Ushuaia – Argentina

 nothing in particular
Do the free day hike to Largo de los Tempanos – it’s the best value thing to do in town.

Ushuaia is the expensive Argentinian city at the end of the world. It’s set in between beautiful snow capped mountains and the Beagle channel. It’s beautiful and it knows it.

We managed to hitchhike from Punta Arenas to Ushuaia in one day – not an easy feat but we did save the expensive 18 hour bus ride. We departed the hostel at 8am and caught a taxi-bus to the end of town. We then hitchhiked with our sign – “Ushuaia – por 2 Australians”. Pretty soon a driver in a ute pulled over and gave us a lift to the edge of town. From here we waited in the freezing cold for ages until another driver in a ute gave us a lift to the police check point. Here we managed to get on a bus which took us to the turnoff  to “Terra del Fuego”. Bizarrely the bus fed us coffee and snacks and the attendant was very friendly to us and when we got off, refused to take any money. Score. We waited at the turnoff for some time when a small car with two Argentinian girls pulls over and offers us a ride. The car was packed with stuff so we squeezed in with our packs. It’s amazing what you can fit into a South American car. They took us all the way to Ushuaia and again wouldn’t accept money for fuel etc.
As we arrived to town late in the evening we attempted to check into the Freestyle hostel without a reservation, but it was booked out so we stayed at the Drake hostel across  the road for AR$250 (expensive). The next day we moved to the Freestyle.
Freestyle is the most well known hostel, and it was recommended to us by a few people. It’s the most well know hostel – and they know it. The staff are not very helpful, they make you change rooms when you extend your stay and they charge AR$35 for a towel and too much for a load of washing which you have to do your self anyway. They do have a nice area upstairs with table tennis and pool and they provide eggs for breakfast which is nice.

Freestyle backpackers, upstairs with a view

The freestyle was taken over by a group of Brazilians and a loud french guy we managed to infiltrate their group, but this only led to excessive partying.
We had average weather for most of the days we were in Ushuaia and we achieved very little. We had plans to camp out in the national park but we never did. I managed a day hike out to a beautiful glacier with an Essex pom I met in the hostel. This trip involved taking a cab to “Turbera” for AR$30-40. (don’t pay a set fee – use the meter it’s cheaper) From their you can hike to Largo del los Tempanos which is beautiful.

The map to Largo de los Tempanos

Ice caves under the glacier

We didn’t go to the national park!! It’s beautiful, and it knows it. The bus is AR$80 and the entrance is AR$80 to go. That’s like AU$40 per person. In typical Ushuian style, It’s expensive.
We organised a dive in the Beagle channel but the hostel didn’t tell us that we needed lots of warm clothing. We rocked up at 8am for the dive only to be sent back home. – again the hostel staff not being helpful, the dive master had told the girl what we needed. The staff -earlier- also advised a restaurant to go to for sea food, only to find out it’s closed.
We did manage to see two museums. Ushuaia has four expensive museums. We did the Yaghan museum for AR$35 each, which was interesting, with English transitions for most exhibitions. The better museum was Presido museum for AR$90 each. It’s inside the old prison completed in 1930, and has lots of information on the operation of the prison and maritime history of the area. It was amazing to read about how many wrecked boats are in the area.

This creepy little fella started killing at 8 years old.

Most tourists organise a tour to see the penguins or the lighthouse. We didn’t because we planned to go to Puerto Williams. If you do a tour, you can get the price down, just ask.

just one of the locals

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