarding. Nearby, you can also ride snowcats or husky sleighs.
  • Kayak the Beagle Channel - Kayaks can be hired near the Aeroparque on the promontory jutting out from Ushuaia. 
  • Motonave Barracuda sail - ship trips will take you around the Beagle channel and give you nice views of the mountains, cormorants, sea lions, and penguins.
  • Ushuaia Golf Club - Located west of town just before the entrance to the National Park. Probably the southernmost golf course in the world.
  • Tren del Fin del Mundo - Located west of town just before the entrance to the National Park. A pleasant 45-minute train ride into the park on a narrow gauge railway rebuilt on part of the roadbed of the old logging train. 
  • Diving - Ushuaia Divers located in the AFASIN Yacht Club. 
  • Last Minute Antarctica Cruise with Freestyle Adventure Travel, Gobernador Paz 866 (Between 9 of Julio and Rosas), +54 (9) 2901-609792. Mon-Sat 9 am to 6 pm. If you are interested in Antarctica, Freestyle is a friendly & helpful agency with perfect English & good deals. Talk to Sarah for help on planning an Antarctic voyage. Located at bottom of a ramp on Gob Paz beside Alto Andino Hotel.  

What to eat and drink in Ushuaia, Argentina


Eat

Highlight are lamb, crabs and other seafood dishes. Most Ushuaia restaurants are centrally-located, clustered around San Martín and Maipú. The western part of the city offers affordable rotiserías (pre-made/fast food) with standard Argentine dishes such as pizza and empanadas.

Seafood and meat dishes are very typical, as fruit and vegetables have to be transported from thousands of kilometers away and, as such, are rarely tasty and rather expensive. Be sure to try the centolla (king crab).

Regarding restaurants: Las cotorras, Mostacho, Chichilo, Tante Sara, all located in the city center, and many others in the outskirts of the city. As to the chocolate houses: La Laguna Negra and El Turista, where you can enjoy a rich hot chocolate with various cakes of different flavors.
  • Altos Restó, Luis Fernando Martial 1441, +54-2901-422990 (restaurante@altosushuaia.com). from 07.00hs to 23.00hs. Owning some of the best views over the Beagle Channel and Ushuaia's bay, it is the perfect restaurant to enjoy a fantastic moment in this restaurant at any time of the day. It offers special international dishes and Patagonic specialties at mid-range prices. It is recommended to book a table in advance, particularly in specific festive dates.  
  • Kaupé, Roca 470, +54-2901-422704 (evivian@kaupe.com.ar, fax: +54-2901-422704). Expensive compared to other restaurants in Ushuaia, but the view is spectacular and the food is absolutely, positively guaranteed not to disappoint.  
  • Kuar, Perito Moreno 2232, (info@kuar.com.ar). A couple of kilometers outside town, right above the rocks by the sea, breathtaking bay views, and good live music scene, sophisticated and good but not outstanding and a bit pricey dining. If you don't mind the occasional dropping by of a bunch of gringos, be sure to book a table by the window in the restaurant area or to take a seat by the big wooden steps in the bar area.  
  • El Turco, San Martin 1440. Not a restaurant with a Turkish cuisine (if this is what you expect). Open from 12:00 - 15:00 and 20:00 - 24:00. Tasty meals with good price. Ordering takes some time because the place is always crowded but serving is fast (so no problem in the end). Nice staff. 5 minutes walk from the center.  
  • Un Lugar Empanadas, Gobernador Deloqui 415, 424687. Awesome empanadas.

Drink

  • Dublin Bar, on 9 de Julio, is popular with tourists.
  • Galway Bar, on San Martin, is another popular Irish pub although it usually has less atmosphere than Dublin.
  • Nautico, on Maipu, is Ushuaia's only real nightclub/disco and is open until 6 AM on the weekends.
  • Bodegon Fuegino, San Martin 859, 2901 431972. Locally-sourced, artisanal, home-cooked food. Tapas-style picadas recommended as sampling menu. Good wine selection.  
  • Bar Ideal (Irish Pub), San Martin 393, 0054(2901)437860. Nice, old, Irish pub with friendly staff. Open until 00:00.
  • Macario 1910 Pub, san martin 1485. Set in an old house, excellent food and ambient. Thursday's night women have free pizza and weekends DJs set the party up.
  • Küar, Perito Moreno 2232. A couple of kilometers outside town, right above the rocks by the sea, breathtaking bay views and good live music scene, sophisticated and good but not outstanding and somewhat pricey dining. If you don't mind the occasional dropping by of a bunch of gringos, be sure to book a table by the window in the restaurant area or to take a seat by the big wooden steps in the bar area.
  • Cafe Bar Banana, San Martín 273
  • Ushuaia Che, San Martín 452
  • Fusión, Perito Moreno 1530
  • Kaitek, Antartida Argentina 280. Club focusing on electronic music.

Shopping in Ushuaia, Argentina


The main shopping district of Ushuaia is near the waterfront, mostly on San Martín. There is a smaller center west of the city, north of the airport, where the locals mainly shop.

Prices in Ushuaia are higher than in central Argentina, but there is no sales tax (IVA). Furthermore, due to low tariffs on imports in Tierra del Fuego, imported goods (electronics) are a comparative bargain. There is a duty-free store on San Martín that sells perfume, alcohol, and cigarettes, but keep an eye on the prices as some items may be cheaper elsewhere.

While Antarctic travelers should arrive with proper gear already in their possession, quality winter gear including boots, coats, and other necessities — as well as souvenirs — can be purchased from a variety of shops.

There are also souvenir shops, such as La abuela Oma, La ultima Vita and Fin del Mundo.

The Paseo del Fuego Shopping Center is a largish modern shopping mall featuring a cineplex showing first-run movies in English and Spanish, providing an additional option for rainy-day activities.

Safety in Ushuaia, Argentina


Ushuaia and the region, in general, isn't entirely free of crime, but significantly safer than most of Argentina. There aren't any slums, and businesses seldom have bars installed in the front of their windows. Potential criminals from elsewhere would have a hard time getting out of Tierra del Fuego undetected, as the only ways out would be via the airport or Chilean territory.

There are no particular health risks in Ushuaia; the biggest threat would be catching a cold due to the varying weather conditions. But also note that especially in the summer and when trekking in the mountains, you should protect yourself from sunburn, as the ozone layer is relatively thin in this part of the world.

Language spoken in Ushuaia, Argentina


Spanish is the official language (de facto). However, there are at least 40 spoken languages in Argentina. English is widely spoken in tourist places. 

LOCAL TIME

6:32 pm
October 20, 2019
America/Argentina/Ushuaia

CURRENT WEATHER

9 °C / 48.2 °F
few clouds
Mon

4.92 °C/41 °F
scattered clouds
Tue

5.94 °C/43 °F
light rain
Wed

5.77 °C/42 °F
light rain
Thu

7.56 °C/46 °F
snow

LOCAL CURRENCY

ARS

1 USD = 0 ARS
1 EUR = 0 ARS
1 GBP = 0 ARS
1 AUD = 0 ARS
1 CAD = 0 ARS

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There are several thousands of rabbits per person... Author: Nikolkaya Source: nikolkaya.livejournal.com Translated by: Olesya Zhukova

Author: Nikolkaya Source: nikolkaya.livejournal.com Translated by: Olesya Zhukova
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