GREATEST EXPERIENCES IN USHUAIA: END OF THE WORLD

Traveling to Ushuaia for many travelers is a once in a lifetime experience. There is so much to see and do at the end of the world. Below are the greatest experiences in Ushuaia that no one should miss. Above all it is the perfect destination for nature lovers and outdoor activities. It has it all: mountains, sea, forests, glaciers, diverse wildlife.

Les Aclaireurs Lighthouse, Beagle Channel
Les Aclaireurs Lighthouse, Beagle Channel

Beagle Channel Boat Tour – my number one of the experiences in Ushuaia

The Beagle Channel Boat Tour is without a doubt my number one of all the experiences in Ushuaia I tried.

There are two types of boat tours. The short one goes to Faro Les Éclaireurs and the longer one to Isla Martillo (the penguin colony). The latter is only available in summer as the penguins migrate in winter. With this in mind, remember that the seasons in Ushuaia are the opposite of those in the northern hemisphere.

Many tourist companies have offices at the passenger pier. You can book a cruise or a land tour with any of them. The prices are more or less the same no matter which tourist agency you go to, thus what makes the difference for the Beagle Channel boat tour is the type of boat.

What type of boat to choose

catamaran

Tours can be done by catamaran, yacht or zodiac. The most popular is on a catamaran. Catamarans are large, therefore less affected by rough seas. If you think you might get sick, catamaran navigation is the one to choose.

Sea lions in Beagle Channel
Sea lions, Beagle Channel

zodiac

My personal favorite is the zodiac boat tour. They carry a maximum of ten passengers, as a result there is plenty of room for everyone to take pictures or just admire the view. Also because they are small boats, the port authorities allow them to go around the smaller islands in the Beagle Channel and get closer to the animals. Not to mention, there is nothing like having whales and dolphins come and play around the boat.

I highly recommend my experience with Paludine Ushuaia, although unfortunately I can’t give you a link because they are not on any of the booking platforms nor do they have a website. You can book their Zodiac Beagle Channel tour at their office on the pier. It’s the first one on the right. Contact them via Whatsapp +5491166716733 to check prices and availability. Remember to book well in advance during high season as the zodiacs are small boats and space is limited. In a word, their Beagle Channel boat tour was the best of all experiences in Ushuaia for me.

Dolphins playing around the zodiac

Of course, whichever type of navigation you choose, the scenery is stunning and the wildlife abundant. Depending on the season, you are likely to see cormorants and other birds, seals, whales, dolphins and penguins.

Whales in the Beagle Channel
Whales, Beagle Channel

Martillo Island- the penguin colony – the most coveted among the experiences in Ushuaia

Gentoo penguins at Martillo Island
Gentoo penguins, Martillo Island

If you’re in Ushuaia for the penguins, obviously Martillo Island is the place to go to. The island is the only penguin colony in Tierra del Fuego.

Two species of penguins visit the island: Magellanic Penguins and Gentoo Penguins. Moreover, if you are lucky, you can even see King penguins.

Magellanic penguins at Martillo Island
Magellanic penguins, Martillo Island

Tours to Martillo Island are only available during the summer (Oct – March) as the penguins migrate during the winter. There are several types of tours to the island, so find below the types of tours offered and choose the most suitable for you.

by catamaran through the Beagle Channel

Obviously, the most popular one is Catamaran Tour through the Beagle Channel and Penguins in Isla Martillo . You will board a catamaran from the tourist pier and navigating through the Beagle Channel, you will reach Martillo Island. It is important to realize that disembarkation is not allowed, i.e. you can only see the penguins from the catamaran. This is a half-day tour and is a great way to combine the Beagle Channel navigation with the penguin colony, especially if you don’t have much time in Ushuaia.

walking among penguins

Of course, walking among penguins is perhaps the most treasured of all experiences in Ushuaia. The only way to see the penguins up close is Walking among penguins at Martillo Island Penguin Rookery tour. The tour begins with a bus transfer from the passenger pier to Estancia Harberton. Then, after visiting the Estancia Harberton, you will board a small boat to Martillo Island. There you will have the opportunity to walk among the penguins. Not to mention, this is the most expensive tour as you will be within inches of the penguins.

navigation from Puerto Almanza

Puerto Almanza
Puerto Almanza

Other tours take tourists by bus to Puerto Almanza (one hour drive) and from there they take a zodiac to the island. No disembarking is allowed, but since the zodiacs are smaller, they come only 2-3 feet from the shore and thus very close to the penguins. You get close enough to have a good view though you can not walk among the cute penguins. You can book this tour with Ushboating. Their office on the pier is very close to the Paludeine’s.

Tierra del Fuego National Park offers great variety of things to do and experiences in Ushuaia

Tierra del Fuego National Park is the only National Park in Argentina that combines sea, mountain and forest landscapes. You can find there lakes, swamps, sea coast, valleys, forests and … a train.

Tierra del Fuego National Park
Tierra del Fuego National Park

Activities in the park are endless: hiking, kayaking, cycling, camping, sports fishing, bird-watching. Or you can just walk the trails admiring the scenery, listening to the birds and meeting animals along the way.

A fox at Tierra del Fuego National Park
A fox at Tierra del Fuego National Park

The most visited areas of the park are accessible by car. You can take a taxi or a remis, but to be more flexible and explore the park at your own pace, it’s better to rent a car.

If you are short on time, consider taking the Tierra del Fuego National Park with the End of the World Train tour. The tour visits the most iconic places in the park in half a day, leaving the other half of the day free for another activity. They will most likely pick you up at your accommodation and the first stop will be The End of the World Station, which is the first stop on the End of the World Train route.

The End of the World Train – one of the experiences in Ushuaia kids will love

The platform at The End of the World Station
The platform at The End of the World Station

The train ride is optional. If you wish to take the train, you must purchase your tickets. They are not included in the price of the tour. There are different categories and classes with different prices. Some include food and beverages. It is up to you to decide if it is worth buying them. Keep in mind that it is a 30 minute train ride totaling 7 km. Don’t forget to buy the entrance ticket to the National Park, otherwise you might not be allowed to board the train. As you enter the National Park by the train, there is no other possibility to buy the ticket.

The End of the World Train in National Park Tierra del Fuego
The End of the World Train

In the past, the train was used to transport prisoners from the prison to the mountain where wood and stone were extracted. The story of the prisoners is told on board in several languages.

A couple of guys dressed like prisoners entertain the tourists while they wait to board the train. You will be photographed with them on the platform with the train in the background. At the train station you will find: a gift shop (very overpriced, better buy your souvenirs in any gift shop in Ushuaia), a café with some food and drinks and toilets.

Is the End of the World train worth it?

In my opinion the train ride is not worth it, but it’s all up to you and your preferences. If you are traveling with children, they will probably enjoy it. The train itself consists of some panoramic cars and a steam engine.

If you have taken a tour and not boarding the train you will have some time to buy a drink or some food. Then you will board the coach (or mini-van) and continue your journey to the National Park Station where you will meet your fellow travelers which have taken the train. Here the most essential part of the tour begins.

The Route through Tierra del Fuego National Park

Lapataia Bay
Lapataia Bay

The tour visits the most iconic places in the National Park: Roca Lake, Alakush Visitor Center, Lapataya Bay where National Route 3 ends.

The end of Route 3, Tierra del Fuego National Park
The end of Route 3

National Route 3 is the southernmost part of the Pan-American Highway.

Zaratiegui Cove, Tierra del Fuego National Park
Zaratiegui Cove

The End of the World Post Office

The End of the World Post Office in Tierra del Fuego National Park
The End of the World Post Office

Then visit Zaratiegui Cove, where you’ll find the southernmost post office, or The Post Office at the End of the World.

If you are lucky, it might even be open. Stamp your passport with the End of the World stamp or send a postcard but if it’s closed, don’t be sad. You will several stamps with similar text at the Tourist Information Center in Ushuaia, and you can also send your postcards from Ushuaia.

I recommend the Tierra del Fuego National Park with the End of the World Train tour. It is the best way to see the most iconic places in the park if you are short on time. The vehicles are clean and comfortable. The guides are bilingual, speaking both English and Spanish. They are knowledgeable and in a short time you will learn a lot about Ushuaia, its people and nature.

Hiking in Tierra del Fuego National Park

The hiking opportunities in Tierra del Fuego National Park are almost endless. One of the best experiences in Ushuaia is the Tierra del Fuego National Park Hike and Canoe Tour. This is a full day tour through lakes, rivers and mountains. Book in advance as space is limited.

Laguna Esmeralda – hikers’ favourite among the experiences in Ushuaia

For hikers, Laguna Esmeralda is a must. It is located less than 20 km from Ushuaia. You can reach the beginning of the trail by car (rental car or taxi). There is also a shuttle service from Ushuaia. It leaves from the parking lot near the gas station, which is located near the Tourist Information Center. Check the departure and pick-up times. Once you arrive at the beginning of the trail, just follow the signs. The total distance is less than 10 km and will take you 3 to 4 hours.

Though it is not a difficult hike, you’d better not hike alone. You could consider joining a small group tour. You will be picked up from your accommodation and taken to the start of the trail and an experienced guide will accompany you throughout the trek. Then you’ll be dropped off at your accommodation.

I hope you have found this post helpful and are already planning your independent travel to Ushuaia. Share it with others who might be interested.

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4 thoughts on “GREATEST EXPERIENCES IN USHUAIA: END OF THE WORLD”

  1. Stunning photos… I have never heard of this place, but it sounds like an incredible place… would esp. love the hiking and outdoor activities.

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