How to spend 48 hours in Ushuaia
As the southernmost town on the South American continent and last outpost before Antarctica,
Ushuaia has earned the name el Fin del Mundo. There is even a post office from where you can send family and friends a postcard with a stamp from the “end of the world.” We mean really, how amazing is that? The following are a few of our tips for how best to spend 48 hours in Ushuaia and the Land of Fire at the End of the World.
Where to stay: Arakur Ushuaia
Perched on a spectacular natural balcony above the city of Ushuaia and boasting fabulous views of the Beagle Channel, Arakur Ushuaia
provides the perfect setting for hiking within the dramatic scenery of Tierra del Fuego or as a base before an Antarctic cruise. There are 88 Double Rooms, 20 Twin Deluxe Rooms, 6 Triple Deluxe Rooms and 3 Senior Suites, many boasting views towards the bay, the Beagle Channel and the city of Ushuaia whilst the remaining rooms enjoy views over the mountains and valleys in the opposite direction. All rooms and suites are contemporary in design and complete with modern technologies to ensure a comfortable stay. Facilities at Arakur Ushuaia include a gym and fantastic indoor and outdoor pools which boast stunning views. There is an onsite restaurant and two bars, serving up delicious specialties from Tierra del Fuego as well as other Argentine and international dishes. A shuttle service can transport guests down to Ushuaia city for further dining options.
The first 24 hours:
Glacier El Martial
DO – Upon arrival in Ushuaia, the best thing to do is hike up to Glacier El Martial or Cerro Castor. As small ski resorts in the winter months, they both offer great views of the surrounding Martial Mountains and Beagle Channel. They are easily accessible half-day walks, but you will need local transport to the base. There are buses that can take you from the centre of town to either trailhead in fewer than 20 minutes. Be sure to pack layers, sunscreen, and lots of water, as these hikes can be somewhat challenging and the weather unpredictable.
EAT – After a morning of hiking and exploring the hills, get back to Ushuaia to indulge in loads of great options for incredible seafood right along the main drag, Avenida San Martin. The local specialties are king crab and black sea bass, along with the classic Argentine assado, which is basically a barbeque with what seems like every type of meat possible. Typical Patagonian dishes like lamb and hearty empanadas are not to be missed. Enjoy y buen provecho!
Reserva Natural Cerro Alarkén
VISIT – The Reserva Natural Cerro Alarkén is an area dedicated to the preservation of Nature, home to various species of flora and fauna typical of Tierra del Fuego, and to native forests of lengas, ñires and coihues. It extends over more than 1 km of coastline along Arroyo Grande, and offers a natural scenic overlook with a 360° view of the whole area. Arakur Ushuaia is located inside the Natural Reserve and close to Mount Alarkén’s summit. Arakur Ushuaia is the starting point for the trails that run through Reserva Natural Cerro Alarkén, an area covering more than 100 hectares (247 acres) devoted to the preservation of native forests of lengas, ñires and coihues, and of various species of flora and fauna typical of the region. The natural viewpoint at the top of Mount Alarkén offers an extraordinary scenic overlook of the Ushuaia Bay, the Martial mountain ridges, Mount Vincinguerra and its Glacier, the Andorra and Río Chico Valleys, mounts Cortés, Olivia and Cinco Hermanos, and the Beagle Channel. Within the Natural Reserve, visitors can practice different sports and make guided trekking tours graded according to different levels of effort.
The next 24 hours:
VISIT – Tierra del Fuego National Park. After years of travelling in Patagonia, this small area is our absolute favourite. This is due in part to the incredible remoteness, stunning natural beauty, storied First Nations history, and vibrancy of the wildlife. The park is a 30-minute bus trip from Ushuaia. The hiking is amazing! There are some really great trails but our personal favourite is the Cerro Guanaco, which offers stunning views over Ushuaia, Lapataia Bay and the Beagle Channel. We would also recommend the lakeside hikes of both Hito XXIV and De La Isla, each relatively easy and spectacular for immersing yourself in the wilds of Patagonia. There is also an impressive museum in the park highlighting the indigenous Fuegan culture and the colonization of the area, including the trips of Fitz Roy and Charles Darwin and the story of the Fuegan three children. It is a crazy and amazing story.
Les Eclaireurs Lighthouse
DO – One of the least assuming and most memorable experiences you can have in Ushuaia is a cruise on the Beagle Channel. It may seem cheesy or boring, but trust me; during whale season and in the summer months, it’s amazing! All of the small stands near the docks sell a similar half-day tour. Why not try out your Spanish skills by speaking to some locals to help choose which one is best for you? There are a lot of English speaking people in this welcoming city as well. The tour weaves through the Alicia Archipelago, past seal and cormorant colonies, all the while looking out for penguins and humpback whales passing by. Cruise along the stunning channel to the Les Eclaireurs Lighthouse (which is painted with Where’s Waldo–esque white and red stripes) before doubling back toward the port. Seems simple, but you’ll learn so much. Sometimes you can even get off and explore one of the nearby islands (weather permitting).
DRINK – The Dublin Pub. Self-proclaimed as the “first Irish Pub at the End of the World” this place is quite possibly the best bar in all of Patagonia, which says a lot because there is some really good beer here. With an incredible selection of local brews on tap, a fun and warm atmosphere, great seating and cool t-shirts, the Dublin Pub is a sure bet for a great night out in Ushuaia. Try the Beagle Ale.