Travel Guides

Ushuaia | Adventure Destination Guide

Here's some things to know if you're planning a trip to the southernmost city in the world

If you can visit Ushuaia, in Argentina, without once quietly humming the REM song “It’s the End of the World as We Know It (And I Feel Fine)” to yourself well then… fair play. You’ve done well. Why exactly? Well, because the city, one widely regarded as the southernmost city in the world, literally carries the nickname “End of the World.”

Does the paragraph above feel like a slightly forced intro? Hmmm. Quite possibly. Feels like we’ve gone fishing for a joke that maybe isn’t there to be quite honest. Let’s move on quickly shall we and discuss everything you need to know about Ushuaia. It’s located on the Tierra del Fuego archipelago, didn’t you know?

Pictured: Ushuaia, at night. Photo: Leonardo Spencer

How To Get There

Cards on the table time. From the UK, Ushuaia isn’t exactly the easiest place in the world to get to. From London, for example, you’re probably going to have to fly to Madrid first, then get a connecting flight to Buenos Aires, and then, from there, get another flight to Ushuaia airport (the airport also receives flights from Santiago in Chile).

If you’re feeling adventurous, got a bit of time on your hand, and fancy going on the mother of all road trips, the drive from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia is over 3,000km long and requires 37 hours of drive time.

Things To Do In Ushuaia

Pictured: Laguna Esmeralda. Photo: Mauro Alanda

The first thing you should know about Ushuaia, in case you hadn’t realised, is that it’s in Patagonia. The second thing you should know about Ushuaia, and this should go without saying now you know where it’s situated, is that it’s situated in amongst some of the planet’s most spectacular outdoor terrain.

OK. First up while in Ushuaia, and this really is in no particular order, be sure to pay a visit to Laguna Esmeralda. It will almost definitely be one of the prettiest lagoons you’ve ever had the privilege of trekking to and from. It’s flanked by the mighty Albino Glacier and the peaks of Las Torres and Cordón Toribio, and is located about 20km from Ushuaia.

“It’s flanked by the mighty Albino Glacier and the peaks of Las Torres and Cordón Toribio”

The starting point of the Laguna Esmeralda trail is in Valle de Los Lobos, roughly 17km east of Ushuaia, along Ruta 3. There’s a small parking lot, and it’s clearly signposted. You can’t miss it.

It’s not a strenuous trek by any stretch. In fact, it’s a relatively short one and doesn’t really serve up much of an ascent. The scenery on it though will blow you away and, most likely, cause your Instagram to crash under the sudden surge of likes and follows you’ll be getting.

Quick word of warning regarding the Laguna Esmeralda trail. After you’ve gone through the lenga forest you’ll come to very muddy, peat moss, section. Be sure to have appropriate footwear on your feet at this point.

Pictured: Martillo Island. Photo: David González Rebollo

Located just a few kilometres from the city is the Martial Glacier hike. A great option for the travelling trekkers, it’s a walk that serves up unforgettable views of the city, mountains, and Beagle Channel. You can get a taxi to the trailhead or walk there from town (it takes about 40 minutes). After that, it’s up to you whether you want to do the moderately challenging or more difficult hiking route up.

Another excellent reason to travel to Ushuaia is the fact it gives you the chance to hang out with a load of penguins on Martillo Island (aka Isla Martillo). For an experience such as this, book yourself on a tour with a company like Viator.  Definitely one for wildlife lovers, and people who fancy themselves as the next Sir David Attenborough.

As we’ve said already, there’s so many good reasons to visit Ushuaia. One potential curveball that we’re keen to check in the mix, and something we think might just inspire you to sort out a visit, is the Cerro Castor Ski Resort. Situated approximately 26km from Ushuaia, it’s known for having one of the longest ski seasons in South America. Modern lifts, priceless views, decent infrastructure, off-piste opportunities – it’s all here, and then some.

Pictured: View back down to Ushuaia, from the Martial Glacier hike

Where To Stay

With Ushuaia, and Patagonia in general, being very much a backpacker’s destination you won’t be surprised to discover that there’s some decent hostel options about for people travelling on a budget.

The best, and probably because of this – most popular, hostel in Ushuaia is the highly rated, super cosy, Antarctica Hostel. You can get a bed here for about £30 a night. Some other good hostels in Ushuaia are the Hostel Cruz del Sur (£26 a night), and La Posta Hostel Apart Ushuaia (£19 a night, slightly less convenient part of town).

Eating and Drinking

Even if you’re not an out and out foodie, the best restaurants in Ushuaia list is a pretty impressive one. Seafood lovers, for example, be sure to check out Volver and its tasty king crab offering. The locals love this place which, let’s face it, is usually a good sign.

Those after a taste of Argentina, should get themselves to María Lola Restó. The locals love this place for its mouthwatering food, excellent service, and massive portions. Alternatively, if some authentic Patagonian fare is what you’re after go and find yourself a table at Bodegón Fueguino – a century-old Fuegian home, with sheepskin-clad benches, that serves delicious picadas (shared appetizer plates).

For more of a pub grub vibe, and log-cabin-style aesthetic, head on to Küar Resto Bar. This cool hangout does local beer (yum), cheese boards (yum), and tapas (also yum). They also do fresh seafood. Get here before sunset as the views over the water are meant to be stunning.

Check out our other adventure travel destinations for 2020.

This destination guide was brought to you in association with outdoor fashion retailer Blackleaf.

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