Written by Robert Raymond Ingledew on 04 Jul, 2007
I have been only three times in my lifetime to Ushuaia, and have enjoyed each trip more than the previous one. The beauty is incredible and difficult to describe in words. As a European tourist said: "It is a combination of Norway and…Read More
I have been only three times in my lifetime to Ushuaia, and have enjoyed each trip more than the previous one. The beauty is incredible and difficult to describe in words. As a European tourist said: "It is a combination of Norway and Switzerland". There is a beautiful glacier four miles from the downtown (Martial Glacier, at a walking distance) and many more navigating the Beagle Channel towards Punta Arenas. This four-day cruise, the Mare Australis, is rather expensive, but is one of the ultimate experiences I would be delighted to take, if my budget allowed paying for it.http://www.australis.com/EN/index.phpUshuaia is small, and unless if you intend to go trekking, three days might be enough for enjoying its most outstanding beauties: the city itself (a different scenery of the mountain from each corner), the Martial Glacier, the navigation of the Beagle Channel (half a day) and the Tierra del Fuego National Park. To which you can add the Prison Museum, the Aquarium and the End of the World Museum.I was not able to visit the Prison Museum and the Aquarium (they were closed the day I intended to go), but thoroughly enjoyed the other tours.MARTIAL GLACIER: Unlike most glaciers I have seen, this one is on a mountain slope and offers incredible beauty. There is a chairlift that takes you up to the base of the glacier (the price is around $5) and from there on you can choose different trails to go up the glacier. I chose the one that runs along the side of the stream, and had a beautiful time. Be careful; the stream runs under the glacier, and where the ice is thin you could slide into the freezing water. No serious danger is involved, but it would be an unpleasant experience. So do not walk above the ice without a guide. In any case, the scenery is fantastic, and I know you will enjoy it.A taxi to the glacier will cost $3 each way. Just send the taxi home, and ask the office to request one once you have come back down.NAVIGATION FO THE BEAGLE CHANNEL. There are different options, that cost between $30 and $60. I would not choose the most expensive one to Penguin Island, unless you do not intend to visit the Puerto Madryn or Cabo Virgenes penguin colonies. You will visit a sea lion island, a bird island, and will also have the chance of trekking on an island from where you will have panoramic view of Ushuaia and of the whole area. It is really worthwhile. Don't miss it. You have the option of doing this tour on a catamaran, on a small motor boat, or even on a sail boat.TIERRA DEL FUEGO NATIONAL PARK: Bahía Lapataia and Lago Roca are really beautiful. Traffic vans charge some $8 for the round-trip, end at the campground of the national park, and you can stay as long as you wish and come back when you wish. Highly recommended.TRAIN TO THE END OF THE WORLD. It is an enjoyable trip, but rather expensive, and it repeats the same route as the traffic vans. So either you take the previous tour, or this one.CERRO CASTOR SKI CENTER: I have not been there, but have seen photos, and it is really beautiful. It is the lowest ski center in all Argentina, and maybe in the whole world.Since you can visit practically all of Ushuaia in three days, you will want to continue to El Calafate by bus or plane to see the Perito Moreno glaciers, El Chaltén and many other beauties in the Glacier's National Park.There are direct bus services from Ushuaia to Río Gallegos with immediate combination to El Calafate. Some transfers are made without even going into Río Gallegos. The best service is that of TAQSA/MARGA. Have a look at their web page:http://www.taqsa.com.ar/They feature comfortable semi-bed services, and are the most reliable company from Ushuaia to Río Gallegos and El Calafate. Travel takes some eight hours to Río Gallegos and 12 hours to El Calafate, the South American Alaska.From Río Gallegos towards Puerto Madryn, Las Grutas, Córdoba, and Buenos Aires, the best service by far is that of Andesmar.www.andesmar.com.arTake advantage of the favorable exchange rate to the dollar now, or you may regret it later. Four years ago, you would have spent half the amount of dollars you will need now, but it is still cheap for you.Enjoy your stay in southern Patagonia. Close
Recently there have been problems in radar equipment in the Buenos Aires airports, and that has been causing delays in many flights due to the need of complying with safety requirements. If you rely heavily on airplane services, your travel plans could run…Read More
Recently there have been problems in radar equipment in the Buenos Aires airports, and that has been causing delays in many flights due to the need of complying with safety requirements. If you rely heavily on airplane services, your travel plans could run down the drain. On the other hand, foreigners are charged higher rates (approximately 80% more than nationals and residents) and that increases the expenses, while bus services are incredibly modern and comfortable, and have still very low rates.If you wanted to go to Ushuaia on a bus that would mean 36 hours to Río Gallegos, and another eight hours from there to Ushuaia. Obviously, even with a premium bed service (seats that lie back completely flat like a bed) that is too long a trip. And in any case, the premium bed service only goes down as far as Comodoro Rivadavia or Caleta Olivia, some four hours south of Puerto Madryn. From there onwards, you have the option of the classical bed service (something like business class on international flights) or semi-bed. These are very comfortable, but distances are long.Since there are places worth visiting between Ushuaia and Buenos Aires, let me give you my personal suggestions:1) Use the plane one way (from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia, and not on the way back, in case you lose international connections). Travel takes about four hours. You can fly either to Ushuaia, to Río Gallegos (from there it is four hours on the bus to the glaciers at El Calafate, or eight hours on the bus to Ushuaia.). There is a very good bus company (TAQSA, or Transportes Automotores Quebek) that features comfortable semi-bed services; they serve no meals on board, but they stop where you can eat at affordable prices. The other company TecnoTrans, by what I have heard from passengers, seems to not be as reliable as TAQSA or MARGA, that belongs to the same owners and uses the same buses.TAQSA has a direct bus service from Ushuaia to El Calafate (12 hours), although they will probably change buses in Río Gallegos or at their stop for lunch after crossing the Strait of Magellan on the ferry. 2) Of course, you always have the option of stopping at Las Grutas on the way down south, and at Puerto Madryn on the way back, and that you cut your travel in half both ways, enjoying beautiful sceneries.3) The other option is to fly into Santiago de Chile, fly on LAN Chile to Punta Arenas, taking advantage of their visit Chile special fare, and then cross over to Ushuaia or El Calafate on the bus (there are direct bus services from Punta Arenas to both these cities. Or even traveling on the bus from Punta Arenas to Puerto Natales (four hours' travel), visiting the Torres del Paine National Park, and then continuing by bus from Puerto Natales to El Calafate (some five hours on the bus, with 2 services every day). To check the bus timetables from Puerto Natales to El Calafate, click here:http://www.turismo.elcalafate.gov.ar/Travel from Calafate to Puerto Natales costs $12 to $17, depending on the bus company you use. Higher rates may apply in Chile; I am not sure.From Calafate to Río Gallegos travel takes four hours, and from there to Puerto Madryn another 16 hours. For the first section, consult the same internet site I gave you above, and from Río Gallegos to Puerto Madryn the best service, by far is that ofwww.andesmar.com.arYou will need to stay three to five days at Puerto Madryn, depending on the season of the year. Whales arrive in June and leave in December, while penguins arrive in September and leave in April. The beach season starts in December and ends in March, but you can have nice days for the beach from October to April, depending on weather conditions; during the Summer months, Puerto Madryn can be warmer than Mar del Plata and the beaches are beautiful. Sea lions and sea elephants will be there the wh Close
Written by Robert Raymond Ingledew on 21 Dec, 2006
When you walk along the coastal avenue and turn left towards Bahía Encerrada, you just imagine how beautiful it must be to navigate the channel. The city is beautiful from any angle; it is just below the Andes. As I said in my previous experience,…Read More
When you walk along the coastal avenue and turn left towards Bahía Encerrada, you just imagine how beautiful it must be to navigate the channel. The city is beautiful from any angle; it is just below the Andes. As I said in my previous experience, the distance from the downtown to the Martial Glacier is only five to six miles. Everything is so near. You have two options for navigating the channel: one is to Isla de los Pinguinos (Penguin Island; it leaves only in the afternoon) and the other one goes to a lighthouse, to Isla de los Pájaros (Birds Island), to Isla de los Lobos (Seals Island) and to another island where you do two hours trekking and have a panoramic view of the Beagle Channel. This tour costs 110 pesos (37 dollars) and is the option I took. The same tour without the trekking costs 5 dollars less. The tour to Penguin Island is more expensive: 190 pesos, or 63 dollars. Winds are strong in the Beagle Channel, so the tour can be modified, either regarding the order of the tour, or even shortened if winds threaten navigation. In our case they changed the itinerary but we saw everything.
On board we were served a snack (sweet cookies in abundance and soft drinks, coffee and tea). There was no additional cost for the snack. We first visited the Les Eclareirs lighthouse, then we navigated to the Seals Island where we saw a number of seals, but mostly a large variety of birds. Our next stop was the Birds Island, where we saw literally thousands of birds, mostly Royal and Imperial Cormorans. I really enjoyed this beautiful sight. On the way back we did a 2-hour trekking on an island where the Ona Indians used to live, paid attention to the vegetation in the island, but mostly enjoyed the panoramic scenery of the city of Ushuaia (it was near enough to take panoramic photos). You have 3 options for taking this tour: you can go on a sail boat, on a small catamaran, or on a motorboat. I was assigned to this 12-passenger boat, and really enjoyed the trip. We left at 9.30am and arrived back at 1.30pm. As soon as I got back I went to have a cup of coffee at the YPF/Repsol gasoline station that is just in front of the place from where traffic vans leave to the Tierra del Fuego National Park (Lago Roca or Bahía Lapataia). Traffic vans run every hour, the round trip costs 25 pesos (8 dollars) and you can come back on any timetable of the same company.
As the traffic van was going first to Lapataia bay (in any case, I saw it on the way back), and I wanted to go to lake Roca, I got off the traffic van at the crossroads and walked less than a mile along the river and up to the lake. All the scenery is beautiful, but in honor to honesty, I must say that the scenery is more beautiful in the areas surrounding the city of Ushuaia. I walked through a lenga forest, and came to the most beautiful campground I have ever seen: Lago Roca. It is in the forest, your tent is protected from winds by the forest, you are just 500 feet away from the lake, bathrooms are flawless, and they have a very nice cafeteria and convenience store in the campgrounds. If you go camping, I do not have the slightest doubt that this is your very best option in Ushuaia.
The road from Lake Roca to Lapataia bay is also beautiful. I forgot to say that you have to pay a 6 dollar admission fee to the National Park. There is no additional fee for the other tours. At lake Roca you can fish rainbow trout in the lake or in Lapataia river, but being near the city of Ushuaia, trout are relatively small (average 2 to 3 pound) and chances are relative. You will also have an amazing opportunity of filming and taking photos of wild rabbits. They are all over the place, they are even considered to be a plague, but they are protected inside the National Park. There are also different kinds of birds. The same evening I visited the End of the World Museum (Museo del Fin del Mundo), where you see dozens of different types of conserved birds of the area, including condors and cormorans, part of the hull of a shipwreck, a century-old grocery and a century-old bank cashiers office. Although the museum is small, I found it very interesting. As I said in another report, in two days you can see nearly everything in this area. But stay at least 4 days in case it rains some day, and enjoy this fantastic scenery relaxing.
One caution: I took 17 thirty-six photo Kodak films for my whole trip, and used them nearly all in Ushuaia. So take at least twenty photo films with you. In any case, films are cheaper here than at El Calafate, so restock your films here. I bought the 5 film pack (Kodak Pro-Image 100 ASA) for 15 dollars in Ushuaia. I can buy them for a lower price in Córdoba, but they are far more expensive at El Calafate. From Ushuaia you can also take cruises to Punta Arenas (Mare Australis, 5 day navigation) and to the Antarctic. This last tour costs 3000 dollars per person. Enjoy your stay in Ushuaia. I know you will never forget this destination.
Written by chipper on 11 Oct, 2000
Our final day at Torres del Paine, we drove by the Great Salten--a big waterfall with lots of force heading over the rocks. The falls were about 40 feet high with a strong current of green-blue water. We were impressed by this until…Read More
Our final day at Torres del Paine, we drove by the Great Salten--a big waterfall with lots of force heading over the rocks. The falls were about 40 feet high with a strong current of green-blue water. We were impressed by this until we made it to Iguazu.
On the way out of the park, the guanacos were very friendly, and several of our trip mates went out to play with them.
Outside of Puerto Natales are the Cuevas del Milodon. A big cave, and perhaps interesting to some, but to us it was just something to put on a t-shirt without a lot of value.
In Puerto Natales, we tracked down Mauricio's cousin's restaurant. It had some tourists in it, so we figured we would try it. I had salmon for $3.75 and a cerveza for $1.25--quite a deal and with nice portions.
Our hotel had a problem with the heat in the rooms--WAY TOO MUCH (this was in November/springtime). This made the 5:30 AM breakfast less fun. By 6 AM we were on the bus and heading for Argentina. We crossed the border (and woke the agents on the Chilean side), but the Argentinos were ready for us.
Rio Gallegos was unremarkable--but it did have interesting stores.
Trey and I found a shop that sold porno CD's--we thought it would be novel to learn Spanish from it--imagine the vocabulary you would have!!!
Written by Peregrine on 29 Aug, 2000
Ushuaia is the most southerly city in the world, as the tourist literature tells you every other sentence. 54° South. It is in that tail end of South America called Tierra del Fuego, which is, for the most part, a scattering of thousands…Read More
Ushuaia is the most southerly city in the world, as the tourist literature tells you every other sentence. 54° South. It is in that tail end of South America called Tierra del Fuego, which is, for the most part, a scattering of thousands of islands belonging primarily to Chile. Only this eastern corner of the largest island, also called Tierra del Fuego, belongs to Argentina. Being closest to Antarctica, Ushuaia is a major staging ground for expeditions and excursions to the South Pole. It is also the end of the Pan American Highway, the tail end of the Andes and one of the most spectacular spots on earth. The blue of the sky reflected in the quiet waters of the Beagle Channel (named for the ship that sailed through here with a young naturalist named Darwin on board, not the dog), the white of the snowcapped Andes and the green of the moss covered forests. Pristine and spectacular.
The city is not quite as spectacular. It curves around a small harbor and then sprawls up the side of the Martial Mountains in a rather hodge-podge fashion. From missionary post to penal colony to Naval base, the city is now mostly a tourist town. The town center is fairly straight foreword, with plenty of shops and restaurants, but the rest of town is sort of jumble of wooden houses of every description and design. I've read some rather snide comments about the town, but its fun and a little funky and, remember, this is basically a frontier town, hundreds of miles from nowhere and in a lot of ways it reminded be of young ski towns growing faster than they could build.
The people reminded me of ski town residents as well. Healthy and young and fit. Warm, sensible clothes accessorized with well-worn hiking boots is the general dress code. There are lots of outdoor activities here: cross-country skiing, hiking, fishing, snowmobiling. More sedentary activities include: museums, shopping, cruises to view wildlife on Seal Island and Bird Island, and a train ride through the National Park.
Written by Robert Raymond Ingledew on 13 Apr, 2007
The navigation of the Beagle Channel (Canales Fueguinos) is one of the most fashionable tours in Southern Argentina, and also the most expensive one. The Mare Australis ships that navigate the Beagle Channel to Punta Arenas are always in high demmand.But thee are also…Read More
The navigation of the Beagle Channel (Canales Fueguinos) is one of the most fashionable tours in Southern Argentina, and also the most expensive one. The Mare Australis ships that navigate the Beagle Channel to Punta Arenas are always in high demmand.But thee are also cheaper options.You have at least four options for navigating the Beagle Channel. 1) A luxury four day cruise to Punta Arenas, watching glaciers and many unforgettable places. Unfortunately, it is not cheap. Here you have the link at rates, you can always return on a bus: www.australis.com/2) The "basic" Beagle Channel tour (2 hours of navigation for some 30 dollars per person); 3) The "basic" tour plus trekking, for some 35 dollars per person; 4) "Penguin Island" for 60 dollars. There is no port fee, nor any national park fee involved in these tours. I took the third option, the basic tour plus trekking and really enjoyed it. All these tours depart from the port of Ushuaia, where you should arrive about half an hour before departure time for boarding passes and documentation. Navigating in front of Ushuaia is always a pleasure. We start off seeing the city in the beautiful scenery of the Andes covered with snow in the background. We then visit a lighthouse in the Beagle Channel (LES ECLAIREURS) where we will see seals and birds, then the Birds island, and after this we will disembark on an island and walk about an hour and a half. During the tekking, the guide will explain (in Spanish) the typical vegetation of the Beagle Channel, and we will reach a panoramic viewpoint from where we will have a 360 degree view of the Beagle Channel. Although I prefer navigating the lakes in Bariloche, this tour is a must if you want to have the complete picture. A snack will be served on board (mate, tea or coffee and as many cookies as you want).Other places you can visit in Ushuaia: I have already spoken of the Martial Glacier, of lake Roca, so let me continue giving you the whole picture: Cascadas del Río Pipo. A small stream with some waterfalls. A very pleasant place to visit near Ushuaia. Lake Fagnano. The best trout fishing in Argentina after rivers Grande and Menéndez. At Lake Fagnano I fished a very nice trout from the coast some years ago. But if you go trolling you stand a far better chance of fishing a six to ten pound trout… If you would like to stay there overnight, there is a 3 or 4 star hotel there (Hostería Lago Fagnano) with similar prices to those of Ushuaia, next to where the Turbio river runs into lake Fagnano. I fished a very nice 20-inch salmon in that river mouth many years ago, from the coast. Lake Escondido. On the way to lake Fagnano. Traffic vans go to both lakes at a cost of some 17 dollars for the round trip. Or you can buy a fishing expedition for some 110 dollars, including fishing gear, meal and transportation. Fishing tours in Patagonia are far more expensive than this one.Museo del Fin del Mundo (End of the World Musuem): A very small museum you can visit in about one hour, with very interesting things to see, like embalmed birds, black and white photos of the Ona Indians, elements the Indians used, uniforms of the local prison, that was the Alcatraz of Argentina, a National Bank cashier’s office, a century old convenience store, the hull of a shipwreck… Give it a try. I was not able to go to the Acquarium (when I went it was closed) but have been told that it is very interesting. And the building where the prison existed has also been converted into a Museum. At the Aeroclub Ushuasia (airplane club) you can take a tour to fly above the Andes, that are 3 miles away from the city and that are only 3,500 to 5,000 feet tall, but that are covered with snow all the year round. Cost of the other tours are (December 2006 prices): Traffic Van to the Tierra del Fuego National Park: 25 pesos for the round trip.Taxi to the Martial Glacier: 11 pesos each way.Traffic van to Lake Fagnano, where you can fish nice trout: 50 pesos for the round trip. At that time the US dollar was worth 3 pesos, now it is worth 3.90, but prices in pesos could have doubled during this time. A one star hotel was costing fifty dollars per night, single or double occupation, two and a half years ago.Welcome to the end of the world… the city of Ushuaia. Robert Raymond Ingledew Close
I stayed many years ago inside this National Park, and really enjoyed it. Unfortunately, the hostel where I stayed, Alakush, was burnt down and never reconstructed. It was next to the bridge of the Lapataia river, where the largest trout fished half a century ago…Read More
I stayed many years ago inside this National Park, and really enjoyed it. Unfortunately, the hostel where I stayed, Alakush, was burnt down and never reconstructed. It was next to the bridge of the Lapataia river, where the largest trout fished half a century ago weighed 17 kilos (38 pounds). I tried fishing in the river, it has beautiful pools, but I was unsuccessful. I also participated in a fishing competition in Lake Roca. It was a rainy day (better for fishing) but I caught nothing. Other fishermen came back with two pound trout. In other words, it is not a fishing paradise, but you will probably fish medium trout. The scenery is very pleasant and, next to lake Roca, there is one of the best campgrounds I have seen in Argentina. There is excellent protection against strong winds, the trees are tall and the forest is very nice. It is very near the shore of the lake, where you will see many wild rabbits running around. They are considered here to be a plague but as they are inside the National Park you are not allowed to hunt them. The distance between Ushuaia and Lake Roca is 20 miles. It is inside the National Park, so you will have to pay an admission fee, though it's not as high as in Iguazú or Bariloche; it is about $6. Transportation to the park is not expensive, $8 for the round trip in a traffic van with return open, so you may come back when you wish, at any time and any day. There is a good food store at the campground, a nice cafeteria, and they even offer kayak tours on Lake Roca. Sanitary services at this campground are excellent. Traffic vans leave from the gasoline station next to the port. You can even walk from Lake Roca to Bahia Lapataia (2 or 3 miles away) and come back on the traffic van from there. If you do, you will enjoy walking along the beautiful Lapataia River and Laguna Verde (Green lagoon). You can also fish robalos (sea bass) in the sea at the bay. There is a train that covers the same route as the traffic vans, but it does not leave from the downtown, and is expensive. The name of the train is "Tren del Fin del Mundo" (End of the World Train) and it has a museum at the central station. It all depends on how much you want to spend. To have a look at it, click on this link, and then on the British flag. http://www.trendelfindelmundo.com.ar/ The whole scenery is very pleasant, either on the traffic van or on the train. Green meadows, forests, Lake Roca, River Lapataia, the green lagoon and then a panoramic view of the Beagle channel, with the chance of fishing rainbow trout or sea bass. It is one of the most beautiful spots near Ushuaia. I have not been to the Cerro Castor ski center, as I went in summer, but want to give you at least the links so that you can decide if you wish to go. Traffic vans do not go there during the Summer season, and it is 25 miles away from the downtown. It is the newest ski center in Argentina. Mountains there are only 3500 feet high, but weather is so cold all the year round, that snow lasts during the whole ski season. Here you have information on this ski center which has 19 runs, and where Nordic ski is practiced. Snow rackets are also used. http://www.interpatagonia.com/castor/index_i.html
Modern lifts, skiing and snowboarding school, and all the services that complement the infrastructure and Ushuaia‘s scenery, convert Castor Mount into a very attractive ski center. A taxi to this ski resort and back, plus two hours waiting time, could cost you $50. Or you can send the taxi back, stay as long as you like, and call for a taxi once you are through. The taxi will probably take about 45 minutes to arrive. In this case, you will probably pay $25 each way. These prices are per taxi, not per person..There is a chairlift at Cerro Castor, that should cost $10 per person. It is not inside the national park, so there is no admission fee apart from the cost of the chairlilft. Enjoy your stay in Ushuaia. I know you will.
THE MARTIAL GLACIER: I had walked towards the Martial Glacier during my second trip to Ushuaia (1982) but at that time there was no chairlift, so I only walked part of the trail. Now, it is far easier. You have the option of walking up…Read More
THE MARTIAL GLACIER: I had walked towards the Martial Glacier during my second trip to Ushuaia (1982) but at that time there was no chairlift, so I only walked part of the trail. Now, it is far easier. You have the option of walking up to the glacier, about five miles each way, or taking a taxi to the base, going up on the chair lift, and then walking for another hour or so. After ten minutes you are already bordering the glacier. I chose this last alternative. The taxi drive only cost $4 each way. There is no need to leave the taxi waiting. Once you have come back down, ask the chairlift office to call a taxi, and the taxi will arrive in a matter of minutes. This time I went twice. The first day it was raining and I preferred to not get soaked on the chairlift and to not risk my camcorder and photo camera. So I just took some photos of the nearby stream, next to which there is a tearoom, and ran back to the taxi. The second time I went, the weather had improved, and although there was a menace of rain, I took the risk. Then the sun started to shine, so I went up on the chairlift, walked about half an hour up the mountainside bordering the stream and then the glacier, took some beautiful photos, and returned to the base just on time. It started to rain when I was getting into the taxi. There are different paths to go up towards the glacier, but I preferred to take the one that borders the stream, since it seemed safer, and also because it was a nice landscape for filming and taking photos. But even though I did not walk on the ice, I slipped twice and fell on my camcorder. Although I had taken about ten photo films with me, I left most of them with my bag at the cafeteria to keep my hands free for using both the photo camera and the camcorder. I miscalculated the number of photos I was going to take and only took 3 films with me on the chairlift. Don’t make the same mistake. Take at least 5 films, you may need them. There is a cafeteria at the base of the chairlift, more expensive than in Ushuaia, but still affordable. On the top there is a rustic tearoom, where one small glass of Coca Cola costs five pesos ($1.75). I looked at the price list and just walked away. After walking up the stream for about ten minutes, you start to walk by the first pieces of ice. There is a notice warning you to not walk over the glacier. The reason is simple: the stream runs UNDER the ice, and if the ice is thin where you are walking, the ice could collapse and you could get soaked with frozen water and maybe even get cut with some sharp ice. This glacier may not be huge (the Perito Moreno glacier at El Calafate is far larger) but it has incredible beauty, since it covers the slopes of the mountain. It is one of the newest glaciers in Argentina and it is gradually getting smaller. Some experts say that within 50 years the Martial Glacier will no longer exist. Mountains are low in this area (the highest mountains are 5,000 feet tall) so with warmer weather that seems to be the fate of the glacier. I enjoyed seeing the stream disappear under the ice and appear again 100 or 200 feet further down, then disappear again. The trip up and down on the chairlift is enjoyable, since a good part of the time you are traveling above the beautiful stream that comes down from the glacier. On the way back to Ushuaia you pass in front of the most luxurious hotel in Ushuaia—Las Hayas, 5 stars—and then have a beautiful panoramic view of Ushuaia with the Beagle channel and its surrounding area. This tour, and the tour to lago Roca are probably the most beautiful ones you can take in Ushuaia. And this one is not expensive at all. Don’t miss it. Close
Written by Robert Raymond Ingledew on 12 Apr, 2007
THE CITY OF USHUAIA Ushuaia is delightful. Unfortunately, it is one of the three most expensive destinations in Argentina, together with El Calafate (the glaciers) and Las Leñas (the main ski center in Mendoza). Fortunately, everything is so near that you can enjoy it thoroughly…Read More
THE CITY OF USHUAIA Ushuaia is delightful. Unfortunately, it is one of the three most expensive destinations in Argentina, together with El Calafate (the glaciers) and Las Leñas (the main ski center in Mendoza). Fortunately, everything is so near that you can enjoy it thoroughly walking around the city. The Martial Glacier is only five miles away; there are panoramic viewpoints with incredible views within a distance of ten blocks, and even the port area deserves a visit if you are interested in taking beautiful and unforgettable photos. I arrived with rainy weather and was afraid that weather was going to spoil my vacations. How mistaken I was! Rain is so soft that it hardly bothers at all, and if you have brought a good raincoat, I suggest that you walk the streets even if it is raining. WHERE TO GO: The road from the old airport to the downtown gives you the opportunity to take beautiful photos, and when you come in from the new airport you can ask the taxi driver to take you along this road (quiero ir a Ushuaia por el camino del aeropuerto viejo o Bahia Redonda). The Municipal Tourist board has taken some incredible photos in this area. To have a glance, just click on www.ushuaia.gov.ar"and then on Ushuaia en imágenes. You will find 30 or 40 beautiful photos of the whole area. I will add some of my own at the end of each experience. A taxi to the Martial Glacier was costing three years ago US $4 each way, and you will have to pay US $8 to use the chairlift. If you are a senior citizen, you will pay less than half this rate, but you must request it, or they will charge you the normal fee. The Tierra del Fuego National Park is only 20 miles away, and a traffic van to get there costs 25 or 30 pesos ($8 or $10) for the round trip, depending on whether you go to Lago Roca (my choice) or to Bahía Lapataia (also beautiful, but with no infrastructure). At Lago Roca, there is a beautiful campground and a very nice cafeteria, a few steps away from the lake, near to which you will see many wild rabbits. The sanitary services there deserve a Top Rating. And, of course, you will want to navigate the Beagle Channel. Different options cost from $30 to $60 per passenger. It is the only expensive tour. The $60 tour takes you to Penguin Island (Isla de los Pinguinos). If you are not going to Puerto Madryn or Cabo Vírgenes, south of Río Gallegos, you might want to take this option. Otherwise, I would take the $30 tour, that includes some trekking. I really enjoyed it. You can also go on traffic vans to lake Fagnano, a fishing paradise, where you can fish very nice trout from the shore, or take a fishing tour with a local travel agency for $110 (the Menendez river could be the best option), including transportation, meals and motorboat, not expensive at all. You can still fish 10-pound trout in lake Fagnano. I have seen larger ones caught in the Turbio river, that runs into the lake, but that was a long time ago. You also have the chance of taking a bus to Río Grande, where they still fish 20-pound trout, but most fishing spots are private and they charge astronomical prices to allow you in. But just have a look at the photos in this link. All prices are stated in December 2006 US Dollars and could have increased between 50 and 100 percent since then. Another nice place to go, that I did not visit this time, is the Cerro Castor ski center. It is at an altitude of only 3,500 feet. Incredible, but true. It could be the lowest ski center in the whole world. I have been three times to Ushuaia, and have always found it beautiful. The first time was in 1970, when it was a small village of 3,000 inhabitants. The second time I went, in 1982, the population had doubled. Then the industrial boom set in, with many assembling plants taking advantage of industrial promotion plans. Population increased rapidly to 50,000 inhabitants and now it has settled at 60,000 inhabitants. Ushuaia is a free port but rents are expensive—small shops in shopping centers are costing up to six thousand dollars per month—and unfortunately customers help to pay those high rents. In other words, I would definitely prefer buying imported products at the Iguazu Falls free shop, and not here. Prices will be cheaper than at El Calafate, but in any case you have to walk around and compare prices. I was able to buy Kodak film at $3 each, but before they had requested $5 for the same 36-photo film. I checked out the prices of digital cameras, and the price was similar to what I could find in Cordoba and more expensive than at Iguazú. Eating is not an exception. An "all you cant eat" barbecue costs 28 pesos or $9 (without wine, which is expensive), and a cup of coffee with two croissants costs $3. If you are short of money, let me give you a tip: next to the port, where you will go anyway to take beautiful photos, there is a gasoline station with its cafeteria. There you can have a cup of coffee for 50 cents, and 30 cents for each croissant. And if you prefer cookies, buy a package of "Tía Maruca Pepas". They are tasty, I ate them every other day, and will be enough for 2 or 3 persons. An 8-ounce packet will cost less than a dollar. There you can also buy sandwiches and empanadas, maybe even ham and cheese pastry, for very affordable prices (empanadas cost half a dollar each). If you want a reasonably priced hamburger (I have seen them offered in Ushuaia for more than $5) go to the Cabo de Hornos hotel on the main street, which has a reasonably priced cafeteria, where a hamburger will cost you $3. By the way, the Cabo de Hornos hotel is a one-star hotel that charges lower prices than many others. WHERE TO STAY: The Hotel Las Hayas is the only five-star hotel in Ushuaia and could cost as much as $300 per night. An "in-between" option is the Hotel Albatros (3 stars, very nice) where I stayed the first time I went. It is a lovely hotel in the downtown, while the hotel Las Hayas is half way between Ushuaia and the Martial Glacier (two and a half miles away in each case). If you are looking for one-star hotels, the Mustapic hotel has a beautiful panoramic view and costs $40 per night for a single room, including breakfast, while the hotel Cabo de Hornos costs $50 for one person and slightly more for double occupancy. If you cannot afford those prices, and you are willing to do without cable TV and without a private bathroom, you can find a single room for $20-$25 dollars per night. The Municipal tourist board is on the main street (San Martin) and Juana Fadul, and can give you complete information on hotels, but these are the prices. I stayed at Pensión Velázquez, on Juana Fadul 361 corner Ernesto Campos, and paid $20 for a nice room, but without TV and without private bathroom. This price included breakfast. MUSEUMS: The Museo del Fin del Mundo (End of the World museum) is very small but very interesting. You will see all sorts of embalmed birds, including penguins, a century old store, an old bank office, and historical information and photos. The admission fee is minimal, and it is near the downtown. Ushuaia was originally the Alcatraz of Argentina, since the prison was the first public building constructed there, and the place where the prison functioned has also been converted into a museum. I was only there 3 days and did not have time to visit this museum nor the aquarium (the day I went to visit the aquarium, it was closed). From there I went on to the Cabo Virgenes penguin reserve and then to El Calafate to see the Glaciers.Welcome to the end of the world, Ushuaia, the most beautiful city in Southern Patagonia.Robert Raymond Ingledew Close
Written by Robert Raymond Ingledew on 23 Dec, 2006
Cerro Castor is the newest ski center in Argentina. Although mountains are not very high in Tierra del Fuego, climate is cold and snow lasts most of the year round. It is located at a distance of 15 miles from the city of Ushuaia, has…Read More
Cerro Castor is the newest ski center in Argentina. Although mountains are not very high in Tierra del Fuego, climate is cold and snow lasts most of the year round. It is located at a distance of 15 miles from the city of Ushuaia, has 15 tracks for ski, an elevation capacity of 4,000 persons per hour and a children's ski school with twenty instructors. It has 2 cable cars, one ski lift and one chair lift. Prices should be similar to the Martial Glacier chair lift, that costs 25 pesos (8 dollars) per person, and twenty percent of that value for Senior citizens over 65. The base of this ski center is at only 195 meters (650 feet) above sea level, and its maximum altitude is 1057 meters (3500 feet), also above sea level. Taxis to this center are not expensive, and as far as I know there is not traffic van to come here, except maybe during the ski season. If it runs in winter, the cost should be similar to that of the Tierra del Fuego National Park, some 10 dollars for a round trip in traffic van, and maybe 15 to 18 dollars each way for a ride on a taxi.
Snowboard is also practised here. The ski season is normally from the 9th of July to the 16th of October, and could vary slightly from one year to another. Remember that car rental here costs 50 dollars per day and that gasoline costs 1,20 dollars the gallon, half what it costs in most Argentina. However, distances are short, so taxis should be fine. On the other hand, the Martial Glacier also has a chair lift, and is located at a distance of only five miles from the downtown. It has a fantastic scenery. The chairlift goes up the mountain over a roaring stream that brings the water from the glacier. There is a cafeteria at the base of the glacier, and a tea room about a block away. I prefer the tea room because it is located in the woods and next to the stream, in a beautiful setting. The chair lift takes 15 minutes to reach the top. From there you must continue walking about one hour each way to reach the base of the glacier. I really enjoyed the scenery. It may be far smaller than the Perito Moreno Glacier, but the view is very colorful. You see the stream coming out from under the ice and disappearing again. This is why it is unwise to walk on the ice, because it could crack and you could get soaked in the frozen water of the stream. There is also a cafeteria at the top of the chair lift, although prices are rather expensive. A plate of soup there costs five dollars, but if you want to enjoy the scenery, that is up to you.
One thing I want to highlight is that even though Ushuaia is expensive, it is a highly recommended destination. Everything is so beautiful... I took two films to the top of the glacier (left my bag at the base to have my hands free for filming and taking photos) and ran short of film. You will never overestimate the number of photos you can take at these beautiful places. In my trip to Ushuaia and El Calafate I took nearly one thousand photos. From the top you will have a panoramic view of the city of Ushuaia and of the Beagle Channel. There are other viewpoints near the Las Hayas Hotel and Resort on the way back to the downtown. A taxi from the downtown to the Martial Glacier costs only 11 pesos (less than 4 dollars) each way, while waiting time for the taxi costs 12 dollars the hour. So send the taxi back, and request a taxi once you are free at the chairlift offices. Since climate is variable, and you will have no protection once you have boarded the chair lift or while walking, it is advisable to take a light raincoat, just in case, although rain here is normally very mild. Since these two destinations are very near the city and a visit to them will only take a few hours, on the way back you may want to visit the Aquarium (it is closed on Mondays) and the Museo del Fin del Mundo (End of the World Museum) that has very interesting things to see, such as dozens of embalmed birds, including condors, a century old grocery and a last century bank treasury. Enjoy your trip to Ushuaia. I am sure you will. And if you go, don't miss Cerro Castor and the Martial Glacier. Regards from Villa Carlos Paz. I just arrived back this morning from this fascinating trip. Photos will follow.