As the southern most city in the world, Argentina’s Ushuaia would need not have more than its ‘earth’s end’ title to attract flocks of visitors all year round. In actuality however, Ushuaia is a city that has a culture, a history and a natural beauty that were it not Argentina’s most southerly tip, would still warrant a closer look. Set in the island region of Tierra Del Fuego, Ushuaia lies on the shore of the Beagle Channel in the heart of a jagged range of peaks, and the city is the chief port for tourists and hardened travellers wishing to access Antarctica’s peninsular.

Ushaiua is literally translated as ‘bay looking over the west’ and its name comes from the yamana language, the tongue of the original inhabitants of Argentina. This was the tribe whom Charles Darwin famously encountered when formulating his theories in the region. During the first half of the twentieth century Ushuaia was home to a high security prison set up by the Argentine government due to Ushuaia’s remote island location, which would have made escape from the prison well-nigh impossible. The yaman tribe has long since died out, the prison no longer exists and in the last fifty years the city has instead become one of the country’s most important naval bases. Whilst Ushuaia’s location remains remote and its surrounding landscapes some of the most dramatic in the world, in latter decades its naval base has born a small but surprisingly thriving settlement. With the increase of the tourism industry, the city is now one of the most visited destinations in South America for tourists all over the world.


Not surprisingly Ushuaia’s finest attractions lie within its majestic natural surroundings and it is difficult to bear tribute enough to its breathtaking mountains, spectacular lakes and vast amount of wildlife that will undoubtedly impress anyone who affords it a visit. The city capitalises on the adventurous spirit that drives the majority of its tourists to travel to this far flung corner of the world and there are numerous pursuits available for the tourist, whatever the season.

From June to September, Ushuaia is host to several ski resorts that make use of its vast range of snow-covered Andes peaks. The largest of its ski resorts is Cerro Castor which has 15 slopes offering ski, snowboard and blade rentals to suit any adrenaline junkie. In addition to the ski resorts there are several tour companies that offer excursions to the [ Parque Nacional Tierra] where tourists can enjoy ice trekking, mountain biking, canoeing, sport fishing and dog sledding as well as having the opportunity to witness the spectacular ‘Martial Glacier.’

One of the most magical opportunities available in Ushuaia is the chance to journey around the Beagle Channel, a site of stunning glacial landscapes and a vast amount of wildlife habitats. There are numerous companies that run boat tours around the Beagle Channel, retracing the historic expeditions of Charles Darwin and making excursions to sea-lion or cormorant colonies. For those who have the drive and two or three weeks to spare, not to mention anything up to $68, 000, there are also tour boats that leave from Ushuaia and go all the way to Antartica, making the vast ice covered continent an accessible and relatively popular tourist destination.

As well as being a site of extreme natural beauty, Ushuaia boasts an interesting history with its connection to Charles Darwin, and more recently by being the host of an Argentine maximum security prison. Today the prison is no longer in working order but it remains as a symbol of colonisation, and visitors can learn about its history in the marine museum which has kept most of the prison’s original structure and many of the original relics from its prison days. Visitors can also have a ride on the ‘end of the world’ steam train which once took prisoners to and from the island but today is used exclusively for tourists. The train takes travellers on an 8km long ride around Ushauia to the national park along the river passing a reconstruction of a yamana settlement on its way.

Another key tourist attraction is the ‘End of the World headlight’ which, at 11m tall, stands in front of the city. Painted in red and white stripes, the headlight is powered by solar energy and is bypassed on any of the marine tours which explore the Beagle channel.


Like any tourist-focused destination, Ushauia has souvenir shops a-plenty, capitalising on its ‘end-of-the-world’ charm and proximity to Antarctica. The main advantage to shopping in Ushauia is that being an island it is a tax-free area and with its range of imported and regional goods the city is a great place to pick up an Argentine bargain.


Like most destinations in Argentina, Ushuaia is not short of its parillas or steakhouses but not surprisingly given its coastal location, the towns chief sustenance is seafood and there are many restaurants serving regional and international seafood dishes. There is a wide range of bars and restaurants and Ushuaia produces some of the finest cuisine in the Tierra Del Fuego region.

Tourist Information

Instituto Feeguino de Turismo Maipu 505Ground floor of Hotel Albatros

  • Tel: +54 2901 421423
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Municipal Tourist OfficeAt airport pier and on Tierra del Guego
  • Tel: +54 2901 432000 or airport, +54 2901 423 970


Ushuaia has its own airport which is served by several regional airports, most frequently by Aerolinea Argentinas which makes regular flights each day to Buenos Aires. There are also flights to Comodoro Rivadavia, Rio Gallegos and Puerto Williams in Chile, flying slightly less frequently, and Aeroclub Argentina offers spectacular sightseeing flights of Ushuaia for between $35 to $100 per person.

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