If you’re looking for the “End of World,” head to Ushuaia, Argentina on the shores of the Beagle Channel. It’s the southernmost city in the world and capital of the province of Tierra del Fuego. The remote location makes it an unlikely destination. Antarctic-bound travelers often begin their seaward journey here. Cruise ship passengers disembark for a few hours. Adventure seekers drive over the Andes or fly directly into the city, and nature lovers and hikers come to see the region’s rivers, lakes, waterfalls, glaciers, sub-Antarctic forests, and peat bogs. To help plan a day in and around Ushuaia, we recommend these places:
Senda Costera (Costera Trail)
Located in Parque Nacional Tierra del Fuego (Argentina’s first coastal national forest), this 5-mile path enters a deciduous beech forest that runs adjacent to the shoreline, connecting Ensenada Bay to Lapataia Bay on Lago Acigami (formerly Lago Roca). Most of Lago Acigami falls within the Chilean border.
This easy-to-tackle trail has wooden steps that make some of the hilly sections easier to navigate. Even though it’s a popular trail, there will be minimal encounters with other people. Birdwatchers should be on the lookout for Magellanic woodpeckers, condors, cormorants, oystercatchers, and gulls.
Centro de Visitantes Alakush
This stop offers panoramic views of a sparkling lake set against mountain ranges. There are a few trails heading off in different directions. A mixture of enticing smells may lure some visitors into the large building with oversized windows. Inside this information center, trekkers can sample a variety of local food options including Fuegian lamb barbecue, homemade baked goods, and Argentinian wines. There’s also a tiny museum that caters to a Spanish-speaking audience.
Beagle Channel Boat Ride
The glacial landscape surrounding the Beagle Channel is spectacular. Rugged mountains with snowy peaks encase the perimeter. If you want to see marine wildlife, add this to your list. While no one can ever guarantee wildlife sightings, the odds are in your favor to see plenty of sea lions and an assortment of birds camped out on tiny islands in the channel.
Within walking distance of Puerto Arias, an embarkation dock for a scenic Beagle Channel tour, visitors can see the spot where Argentina’s National Ruta (NR) 3 (the Pan American Highway, the world’s longest motorable road) ends. A wooden sign reminds visitors that Alaska, which is where the Pan-American Highway begins, is 17,848 kilometers (11,090 Miles) away.
Ushuaia can experience abrupt changes in weather so make sure to wear layers of clothing and to be ready for a possible rainstorm. If you want to take pictures from outside the boat, be prepared for blustery winds. A warm hooded jacket is recommended. Make sure your camera and/or camera phone are fully charged before you embark on your Ushuaia adventure.
Travelers who are spending more than a day in Ushuaia can learn more about the local history by visiting Ushuaia’s Prison Museum, Maritime Museum, or End of the World Museum.
Been to a place that’s like no other on earth? Let us know about it in the comments!