Ushuaia (days 6-9)
2.370 km from Buenos Aires
Travel agencies: Canal fun
If there’s a place that has always tickled my curiosity, it is Ushuaia – the end of the world
How does it feel knowing that in just 2 sailing days (depending on the weather conditions) you can be at the South Pole? And what about looking at the horizon and realizing that behind the mountain there will only be Antarctic ice?
That’s what you’re going to experience once in Ushuaia.
You can reach the city by flying to the city airport, by car (follow the Ruta 3, then take a boat from Punta Arena to Porvenir and cross the isla grande de la tierra del fuego to Ushuaia), or by boat if you’re sailing between Chile and Argentina.
Not only is it the most southerly city in the world (Chile’s Puerto Williams is actually further south, but hardly qualifies as a city), but it is also the only Argentine city in reverse: the only on the left side of the Andes!
You can visit the province with a car on your own, but there are several hidden places that are really worth a visit that cannot be reached without a guide.
These are my Ushuaia best choices and as usual you can find my other reviews on Tripadvisor:
(full day excursion)
This trip needs a 4×4 car and expertise on driving on the water! Eventually you can just drive to the lakes on the regular road, but you will miss a great experience and lots of amazing hidden places.
The first stop is at Passo Garibaldi a viewpoint where you can look at Escondido lake with all its beauty!
After a brief unpaved path you’ll reach the Hosteria Petrel where, according to the excursion, will start the canoeing of part of the lake. They provide you everything, from canoes to outfit: boots, waterproof pants and life jackets! Dressed up a bit ridiculously, we were in four in our canoe, with a very kind couple from New York. Getting along with the team is essential while canoeing!
Jump again on the jeep to go toward the Fagnano lake, along the lake side (not always out of the water) and the moldy forest!
Lake Fagnano is one of the largest in the world, and has a singular feature: it occupies an active tectonic depression which separates the Southamerican and Scotia Plates. Therefore, along the central part of the lake there is a geological fault: the Magellan Fault.
The woods in the surrounding mountains are primary forests, this means that they haven’t been exploited by men.
The lunch will be provided in a shelter on the lake in the Chilean side (no frontier check in the middle of the forest). The guides will turn themselves into chef preparing an amazing asado (grilled meat): a little starter (chimichurri, potatoes, cheese), choripan, asado, salad and cake. Water, wine, coffee. Dying on the lake shore after lunch.
A little rest to enjoy the silence, the nature and the animals drawn by the grill and then back through Laguna Bombilla (luckily a bit less shakily than the first round!
A little stop to look at some beaver dams (you cannot imagine how smart can the beaver be!!) and back to Ushuaia.
This will surely be something you’ll never forget, so try not to miss this excursion!
(half day excursion)
Boat trips are always a good chance of relax! No roads, no stress, just have a sit and look out the window. Or go out on the deck in the channel wind if you’re brave enough, or at least try to be patient with the wind (i’m clearly not!).
You can find several boat tour agencies at the touristic port and they offer different navigation services (shorter, longer, to the lighthouse, to the penguins island etc.). All you have to do is choose what you want to see!
We chose a trip of about 4 hours: departing from the port of Ushuaia, always sailing very close to the Chilean coast, towards Isla Alicia, with a colony of sea lions, later visiting Isla de los Pajaros (Bird’s Island), where it is possible to see royal and imperial cormorants. Then Isla de los Lobos, where there are southern elephant seals and south American sea lions, ending at Les Éclaireurs lighthouse, built in 1919.
Here the return starts, along a slightly different route, disembarking at one of the Bridges Islands, where you can walk along a path in order to see some local flora and bird fauna. You can also find some old deserted Yamanas camps, where the original inhabitants of the area had lived.
The guide and the crew were very nice and well prepared! On the way back to Ushuaia tea, coffee, liquors, including the typical mate, and some cookies were served.
A very pleasant excursion!
(full day excursion)
We didn’t have the chance to book anything for Christmas day: when we started our research we found almost every agency was closed or the few that would be open didn’t have any available excursions. But this was our luck in the end!
As we would like to go to the Tierra del Fuego National Park, a very kind girl at the agency suggested us to go to the park with a bus that departs from the touristic port about every 30 minutes every day.
So that’s what we did the following day. At the port you can find different little buses which can take you to 3 different points in the park. They give you a map and a time table.You just have to be at one of the pointsat the indicated time to catch the bus back! Just be careful not to miss the last bus, or you’ll have a night the park!
If you like trekking this is one of the best experience you can have!
First stop is Bahia Ensenada where we started a 8km walk along the Senda Costera. At the end of this, with just 1 km more you can find the Lago Roca and two restaurant for a break! After lunch in about 1,5km we reached the Laguna Negra. Then one more kilometer to arrive at Bahia La Pataia. There you can take the last bus to back to Ushuaia.