Jan 22, 2012

Argentina - Ushuaia

Leaving Punta Arenas, we headed toward Ushuaia the southermost city of Argentina. We crossed the Magellan Strait to get from the continent to the archipelago called Tierra del Fuego.

Ferryboat Primera Angostura

Ushuaia is located at the south of the Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego, the biggest island of the archipelago which is actually the largest island of South America! This island is divided between Chile and Argentina.

The bus took seven or eight hours to go through the Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego to Ushuaia. At the beginning, the horizon is quite flat and the dry vegetation melts brown and green colors.

After a few hours this lanscape becomes quite boring. But getting clother to Ushuaia some hills are emerging and then mountains, the Andes!

On our way out of the Tierra del Fuego we had to cross Chile again before arriving on the Argentinian mailand. We had bought some fruits to eat during the 18 hours trip to El Calafate. Unfortunately we learned at the border that it is forbidden to enter Chile with fruits. The only option we had: to eat all the fruits we could before going back to the bus. Or how to eat five plums, three bananas, two apples, two peaches, and two tomatoes in less than ten minutes and in front of a border officer? :/


Ushuaia appeared to us as a strange mix between a ski resort and a small harbour. The city who was once a village populated mostly by convicts has become a tourist center.

Calle San Martín

As a matter of fact the former prison has been transformed into a huge museum, the Museo Marítimo y Ex Presidio, including various sections: about Ushuaia, the Antarctica, the convict system and it even hosts a contemporary art gallery! Very informative!

The last prisoner... ;)

Historic wing

Gift shop

Art gallery

Coming to Ushuaia is quite expensive. So are the various activities, cruises and trips starting from here. For example 90% of the tourists going to Antartica departs from Ushuaia. In fact the south of Latin America is one of the few places of the world where we saw a lot of mature people traveling in a nearly backpacking mode. For example we shared a dorm with a Danish couple in their sixties. And the town restaurants were full of seniors at lunch and dinner time.

Ushuaia harbour at 4.30pm

Ushuaia harbour at 4.30am


To make the most of our time at the self-proclaimed "End of the world", we went on a six hours cruise along the Canal Beagle. A few operators offer similar excursions of wildlife watching. All boats seamed to be full. In our ship, there were at least 200 people. The cruise took us to the local attractions: islands covered with cormorants and sea lions.

Isla de los Pájaros

Isla de los Pájaros

Isla de los Lobos

We went then to the Pingüinera passing in front of Les Eclaireurs lighthouse. From Canal Beagle's grey water we admired rocky isles and the mountainous shores covered by a few glaciers.

Faro Les Eclaireurs


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