Photo Story: The “End of the World” in Ushuaia

Ushuaia is located at the bottom of Argentina and its population of 60,000 can lay claim to living in the world’s southernmost city.  Its location in the Tierra del Fuego region beneath the peaks of Montes Martial make it popular destination for hikers.  It’s compact size and tourist friendly amenities keep it on the backpacker trail.  And being directly opposite the infamous Drake Passage makes it the starting point for the majority of Antarctica-bound cruises, attracting travellers such as myself.

I arrived in Ushuaia on Christmas Eve ready to experience my most unique festive season in years.  Three days later and I am about to board my Antarctica cruise feeling refreshed, energised and excited.  It has been the perfect amount of time to recover from the long journey from London, eliminate any remaining ‘daily life’ stress from my mind and prepare for the ‘journey of a lifetime’ that awaits me.

So what can you do in three days in Ushuaia?

Get a Passport Stamp

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Most people arrive in Ushuaia on domestic flights from Buenos Aires, having already had their passport stamped upon entry into Argentina.  But wouldn’t it be cool to have a stamp that validates your arrival at the world’s southernmost city?  If, like me, you think it would be then all you need to do is ask!  Simply approach the tourist information booth at the airport – you can’t miss it, it will have a queue of other travellers holding out their passports for the corny, but fun stamp.

Go Shopping

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San Marin is the main commercial street of Ushuaia and has everything you need for an afternoon of shopping.  Whether it’s changing money, sending a postcard, shopping for souvenirs, replacing travel essentials you forgot to pack, booking a tour, buying snacks at the supermarket or relaxing over a drink and meal, this is the place to head.  It becomes busier later in the day but if the footpaths become too crowded for you, simply look up at the snowcapped mountains hovering over the town and remember you are in South America – relax!

Send a Postcard

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We may be living in a digital era, but sending postcards is still popular with most travellers.  Unless you are boarding a ship to Antarctica, the southernmost post office to send a postcard from is location in the Tierra del Fuego National Park.  Look out for a little shack on a jetty by the water and buy your stamp!

Go for a Walk

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Not only is Ushuaia a compact city easy to navigate on foot, but there are a number of nearby destinations perfect for hiking.  There are plenty of options in Tierra del Fuego and if you don’t fancy leaving town, Glacier Martial provides an enjoyable alternative.  To make it a day trip you can start the walk from the centre of town, but if you are less energetic a short taxi ride for around AR$46 will take you to the chair lift.  To continue your laziness, take the chair left up to the Glacier but if you have a burst of energy, put on your walking shoes and head up.  Once you reach the glacier the return trip is all downhill and within 2 hours you will be back in town, depending how long you stop for tea and cake at the charming little tea shop at the base of the chair lift.  It’s not the glacier itself that attracts hikers, but the views of the Beagle Channel so don’t forget to turn around and enjoy it as you head towards the Glacier.

Enjoy the View

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Ushuaia’s harbour is a key part of the town, both economically and geographically.  The port of the Beagle Channel runs parallel to San Marin and provides beautiful views, particular in the early evening when the light transforms the harbour into a landscape painting.  There are park benches scattered along the footpath and it’s a great place to sit, empty your mind and stare out to sea.

Be a Tourist

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Ushuaia’s location as the world’s southernmost city appears to be the core of its tourism strategy.  It starts with “welcome to the end of the world” at the airport, continues with the ‘train ride to the end of the world’ into Tierra del Fuego National Park and partners its proximity to Antarctica with walls painted like the one in this photo.  It’s a bit corny and its touristy but sometimes it’s ok to be a tourist and just have fun with it.

Enjoy the Sunset

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One of the attractions of Ushuaia in the summer is the long days.  The sun doesn’t set for long before it starts rising again and the changing light over the Beagle Channel is simply stunning.

Take a Photo or Two

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I arrived in Ushuaia with the biggest collection of memory cards I’ve ever travelled with and am prepared to take thousands of photos in Antarctica.  I didn’t expect to take so many before I even boarded the boat!  Ushuaia is an incredibly picturesque city and landscape photographers will find it hard to stop shooting.  This truly is an incredible part of the world – and I haven’t even left for Antarctica yet!

 

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Kellie is a traveller and photographer who is most at home when exploring the world beyond it. Through the intersection of her travel, writing and photography passions, she shares her experiences to inspire others to create there own. The desire to live life instead of existing through it has introduced Kellie to inspirational locations throughout seven continents and from this a passion for landscape and wildlife photography has evolved. She feels a particular connection to the polar regions and Africa. You can see more of her photography at www.kellienetherwoodphotography.com

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