The itinerary for my bucket-list adventure to Antarctica included two layovers in Ushuaia, Argentina (before and after). Ushuaia (pronounced Oo-swi-yah) is the capital of the Tierra del Fuego (Land of Fire), Province. The city, nestled between the Martial mountain range and Beagle Channel, is located on the southern tip of South America.
Dubbed, the “World’s Southernmost City” and “El Fin del Mundo” (the “End of the World”), Ushuaia is the closest city to Antarctica. For most adventure-seeking travelers, like myself, it is the gateway to a visit to the 7th Continent, which is what brought me to this small town.
As a travel junkie, I try to make the most of every long layover. I usually plan ahead to ensure that I optimize my limited time in layover cities. But all of the preparation and excitement about my journey to Antarctica totally eclipsed any plans for fun during my multiple layovers. I arrived in Ushuaia with ZERO expectations!
When I stepped off of the plane in Ushuaia I was shocked by its beauty (and brisk winds). The massive snow-capped mountains, colorful buildings, and sweeping views of the Beagle Channel made this remote port city so charming.
In addition to its natural beauty, Ushuaia is a legit tourist hub, complete with hotels, restaurants, museums and even a casino. If you have a layover in Ushuaia, Argentina, there are quite a few fun things to get into:
Take a picture in front of the famous Ushuaia signs
There are two popular signs in Ushuaia that tourists queue up to take pictures with. There’s an older billboard-type sign along the pier and a newer sign that’s much larger. The new sign is comprised of large letters that spell out the word Ushuaia. The bigger sign can be found toward the entrance into town. Since my time was limited, I decided to take a picture in front of the older Ushuaia sign (the queue was much shorter).
Get a Ushuaia Stamp on your Passport
If you go to the Tourist Center along the pier, the staff there will be happy to give you directions, a map and an original stamp on your passport to commemorate your visit to Ushuaia.
Have a drink at the End of the World
Since my time in the city at the ‘End of the World’ was short, I decided to get my carpe diem on and have a drink at a pub.
Take a stroll
Walk around town. The city is situated at the base of a mountain. There’s a long coastal avenue that stretches the width of the city that offers pretty views of the Beagle Channel.
The streets are lined with all kinds of shops where you can pick up “End of the World” souvenirs or buy some last-minute supplies for a cruise to Antarctica. If you’d like to book an Antarctica cruise or a bus tour, there are a variety of tiny buildings that house tour companies.
Tour Tierra del Fuego National Park
A tour of the Tierra del Fuego (Land of Fire) National Park was included in my Antarctica cruise package. My fellow cruise passengers and I spent a day touring the park, by bus, with a knowledgeable guide on the backend of our 10-day Antarctica cruise.
The national park has forests, mountains, glaciers, lakes, waterfalls, and lagoons. There are quite a few hiking trails open to the public. A small museum, café, and restrooms can be found in the tourist center in the park.
If you have more time to explore Ushuaia, be sure to check out some of the following activities:
- Ride El Tren Del Fin Del Mundo or the End of the World Train
- Hike Glacier Martial
- Visit the Prison Museum
- Enjoy outdoor activities like hiking, camping, skiing or kayaking
- Visit Penguin Island or Take a Wildlife Tour
- Take a boat tour on the Beagle Channel
- See the world-famous Lighthouse
For more travel tips, follow my Things to do in Argentina Pinterest Board