Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world, is located in the remote Tierra Del Fuego region of Argentina. Despite its remoteness, unlike Alaska, the city is gorgeous and prosperous. The whole city is mostly oriented around one single street (Ave. San Martín). And I would recommend staying close to it.
Day 1 – Penguins
Ushuaia is a natural home to Penguins. What else could be a better way to start this trip? There are three varieties of penguins – Gentoo, King, and Magellanic. There are only a few King penguins in Ushuaia. Magellanic penguins migrate to Brazil during winter (April onwards). While Gentoo stays in Isla Martillo in Ushuaia year-round.
There are only two major companies that have penguin tours – Piratour and Onashaga Expeditions. I did the tour with Onashaga and would highly recommend them. The tour involves ~2 hours of round-trip driving and ~2 hours of the boat journey to Isla Martillo, the natural home of Penguins in Ushuaia. The trip cost ~19,000 AEP.
Day 2 – Tierra Del Fuego National Park
Compared to national parks like Glacier National Park in the US, Tierra Del Fuego National Park is fairly unremarkable. There is an 8000 AEP round-trip shuttle that provides ~30-mins transportation to this National Park. My recommendation would be to go directly to the end (Bahía Lapataia) and then walk backward from there. I would recommend taking the first shuttle – 9 AM during the main season (Nov-Mar) and 10 AM during the off-season (April-Oct). The last bus to return is at 7 PM (Nov-Mar) and 5 PM (April-Oct).
Day 3 – Emerald Lake and Turquoise Lake
Laguna Esmeralda (Emerald Lake) is gorgeous. Depending on the time of the year, the hike can be a bit involved due to the muddy situation but it is worth it. The round-trip shuttle cost was 6000 AEP. I would highly recommend taking the earliest shuttle, so that, you have enough time for a much harder hike to Laguna Turquesa (Turquoise Lake). It took me about 90 minutes to hike to Laguna Esmeralda and 90 minutes to hike back on this 9.6-km trail.
Laguna Turquesa (3 km round trip) is a continuous upward climb but the views at the end are worth it. It took me about 50 minutes to reach the lake.
Later, I checked out the Fin Del Mundo (End of the World) Museum. I wouldn’t recommend it though.
- Anum Hostel is a great place to stay. The owner even offers you discounts for booking various activities.
- Fin Del Mundo (End of the World) Train is mostly a tourist trap. Unless you are traveling with small kids or people who can’t hike, I would recommend hiking in Tierra Del Fuego National Park.
- As of this writing, 1 USD = 466 AEP. The Argentinian Pesos keep falling though. I would highly recommend carrying the new USD 100 bills and converting them on Florida Street in Buenos Aires for the Blue Dollar exchange rate. Credit cards are widely accepted but with Visa & Mastercard, you will get the MEP rate, which is ~10-15% inferior to the Blue dollar rate. And many businesses like taxis will charge 10% more for credit card-based payments.
- MarcoPolo Free Life has a lot of good vegetarian choices.
- If you have more days, consider visiting Laguna Los Tempanos and Laguna Cinco Hermanos.