The southernmost city in the world, Ushuaia is situated on the Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego, Argentina where the Andes mountain range meets the Southern Ocean. While many cruise liners use Ushuaia as a gateway port to the southern continent of Antarctica, this South American city is an experience in itself and worthy of exploration. It’s a city with a unique jumble of buildings, interesting cuisine, friendly locals and famously steep streets.
Considered an adventure hub, Ushuaia provides visitors with plenty of outdoor activities including skiing, trekking, kayaking, sailing and scuba diving. Ushuaia also has plenty to offer those visitors who are interested in tourist sites. Cruise tours are available that explore the number of islands that surround the city. Shore excursions include trips to national parks, and a ride on The End of the World Train. This rail experience is aptly named – as you follow the tracks through enormous glaciers and untouched forests, you really will feel as though you’re at the end of the world.
Located on the northwest side of Ushuaia Bay, the port is right amidst the action, with cruise ships able to dock in the centre of town. Ushuaia’s hotels, restaurants and the Museo del Fin del Mundo museum are only a short walk from the port.
The port of Ushuaia consists primarily of a commercial pier, the Orion oil jetty and a number of warehouses. The port has several shops available, a visitor’s centre, booths for organising tour activities, and a phone and internet kiosk. Ushuaia is also a Naval Base, so a small dry-dock is moored here that belongs to the Argentine Navy.
How to Get Around
Travel to and from the port is fairly easy, as is travel between destinations in the city itself. Many tourists choose to take taxis or set out on foot, depending on the distance to be travelled. Bus services are also available, and many hotels and major tourist sites have shuttle services.
Travel times from port
It is a 6 minute journey to the End of the World museum
It is a 12 minute journey to the Maritime museum.
It is a 10 minute journey to the Malvinas Argentinas International Airport.
Currency – Argentina’s legal currency is the Argentine Peso (ARS). Notes are available in ARS$2, ARS$5, ARS$10, ARS$20, ARS$50 and ARS$100 peso denominations, and coins come in 5, 10, 25, and 50 centavo and ARS$1, and ARS$2 peso denominations. Many places also accept US dollars.
Time Zone – Ushuaia uses Argentina Time (ART), which is three hours behind Coordinated Universal Time (UTC).
Weather – The weather in Ushuaia changes constantly, even during the one season. December to February are the warmest months with temperatures reaching approximately 18 degrees Celsius, with up to 18 hours of daylight. The coldest temperatures are recorded from June to August with an average of 1 degree Celsius. However, it has been known to drop to -8 degrees Celsius at night.
Antarctic Cruise – As Ushuaia is located on the southern tip of South America, it is the perfect starting point for a trip to the icy wonderland of Antarctica. It is approximately 1,000 kilometres from the city to the Antarctic Peninsula. Antarctica-bound vessels make port at Ushuaia regularly, and extended cruises to the great southern continent also leave from here. During your trip you can expect to be greeted with the sight of penguins, seals, whales and the towering, awe-inspiring shapes of floating icebergs.
Beagle Channel – Named after Charles Darwin’s ship the ‘Beagle’ that passed through here on his 1831 world voyage, this strait sits along the Tierra del Fuego Archipelago. A popular water highway for those ships on a trip to Antarctica, the Beagle Channel offers cruise goers calm waters, incredible panoramas of South American glaciers, and breathtaking views of sea lion colonies.
Tierra del Fuego National Park – Perched in the southwest corner of the Tierra del Fuego province, approximately 12kilometres from Ushuaia, this impressive national park was created in 1960 and is the final point of the Andes mountain range. A relatively untouched territory, Tierra del Fuego is home to a variety of flora and fauna including Lenga and Guindo trees, the black eyebrowed albatross, and the diving petrel.
Laguna Esmeralda – Laguna Esmeralda is a sight to behold with its emerald-coloured glacial water surrounded by untouched forests and wildlife, all set underneath the imposing Andes mountains. Located in a wide valley just outside Ushuaia, the hike to this lake can be done in an afternoon or an evening. If you’d rather not hike the 2–3 hours to get there though, helicopter tours departing from Ushuaia airstrip are also available.