THE END OF THE WORLD: USHUAIA, ARGENTINA

No, we’re not talking about some great apocalypse; Ushuaia is literally at the end of the world. Located at the southernmost tip of Argentina and the capital city of the Tierra del Fuego province, this port city marks the end of South America and serves as a port of call for Antarctic cruises.

Situated between the mystical Martial Mountains and the Beagle Channel (named after Charles Darwin’s ship), Ushuaia is a nature lover’s paradise. Activities include hiking, diving, horseback riding, and climbing. During the winter months, skiing is offered at the nearby Mount Castor Resort.

Here are the top five things to do in and around Ushuaia.

 

1. End of the World Train

Located eight kilometers from town in Tierra de Fuego National Park, this steam-powered train runs along the same route once traveled by convicts on their way to work in the forests. However, you won’t be part of a chain-gang work party — visitors ride along in specially constructed rail cars while guides explain the history of the rail line as well the significance of the local flora and fauna.

2. Tierra del Fuego National Park

Created to protect the forestlands around the Beagle Channel, Tierra del Fuego National Park stretches over 150,000 acres of mountains, valleys, coves, and beaches, making it an important ecosystem in the region. Spend the day walking along peat bogs while viewing unique bird species such as the Magellan woodpecker, the Magellan goose, and the Austral conure. Trails from the Park’s Interpretation Centre provide visitors access to panoramic views of Beagle Channel and Ensenada Bay.

 

3. Beagle Channel

This channel is one of three navigable waterways around the southern tip of South America — the other two are the Straits of Magellan and the more open Drake Passage. A cruise of the Beagle brings voyagers close to the dramatic geography and unique wildlife of this special part of the world. Several outfits offer cruises out of Ushuaia and these typically last a half-day. Alicia Island and its sea lion colony is usually a favorite stop on most Beagle Channel cruise itineraries.

4. Martial Glacier

Just a few kilometers from the city, the Martial Glacier affords spectacular vistas from its 1,050-meter summit. Named after the leader of an 1883 French expedition, Luis Fernando Martial, this is perhaps one of the most accessible glaciers you’ll find. Visitors can take a cleared path to the top or ride a chair lift closer to the trails approaching the glacier itself. And for the more adventurous, walking the ice trails is sure to get the adrenaline pumping.

 

5. Paseo de los Artesanos Enriqueta Gastelumendi

Conveniently located in the port area, this promenade of nearly 50 brightly colored artisan stalls and workshops is the place to pick up a memento of your visit to the “end of the world.” Ceramics, paintings, leather goods, textiles, and paintings crafted by local artists are on offer. The handcrafted woolen clothing sold here is some of the finest available in the region.

Find more information about Holland America Line's South American cruises that travel to beautiful areas such as Buenos Aires, Argentina and more.