Ushuaia, the Southernmost city of the world, is enchanting and mesmerizing. it is all the way down in Tierra del Fuego (Land of Fire), Patagonia (Argentina), and is the perfect place to embark on wonderful sightseeing trips on the Beagle Channel to explore the waters that reach Antarctica not too far away.
Parque Nacional Tierra del Fuego is just a short distance away from the city and offers lakes, mountains and a natural beauty that will seduce the adventurous hiker all the way.
The end of the world is a wonderful place to be. Its picturesque city Ushuaia, which in the yámana language means “bay overlooking the West”, is surrounded by Mount Martial to the West and by Mounts Olivia and Cinco Hermanos to the East.
Located on the shores of the Beagle Channel, it offers a unique landscape, which combines mountains, sea, glaciers and forests.
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Ushuaia is surrounded by a mountainous chain (the Martial Range) and there is a small glacier not too far away from the city (about 4 km) called Martial Glacier. Don't compare it with the world's wonder in Perito Moreno (the biggest moving glacier in the world). The route to the base is very picturesque.
For those with an adventurous spirit you can climb the mountain near Ushuaia (there are trekking paths), but if it is your day off you can just take the cable car. During the winter there are ski runs.
Things to do
- Avenida San Martin:
the main street of the town. Here you'll find souvenir shops, restaurants and the tourist information center. it is without doubt the street you'll get acquainted with very fast when staying in Ushuaia. it is vibrant and alive and yes... I had to buy a souvenir from one of the many shops. This is after all the end of the world.
- Boat Trip:
a must do when you are in the city. The sight of the Ushuaia bay is impressive to say the least, the scenery unforgettable. Just the thought of sailing on the Beagle Channel is overwhelming.
The first destination is a rock-island covered with penguins. It is an impressive sight as you navigate around the island. Thousands of penguins sit, waddle, swim, and stare back at you in complete disinterest. After visiting the penguins, you'll see another rock island, 'Isla de los lobos,' covered with a gigantic herd, flock, or school of sea lions.
- The Prison:
In 1896 the first group of convicts arrived in Ushuaia to begin the reincidents jail (it was a group of houses made of wood and tin); in 1902, the Military Prison, which was situated at Isla de los Estados, was moved to Ushuaia for humanitarian reasons. The same year began the construction of the National Prison; at the time, Ushuaia had only 40 houses.
The building was done by the prisoners, and it was finished in 1920. It had five pavilions, and 380 single cells (but sometimes were there more than 600 convicts). The prisoners had the possibility of primary education and paid jobs. The jail worked until 1947. Inside the cells, you will find the history and the stories of the jail and the prisoners.
- The Lighthouse:
Jules Verne wrote a novel entitled "The Lighthouse at the End of the World"; this lighthouse was situated at Isla de los Estados (an island), and the real name of the lighthouse was San Juan de Salvamento. This lighthouse worked from 1884 to 1902, when a new lighthouse was inaugurated at a close island. In 1997, a replica of the lighthouse of the end of the world was inaugurated at the Maritime Museum in Ushuaia.
Tierra del Fuego National Park
Close to Ushuaia is Parque Nacional Tierra del Fuego (Land of Fire National Park). This National Park is really huge (63,000 hectares), although only a little part is open to the public (most of the area is destined to scientific investigation).
This park was created in 1960 and is the only Argentine park with sea cost. There are camp areas inside the park, and several attractions, besides the wonderful forest and landscape.
Antarctica is the world's fifth largest continent, the coldest place on earth, the highest average altitude and the lowest humidity. The "white continent" lies just a few days away by boat from Ushuaia.
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