Argentina

Ushuaia Travel Guide

You have reached the southernmost tip of land in the world… yes, you read well. Tierra del Fuego is the last province of Patagonia and one of the last stops before Antarctica, the white continent. Between shag mountains and the historic Beagle Channel nested Ushuaia, is its capital city. This guide is your first step to explore the attraction and learn about the things to do in Ushuaia.

Tierra del Fuego it’s in fact a huge island, it’s detached from the continent by the famous Magellan Strait, the main natural cross path between the Pacific and the Atlantic Ocean, discovered by the Portugueese Fernando de Magallanes in 1520. Ushuaia sits at the south of the island and at the shore of the Beagle Channel. When Europeans set foot on the islands, marveled by the many fires made by the inhabitants of the region, the Yamanas, a community of superb fishermen and sailors. They were the first explorers of the archipelago divided between the Argentininan and Chilean Patagonia, the first to navigate through the channel and lakes in their canoes.

Today, in Ushuaia, there are museums dedicated to the story of the yamanas, and tours to visit remains of some former settlements. Ushuaia, founded as an Anglican mission and then known to feature the most southern Prison in Argentina, focus on tourism as its main activity. Every year is visited by travelers seeking to discover the amazing nature and wildlife of Patagonia. 

Attractions

Tierra del Fuego National Park & the End of the World Train

Tierra del Fuego National Park definitely is THE highlight near Ushuaia. Experience the unique and impressive landscapes of Tierra del Fuego by vehicle and also on foot, hiking on easy to moderate trails through the dense green forest with the insight and support of an expert guide.

 

You can also take a ride through the park on the famous End of the World Train. Established to carry prisoners to labor camps, the train is an interesting historical addition to your visit to the park. Experience the same journey that prisoners were forced to do decades ago while taking in the incredible Fueguian landscape.

 

National Park Entrance Fee: USD 10.- per person 

Beagle Channel Cruise

You can visit the Beagle Channel just by walking downtown to Ushuaia’s Bay. But if you want to experience the natural wonders of the famous channel where Charles Darwin made his first observations on geology and flora which will then lead to his theory of the species, you can embark on a boat excursion to reach the iconic ‘Les Eclaireurs’ lighthouse, having great views of the Ushuaia Bay and passing by different islands with several colonies of extraordinary birds and marine fauna like penguins and four seals.

Museo Marítimo y del Presidio de Ushuaia

The Museo Maritimo y del Presidio de Ushuaia is one of the most recommended and most complete visits within the city. It is located in the old building of the Ushuaia prison and within its 5 pavilions we can find 4 museums with different themes: the Maritime Museum, the Museum of the Presidio, the Museum of Marine Art and the Antarctic Museum of Ushuaia.

Address: Yaganes and Gobernador Paz, Ushuaia.
Days and times: March to December from 10am to 8pm; January and February from 9am to 8pm. Access to the museum until 7:30 p.m.
Price: USD17 (ARS1,300) (Valid for 2 consecutive days, with the stamp of the Entrance Desk and the document number).

La Cabaña Casa de Té en el Cerro Martial

Cerro Martial offers impressive panoramic views of Ushuaia and the Beagle Channel. To visit it, you must reach the base of this mountain by taxi or walking (although it is easier to go by taxi and walk back). Once there, you can make a stop at the tea house at the base of the chairlift, and try their delicious scones or cakes. Formerly the chairlift also worked and it was possible to ascend a few more meters, but for some years it has been closed.

Address: Luis Fernando Martial 3560
Days and times: Monday to Sunday from 09:00 to 20:00.
Price: According to consumption

Laguna Esmeralda

About 20 km from the city of Ushuaia, along Route 3, a 4-hour walk begins (round trip), which reaches the Esmeralda Lagoon. As its name implies, it is a lagoon with a spectacular emerald green color sandwiched between mountains. In winter, although the walk is harder, the lagoon freezes completely and you can walk on top of it.

On the tour we can observe the effects of the introduction of the beaver in Tierra del Fuego, how the construction of their reservoirs affects forests and rivers. After the lagoon, you can continue ascending until you reach the El Albino glacier, but we recommend doing this climb with a guide.

Address: RN3 km 3040
Days and times: Open every day. Visit at a reasonable time.
Price: Free

Bicycle ride

About two blocks from the main square you can rent bicycles for a good price. The route from the city center to the National Park has incredible views and is not a difficult path. You can also take route 3, to the side of Lake Fagnano or just take a walk through the port.

Address: San Martín 830
Days and times: Monday to Friday from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m., Saturday from 10:00 a.m. to 1:00 p.m., Sunday closed.
Price: Depends on the rental.

Midnight in Ushuaia

On a calm and not windy night you can go to the Costanera (street parallel to the Beagle Channel) and walk towards the Ushuaia Aeroclub. It is a dirt road, and there are always people exercising or running. You will find the best views on the other side of the street, with Ushuaia in front of you and the reflection of the buildings and mountains in the water.

Address: Av. Prefectura Naval, Ushuaia.
Days and times: Open every day at all hours.
Price: Free.

Eating & Drinking

María Lola Restó

Gobernador Deloqui 1048 – Tel. (02901) 421185.
Meat / Fish

In María Lola Restó its fish, salads and meats stand out. Whichever dish you choose, none of them will disappoint you. All their dishes are very well prepared and presented. The dessert -for sharing- “Copa María Lola” is an incredible stimulus for the senses. Average price, good service, and amazing views.

Tante Sara

San Martín 175 – Tel. (02901) 433710.
Pastry

Although Tante Sara stands out for its pastry and confectionery, it serves dishes throughout the day, from breakfast to dinner. Their service is fast and their milanesas are very tasty, as well as burgers, cakes and coffee.

Kaupe

Roca 470 – Tel. (02901) 422704.
Fish / Meat

Although it is a bit more expensive than the rest, it is worth every peso. They even have an option to taste the entire menu, which includes a small version of everything offered on the menu.

Ramos Generales

Maipú 749 – Tel. (02901) 424317.
Regional

Ramos Generales is the perfect place for a hot chocolate after sailing through the seas at the end of the world. It’s a mix of things: on the one hand, a bakery with fresh produce, as well as a creative tapas bar and a great wine cellar with an incredible selection of wines. All of these condiments make it a favorite, even for locals.

Placeres Patagónicos

Governor Deloqui 289 – Tel. (02901) 433798.
Regional

And if we talk about locals’ favorites, Placeres Patagónicos would top the list. They offer smoked meat (including venison), craft beer, and homemade breads and cheeses. Although they sometimes turn on the television, the place is ideal to go with a friend, save some money and have a relaxing evening.

Un Lugar

Governor Deloqui 415 – Tel. (02902) 422049.
Pizza shop

It is nothing more and nothing less than the best pizzeria in the entire province of Tierra del Fuego. With which, if you are in Ushuaia and you have a craving for pizza, this is where you should go.

Dublin Pub

July 9 150 – Tel. (02901) 430744.
Brewery / Bar

It sounds so bad to go to an Irish bar in Argentina! But this is the most popular bar in the city and the one that is open all year round. Don’t forget to try the locally produced Beagle beer.

El Bodegón Fueguino

San Martín 859 – Tel. (02901) 431972.
Regional

A charming still life whose specialties are picadas, lamb and sea dishes. It offers a warm atmosphere and is very close to the city. Also, as a good still life, their dishes are moderately priced.

Kuar

Perito Moreno 2232 – Tel. (02901) 437396.
Gourmet

Kuar is a 10-minute taxi ride from the city of Ushuaia. It is located on the sea and offers spectacular views of the Beagle Channel. It is a slightly more expensive option than the previous ones, but its cozy atmosphere and the quality and presentation of its dishes make it worth a visit. The spider crab is highly recommended.

The Cravia

Heroes de Malvinas 2617 – Tel (02901) 442900
Gourmet

There are restaurants that stand out for their dishes, others for their vibe and others for their location. Without a doubt, if we had to choose one feature that stands out from La Cravia it would be its enviable location within the Hotel Arakur. It is 800 meters high and offers incredible views of the city. In addition, its menu of food and wine accompany the experience.

Tips & Advice

How many days should I stay in Ushuaia?

We recommend at least 2 nights. This will give you enough time to make a navigation in the Beagle Channel and a full day exploration. 

 

Best time to visit Ushuaia

Whenever the time of the year you’re planning to visit Ushuaia, be prepared for unpredictable and windy weather. There can be drastic changes in temperatures from one day to the next, or even on the same day. 

Ushuaia has activities for the whole year. The climate in summer is more pleasant for walks in nature, but in winter you can ski, enjoy the sleds pulled by dogs or the walks with rackets in the snow.  

To enjoy warm temperatures, the best time to visit Ushuaia is January  with average temperatures of 10º, and there is sunlight 17 hours a day. The coldest time of the year is in July, where the average temperature is 1º, and there is only 7 hours of sunlight per day. The snow season is between June and October.

How to get to Ushuaia?

  • Flight: Throughout the year there are direct flights to Ushuaia from the city of Buenos Aires, with an approximate duration of 3 and a half hours. Another direct route, with weekly frequency, leaves from the city of Córdoba to Ushuaia, and also from El Calafate. As for flights with stopovers, it is possible to make connections from the towns of Trelew, Bariloche and Río Gallegos. These flights are operated by the Aerolineas Argentinas company and arrive at the “Malvinas Argentinas” International Airport, located about 5 kilometers from the center of Ushuaia.
  • Self-drive: You can drive to Río Gallegos,close to the Chilean border,  by taking the NR 3 or the NR 40 in Argentina. Once you go through customs, you’ll continue to the ferry crossing in Chile (around 30 min), and then hit the road again to get to the Argentinian frontier and San Sebastían. From here, drive about 300 km and reach Ushuaia.  
  • Bus: It is very common to connect Ushuaia to Puerto Arenas bi bus. This is a direct bus that takes 12 hours and the landscapes are very nice. 

To reach Ushuaia by bus from Buenos Aires you have to travel first to Río Gallegos, which will take you around 30 h, and there change buses to continue the journey. This is our less recommended option. 

  • Train: There is no train service for Ushuaia.

 

Can I find ATMs in Ushuaia?

 

ATMs are located in banks, most of them, but are open 24hs. Each bank has a different fee that will charge you to use their system, plus your bank fee. We recommend bringing a couple of US dollars and exchanging them, so you have some cash to move around and then pay with Credit cards or use an ATM whenever you run out of money.

Exchange money and using CC

 

In Ushuaia, credit cards and US dollars are widely accepted. However, we recommend exchanging pesos rather than using US dollars because the rate that shops or restaurants use might not be the most convenient for you. 

What is the proper tipping?

 

In restaurants, it’s customary to tip about 10% of the bill. Note that tips can’t be added to credit-card bills, so carry cash for this purpose. Estimate around USD 10/15 per person for the guide, for a full day tour and half of it for the driver. In hotels, you should tip porters for handling bags (calculate an amount of currency equal to about $1.00 for every two bags, same amount is calculated for drivers if they help you with your suitcases), the housekeeping (between US$0.50 – $1.00 per night), and the concierge staff if you have used them to arrange dinner reservations, transportation or leisure activities. In Argentina we don’t regularly tip taxi drivers.

How much money can I spend per day in Ushuaia?

We estimate around USD 50/100 per day, per person for daily expenses like eating, shopping and transportation, depending on how much money you want to spend on these.

When can I see penguins in Ushuaia?

The penguins arrive in October and stay until the end of March every year. 

What to include in your luggage

Given that the weather is very changeable in Ushuaia, a good idea is to think of outfits in “layers”. Whether you are going to Tierra del Fuego National Park or if you are just going to walk through the center, it would be good if you are prepared for strong winds and temperature changes. 

  • Pack comfortable shoes, trekking shoes if possible (and socks an extra pair just in case they get wet), a windbreaker and / or a waterproof jacket, and thermal clothing. 
  • In the winter, you will want to bring warmer clothing to stay warm during activities (warm fleece or polar, t-Shirt and long – sleeved shirts, specially for the mornings, warm hat).
  • Also don’t forget to bring your sunscreen since, in summer, with 17 hours of sun a day, you will need it a lot, and sunglasses. 
  • Other useful items: Waterproof trousers and a daypack for daily excursions and walks.

Tickets to Tierra del Fuego National Park

Remember that tickets to all national parks in the country are paid in Argentine pesos and are not included in the tours. As credit cards are not accepted, we recommend that you always carry change in local currency.

The entrance to Tierra del Fuego National Park costs USD 10.-, the Ushuaia airport tax is USD 4 and the port tax is USD 5.

Where to go for a run in Ushuaia?

Local runners frequent three areas: on the one hand, there are those who prefer to run around the Ushuaia International Airport, on the other, those who escape to Playa Larga to run by the sea and those who also prefer to run with a beautiful view but they don’t go that far and stay training at La Costanera.

Where to meditate?

To meditate in Ushuaia you have two options: on the one hand, meditate in nature and, on the other, pay for a class at a local yoga center.

If you are interested in attending a class, the Samadhi Yoga center offers classes for all those who want to work body, mind and spirit. To book the class, you must contact by phone at (02901) 15458165

For those who prefer to meditate in nature, we recommend doing it on the quiet shores of Lake Acigami. This place is located less than 10 minutes from the city center and invites you to listen to nature and its surroundings.

Finally, an hour by car, you will find the magnitude of the shores of Lake Fagnano. Walking its shores, listening to the sound of the waves and the silence are also the perfect setting for a good meditation.

Where to watch the sunset in Ushuaia?

The sunset, in Ushuaia, sets behind the mountains. However, there are two places that allow you to enjoy this beautiful show. On the one hand, Playa Larga, to the east of the city, offers incredible views of this show of nature. Without a doubt, if you go to Playa Larga you will see a beautiful sunset. On the other hand, from the famous Hotel Arakur (located 800 meters high) you can also see beautiful sunsets.

Other Tours you may like

Sustainability

Local businesses

  • Mercado del Jardín

 

Inside the Mercado del Jardín you will find different venues of entrepreneurs and local producers. From gastronomy, books and decoration to technology, wines and art. All that and much more on this shopping trip.

 

Address: Av. San Martín 638

 

  • Paseo de Artesanos

 

Metals, silverware, textiles, wood, ceramics, paint, leather and much more. On this tour you will get to know the only artisan fair in Ushuaia, with the most varied and attractive diversity of genuine productions made by local artisans.

 

Address: Av. Maipú and 25 de Mayo

 

Who to meet

  • Renata Rafalak – Tierra del Fuego Aboriginal Mask Artist

It is inspired by the initiation ceremony performed by the Shelk’nam, in which they wore masks representing different mythological spirits. They are made of lenga tree bark, on which he paints with three basic colors: white, black and terracotta.

Address: Piedrabuena 51

Phone: +54 02901 435386

  • Susana and Luciana from Auras del Sur – Aboriginal Pottery

In love with the various aboriginal techniques, they are dedicated to the modeling of clay by hand and around. The pieces are burnished with agate stone and cooked with firewood from the region (dry lenga). If you visit his workshop you will be able to enjoy the clay modeling your own pot.

Address: Kuanip 1900

Phone: +54 02 901 44-4691

How to help

  • El Rinconcito del Fin del Mundo

This NGO carries out containment, recreation, sports and health promotion activities. Through these activities it assists and contains more than 180 people from the sector. Chicas, a quien le toque, podemos buscar alguna web o mail o teléfono?

  • Yes Ushuaia

An NGO whose main objective is to promote the social inclusion of the most vulnerable sectors of Argentina, in this case, Ushuaia. The work is carried out by a large number of volunteers using a comprehensive approach that includes assistance, support, training, education and the culture of work.

Email: ushuaia@fundacionsi.org.ar

Sustainability tips

  • Take your reusable bag with you when you go shopping.
  • Choose the consumption of local products from artisans and small producers.
  • Travel the city by bike or on foot, it is healthy and does not leave a carbon footprint.
  • When you go on an excursion, ask for food without plastic wrap.
  • Don’t leave trash in nature.
  • Take a reusable bottle with you to carry water in restaurants.
  • Don’t feed native fauna.
  • Use rechargeable batteries and batteries.