The most southern town in the world. Welcome to The End of the World
Ushuaia (You-shway-a) is a small, gloomy port town. They have one major street which resembles Banff’s which is full with souvenir shops and restaurants. Also the main port for Antarctica cruises and you can get last minutes deals here, usually double or triple occupancy.
You will be warned by many and lonely planet. you will get stuck here. why? they don’t have enough outgoing busses. We got stuck here. We got here on the 3rd and went straight to the bus office to try and book a bus to Punta Arenas. We wanted to leave on the 6th and they didn’t have anything til the 8th. Sure that sounds fine, 2 more days, but it was high season. We only booked our hostel til the 6th and when looking for another one, there was NOTHING in town. It was hard enough finding a hostel in Ushuaia ahead of time, last minute is impossible. And the hostel we did find was a 30 minute walk out of town, it was really annoying. That night after being told we were stuck, we spent the whole evening trying to figure out a plan that worked for us. We had to change all our patagonia plans, including eliminating Punta Arenas and spending more time in El Chalten. What we ended up doing was booking a flight from Ushuaia to El Calafate. Costed more but we were able to leave Ushuaia on the 6th. You don’t want to spend long here.
Tierra del Fuego
Only a 20 minute car ride, you have the national park. The start of this trail head had the most southern post office in the world, still functional too. The area kind of reminded me of the Canadian shield mixed with the rockies. And the whole gloomy day amplified the fact that you were at the end of the world. The hiking trail we did was about 18km. And of course i didn’t bring enough water. I only packed my 750mL water bottle. This hiking trail was the most quiet one we were on the whole trip. It was very peaceful, however we did have a group of pre teen girls on the trail… we hiked quickly a head of them.
They sell these two tours with the promise of penguins, one that brings you to the shore of a tiny island so see the penguins and then one that allows you to walk with them. The walking with penguins was sold out (of course) but the penguin island boat ride was still available and you got to see sea lions too. The boat tour went through the Beagle Channel which connects the Pacific and Atlantic Ocean. The whole tour lasted about 6 hours, there was a main cabin on the boat and then an outside walking path thingy around the perimeter. It was really cold and just packed with people who would elbow you in the ribs just for a picture of a penguin.