There's no better feeling than reaching the end of the road and having the end of the road be well worth the journey to get there. Nestled between snow-capped mountains and the shores of the legendary Beagle Channel lies Ushuaia, a gritty port city filled with history and outdoor adventures. Ushuaia has a turbulent past but over the past five years, with an increase in tourism, it has turned itself into a destination for every type of traveler. 5 star hotels, world class restaurants, and easy access from El Calafate and Buenos Aires ensure that its star will only continue to rise. Check out a few reasons we think you should check out the end of the world below.
1. Natural Beauty. Home to Tierra del Fuego National Park, the Beagle Channel, and colorful peat bogs Ushuaia is a nature lovers paradise. The National Park offers miles of hiking among native orchids and nirre forests and you can trek to a glacier in just 30 minutes, starting from town. The Beagle Channel offers water lovers the chance to explore a huge variety of marine species from penguins to sea lions to birds from motor boats, kayaks, even canoes! The best part? It's far less crowded than its neighbor, El Calafate, to the North.
2. Centolla (King Crab). King Crab sets the bar for food in Ushuaia. The cold waters of the Beagle Channel are prime habitat for this giant, spike-covered crustacean. Fishing King Crab is big business in Ushuaia but catching them is no easy feat so they sell for a pretty penny. The majority of the crab is shipped all around the continent and world. There's nothing better than cracking into a King Crab that was caught just hours ago and there are any number of restaurants that can help you out with this (see our recommendations below). If you're feeling adventurous, ask us about our crab fishing excursion where you catch, cook, and eat king crabs with your own 2 hands. Talk about farm to table!
3. Penguins (and other wildlife too). These well-dressed birds and their quirky personalities never get old. Martillo is an island that is has resident magellanic and gentoo penguin colonies, as well as the occasional rogue King penguin. This is one of the few places in the world where you can see two, and sometimes three, different species of penguins in one place! Reached either by boat via the beagle Channel or by Estancia Harberton, walking with the penguins of Martillo Island is not to be missed. Expect to see a multitude of other wildlife in the channel as well, from sea lion colonies to eagles to orcas – if you're lucky.
4. Outdoor Adventure. Ushuaia is Patagonia in a nutshell. Tierra del Fuego has the same epic vistas that Patagonia offers but with less people and more wildlife. You can explore the National Park on foot or by canoe, take a Land Rover Defender into the wilds of undiscovered Tierra del Fuego, kayak the Beagle Channel, or explore an old shipwreck at San Pablo. HeliUshuaia also offers exhilarating flights over the glaciers, through lagoons tucked away in far flung valleys, and above the inhospitable Mitre peninsula.
5. End of the Road. This is it. There's a sign. You've made it. Some photo ops are worth it.
What about Cape Horn? Cape Horn is perhaps the most notorious place for mariners in all the world. There are countless legends of its dangerous waters and powerful seas. There is no easy way to get to Cape Horn but one option is a 4 day cruise via the Australis. Weather permitting, the Australis allows travelers to land on the island via zodiac and walk the path to the Cape Horn Monument.
Where to Stay? From quaint B&Bs nestled in residential neighborhoods to a sustainable 5* hotel that resembles a fortress on the hill, Ushuaia has a wide variety of hotel options for every taste
Los Cauquenes is set on the shores of the Beagle Channel in Tierra del Fuego with beach front access and stunning views of the snow-covered peaks of the Andes Mountain Range. The hotel is built in traditional southern Argentine architectural style with the use of lenga wood and stone. Inside, the 54 rooms and suites have large windows that frame vistas of the channel or the Andes. The lodge is located in a peaceful and quaint neighborhood 7km from town. They have hourly shuttles into town and also offer a swimming pool, outdoor jacuzzi, spa, and restaurant on site. Make sure you have time to relax in the winter garden space, a glass room that overlooks the Beagle.
Tierra de Leyendas
Run by a well-traveled husband and wife team from the Buenos Aires hotel scene, Tierra de Leyendas is widely considered one of the best (and least well-known) boutique hotels in all of Argentina. An open-plan ground floor invites guest interaction in a quirky lounge space filled with international coins, driftwood, and other memorabilia the couple has collected in their travels. The five rooms are named after local fables and indigenous artifacts and the delectable breakfast every morning begins with local history. Sheepskin throws, comfortable elegance, and the surrounding mountains and water on the outskirts of Ushuaia make for a very Patagonia feel. Be sure to have dinner here – the cuisine is excellent and only guests of the hotel can dine here.
Set on an outcrop high above the city, inside the Nature Reserve Cerro Alarken, Arakur is a dominant feature in Ushuaia. The resort is designed according to the standards of sustainable architecture and each of the 117 rooms and suites are decorated using indigenous Argentine materials, such as copper, marble, stone, wood, and leather. Located 800 ft above sea level, all of the contemporary rooms have large panoramic views: to the south, the Beagle Channel and Ushuaia city; to the north, valleys, mountains and the Natural Reserve. The hotel has hourly transfers to and from the city and also features a swimming pool, outdoor hot tubs overlooking the channel, fitness center, restaurant, and access to hiking trails in Cerro Alarken right outside your door.
Ushuaia is perhaps best well known as the launching port for trips to Antarctica. Many people fly in, stay one night, and board their ship headed South the next day. Do yourself a favor and spend a little more time discovering the end of the world and all it has to offer. It's not every day you're at the southernmost city in the world!
Interested in trips to Ushuaia? Give us a call at 800-345-4453.