City Guide: Ushuaia
The southernmost city in the world, Ushuaia, is also the capital of the Tierra del Fuego located in Southern Argentina. Ushuaia was founded in the second half of the 19th century by British missionaries, and was first inhabited mainly by non-Argentinians. Nowadays, it is used both as an industrial port as well as a touristic spot. Many cruise ships to the Antartica start or stop here.
A bit about Ushuaia’s history
Since Ushuaia is quite a fascinating place not many people get to visit because it’s so difficult to reach, I’d like to give you a brief overview of its history in this city guide.
Ushuaia was originally inhabited by the Yámana (the indigenous people of the Tierra del Fuego). They were later joined in the eastern part of the Tierra del Fuego by the British missionaries. However, several epidemics wiped out a majority of the native populations (exact numbers don’t exist), leading to a very small number of residents living in the area. To combat the problem, President Roca decided in 1896 that a prison was to be set-up in Ushuaia.
He intended to recover the Argentine population with the prison to ensure sovereignty over the Tierra del Fuego. Due to its location it was assumed that prisoners could not escape. Much of the infrastructure in Ushuaia was build by these prisoners. One of the most famous examples is the railway, which is nowadays known as the End of the World train. The prison was in operation until the year 1947. Around the same time a naval base was established at Ushuaia. Today, you can find the Museo Maritimo de Ushuaia here.
What to see in Ushuaia
Ushuaia is located in a beautiful area, so many tours are being offered to explore the area. You can either choose to go on a boat tour or explore the Tierra del Fuego by train or bus. Our hotel also offered some hiking tours.
We opted for the Ushuaia Navigation as we wanted to see the penguins. I will be covering our trip later on this month, so be sure to check back to our specials section.
- Avenida Prefectura de Naval
- Armada Argentina Naval Base
- San Martin Street
- Iglesia Nuestra Señora de la Merced
- Plaza Islas Malvinas
- End of World Sign
- End of the World Museum
We spent an afternoon strolling through the city center and the above places are basically the main sights we came across. Of course taking a touristy picture next to the end of World Sign is a must, but personally I much preferred just walking along the pier looking over the water. The clouds above the mountains created a magical atmosphere that I was just happy to enjoy while being there.
Another interesting spot, is the Plaza Islas Malvinas, with several signs explaining some of Ushuaia’s history. If you want to buy some souvenirs or have a coffee you just need to walk up five minutes from the harbour and you reach San Martin street, the main street in Ushuaia, where you can basically find everything you need. On our way there we also spotted the colourful Iglesia Nuestra Señora de la Merced.
My impression of Ushuaia
To be honest there’s not a lot of sightseeing to be done. Ushuaia is a little town, which was pretty much emptied out in the afternoon when we walked through there. However, walking along the bay and just enjoying the incredible nature surrounding the city is a beautiful way of spending your time here. My personal highlight, however, was the Beagle Channel Navigation. For more details on this, be sure to check back on traveluxblog!
What are your thoughts about Ushuaia? Have you been to Ushuaia before or have plans to travel there?