Ushuaia, Argentina - City at the End of the World
Ushuaia, Argentina is nicknamed the "End of the World", and the name is well-deserved since the town is located at the southernmost tip of South America. However, this "off the beaten path" town of Ushuaia is a tourism base for exploring Tierra del Fuego, embarkation port for Antarctic and Falkland Islands cruises, and port of call for South America cruises between Buenos Aires and Valparaiso (Santiago) around Cape Horn.
The latitude of Ushuaia is 55 degrees south, and the town is closer to the South Pole than to the northern border of Argentina and Bolivia, so the weather is cool even in the summer. If you have a day in Ushuaia, it might be raining. Therefore, you can visit the Maritime Museum, the End of the World Museum, or do some souvenir shopping. If the weather is pleasant, take a day trip to ride on the End of the World Train and to see Tierra del Fuego National Park and the Beagle Channel.
Whatever you decide to do in Ushuaia, you can say you've been at the End of the World. Just be sure to buy a t-shirt, buy a refrigerator magnet, or have your photo taken at the Tierra del Fuego Park sign or at the sign in Ushuaia to prove it!
Ushuaia is a beautiful little town with lots to do and see for tourists. The souvenir shopping, museums, and nearby Tierra del Fuego Park are all interesting.
Ushuaia, Argentina - Sign at Ushuaia Harbor
This sign along the roadway reads, "Ushuaia End of the World Beginning of Everything". If you are from this region of the world, you might think it is the beginning of the world, rather than the end.
When you fly over three hours due south from Buenos Aires, you realize just how close you are to the tip of South America.
Ushuaia, Argentina - Embarkation Port for Antarctica Cruises
Many cruise ships (especially smaller ones) visiting Antarctica embark and disembark from Ushuaia since the town has a commercial airport. Flying to Ushuaia from Buenos Aires allows more time in Antarctica or the Falklands and fewer sea days for cruise ships.
Ushuaia, Argentina - Picturesque Setting
Ushuaia sits at the foot of the mountains that cover much of the tip of South America. It's a lovely setting for such a remote town.
Old Prison in Ushuaia, Argentina
This Ushuaia Recidivist Prison was built in the early 20th century. The climate and severe living and working conditions made the prisoners believe they were at the end of the world (or worse). Today the prison is a Navy museum.
Tierra del Fuego - Land of Fire
Cruises to Antarctica, the Falkland Islands, or to the Chilean fjords often stopover in Ushuaia, Argentina for the day. Although exploring the touristy town can be interesting, If time allows, a day trip to nearby Tierra del Fuego National Park is highly recommended.
The park features pristine mountain scenery, peat bogs, beaver dams, and diverse wildlife. When there, the narrated ride on the "Train at the End of the World" provides a good look at what life was like for the prisoners who were kept at El Presidio prison in Ushuaia in the early 1900's. They cut down thousands of trees for firewood and shelter, and the stumps still litter the landscape.
Tierra del Fuego National Park also features the end point of the Pan American Highway (Route 3), which starts way north in Alaska over 30,000 miles away! Those who love to drive can start in Prudhoe Bay, Alaska and follow the route towards Ushuaia. Unfortunately, there is one small gap of about 100 miles in the Darien jungle of Panama that is not passable to vehicles, so those few making the drive have to take a ferry boat around the "Darien Gap".
Another interesting point in the park is the view of Beagle Channel (also known as Canal Beagle), which links the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans, and the world's southernmost post office at Puerto Guarani.
Ushuaia, Argentina - Cruise Ship Pier
The cruise ship pier in Ushuaia is the gateway for those cruising to Antarctica. Like the airport, the cruise ship pier at Ushuaia is relatively large and demonstrates the dependence on tourism in the area.