The busy port city and adventure hub of Ushuaia is often referred to as the “end of the world” for its far southern setting in the Argentine province of Tierra del Fuego. From the glacial peaks of the Fuegian Andes to the Beagle Channel, stunning scenery abounds. Here’s how to make the most of it.
Things to do in Ushuaia
Welcome to Ushuaia
Perched on the southernmost tip of South America, it’s no wonder Ushuaia is referred to as the "End of the World." The windswept town’s icy proximity to Antarctica magnetizes tourists, who are drawn to the penguin colonies of Isla Yecapasela, glaciers, and Martial Mountains. Boat trips and epic hikes reveal the pristine beauty of the Argentinean city, part of Patagonia’s Tierra del Fuego National Park, which is best appreciated in its entirety on an End of the World train ride. A scattering of quaint hotels, souvenir shops, and restaurants serving the local speciality spider crab make the town a comfortable place to rest between adventures.
Top 10 attractions in Ushuaia
Running north from the Beagle Channel, the Tierra del Fuego National Park offers visitors the chance to follow easy walking trails along scenic rivers and bays. The park’s forests of beech are home to coastal birds such as cormorants and albatross. Argentina’s only coastal national park protects the southernmost stretch of Andean-Patagonian forest, ideal for hiking, climbing and outdoor water sports. Bring a kayak to sail from remote beaches, and your binoculars to spot otters, beavers, petrels and condors. Walking trails lead to the park’s beaver dam, a lookout over the stunning coastal scenery of Lapataia Bay, and around Lago Roca. A seaside trail connects Ensenada and Lapataia for more lovely views of the coast. Campers can stay overnight in the park at campsites at Pipo, Ensenada and Lago Roca....
The frigid Beagle Channel provides a watery highway for the world’s southernmost city, Ushuaia, en route to the icy Antarctic. The strait separates Argentina’s Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego, to the north, from remote Chilean islands like Nueva, Picton and Navarino to the south of the channel. Boat cruises cast off from Ushuaia to visit the lighthouse and islands that are home to penguin and sea lion colonies in the strait. In summer, boats sail across the Channel to Puerto Williams in Chile. Intrepid visitors take to the waters in canoes, and cruises sail off for nature walks on the Bridges Islands to spot fur seals and sea lions....
The Les Eclaireurs Lighthouse marks the dangerous rocks at the entrance to Ushuaia Bay in the Beagle Channel. Locals often wrongfully call this the Lighthouse at the End of the World, which is technically incorrect because the lighthouse Jules Verne made famous in his novel lies further east, but it’s oddly accurate, too; it’s the last mainland reference most sailors see on their way to Antarctica. Located just five miles from Ushuaia, Les Eclaireurs Lighthouse is a common destination for short tourist sailing trips. The waters surrounding the lighthouse are a sea-goers dream, as penguins and both South American and fur sea lions are spotted regularly. Bird life is abundant, too, with black eyebrow albatrosses, steamer ducks and upland geese often seen on the nearby islands. Many tours also include landing on Karelo Island....
Lapataia Bay is where Argentina’s RN 3 road ends, a road that is a continuation of the Pan-American Highway, which stretches all the way to Alaska. Roadies are always stopping to pose next to the sign here in Lapataia Bay, and it’s worth thinking about how far they’ve come to get there! According to the sign, the distance between this spot and Alaska is a whopping 11,090 miles (17,848 kilometers). Most visitors don’t take the land route to Lapataia Bay, however, and instead fly into Argentina. The bay is within Parque National Tierra del Fuego, a popular day trip from Ushuaia, which sits only 10 miles away. The park offers a chance to get out into nature, overlook azure lakes and bays, walk through native beech forests and in season, catch both the firebush, which blooms bright red, and the spooky-looking orange “pan de indio,” golf ball-sized mushrooms that grow on some of the trees....
Lago Escondido, which translates to Hidden Lake, is surrounded by the Fuegian Andes just north of Ushuaia, Argentina. Many tourists choose to visit on a day-trip from Ushuaia; however, Hosteria Petral provides a lakeside basecamp for anybody interested in taking advantage of its status as a popular sport-fishing destination. Brown and Rainbow trout can be caught in the lake itself, while brook trout are most often landed near stream inlets or around the many beaver dams that surround the lake. Other popular activities in the area include horseback riding along the lakeshore, boat and kayak tours on the crystal-clear waters, and, oddly, Canadian-style wildlife watching. Lago Escondido is an excellent place to watch Canadian beavers, which were introduced to southern Patagonia in 1946 with false hope to spur a declining fur trade....
For the ultimate end of the world adventure, ride the world’s southernmost train to the Tierra del Fuego National Park. The one-hour narrow-gauge journey leaves from outside Ushuaia, following the 100-year route of the historic Convict Train. The route crosses the Pip River across a wooden bridge, past the Macarena Waterfall and a reconstruction of a Yamanas Indian campsite. Once inside the national park, the train passes beech forests, peat bogs and reminders of the timber-felling worksites worked by Ushuaia prisoners from 1901 to 1941. The route then returns to the End of the World Station outside Ushuaia or travels to the National Park Station. Along the way, an informative bilingual guide (English and Spanish) provides a history of the Convict Train and this remote part of the world....
Overlooking the icy waters of the Beagle Channel, Estancia Harberton offers a glimpse into the history and wildlife of Argentina’s far-flung Tierra del Fuego. The oldest estancia (farm) in this part of the world, the still-working property dates back to 1887 and was established by English missionary Thomas Bridges. Bridges founded the Anglican Mission at Ushuaia in 1870. Today, the estancia remains in the hands of Bridges’ descendants, and it was declared an Argentine National Historical Monument in 1999. A visit reveals the original buildings of wood and corrugated iron, and terraced gardens. The sheep have long gone but the cattle remain. While you’re here you can also walk amongst a penguin colony at the estancia’s Yecapasela Reserve....
The Esmeralda Lagoon hike is a popular afternoon and evening activity just outside of Ushuaia. Set in a wide valley in the Fuegian Andes, Esmeralda Lagoon is ringed by native cohiue and lenga forests....
The Ushuaia Maritime museum shows off much of Tierra Del Fuego’s impressive maritime history with few original artifacts. The majority of the displays include scale models of tall ships and merchant vessels that first plied these waters, maps and charts used by early explorers, including Ferdinand Magellan, Francis Drake, Thomas Cavendish and Oliver van Noort, and the first voyage of the HMS Beagle. Outside, a replica of the San Juan de Salvamento lighthouse stands alongside a decaying example of canoes used by the island’s American Indian populations. The Maritime Museum is one of four museums housed in Ushuaia’s Old Prison Building, so it’s fitting that the final exhibit tells the story of the Argentinean navy vessel 1 de Mayo, which carried the first prisoners to Tierra Del Fuego in 1896. It’s a natural transition, as the next exhibit marks the entrance to the Old Prison Museum....
Celebrate your visit to the world’s southernmost city by exploring the Museo del Fin del Mundo. The museum focuses on Ushuaia’s natural and indigenous history, including a menagerie of stuffed animals and the tools used to hunt them. The collection is displayed in a series of interconnecting rooms, starting off with travelers and ethnography, including mementos of past visitors such as the shipwrecked figurehead of the HMS Duchess of Albany, which came to grief off the coast of Tierra del Fuego in 1893. The grocery store exhibit is a hit with kids of all ages, displaying the essential shopping items of Ushuaia’s far-flung citizens in times gone by. Seabirds like albatrosses and petrels are featured in the Birds of Fire room, along with penguins, shorebirds, ducks, swans, flamingos and waterfowl. The final exhibit displays the safes, security doors, sturdy furniture and log books of Argentina’s National Bank....
Top activities in Ushuaia
Frequently Asked Questions
The answers provided below are based on answers previously given by the tour provider to customers’ questions.
What are the top things to do in Ushuaia?
What are the top activities in Ushuaia?
Top activities in Ushuaia include:
Discover the top things to do in Ushuaia.
- Walk with the Penguins in Martillo Island
- Tierra del Fuego National Park Half-Day Tour with Optional End of the World Train Ride
- Beagle Channel Sailing Tour: Islands, Penguins and Estancia Harberton
- Beagle Channel and Sea Lions Island Catamaran Cruise
- Emerald Lagoon Trekking from Ushuaia
Discover the top things to do in Ushuaia.
What are the top things to do near Ushuaia?
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