What did I do for 10 days at the “fin del mundo” in Ushuaia, Argentina? After my plane from Santiago, Chile (see previous post) landed on a single track runway, seemingly inches from the ocean surface, I shared a taxi to my hostel with Lorraine and David, a Swedish couple that I befriended on the plane. Like me, there are traveling until the money runs out. After checking in to my hostel, I put on my rain gear and set out for an evening walk. It was about 9pm but still twilight. After walking around this new city a bit, along with other strollers, I found a little cafe to enjoy a salad and a local beer, a Beagle Golden Ale (who’s namesake is the famous Beagle Channel which fronts Ushuaia).
As for the days after that, I spent most of my time exploring the area with a fun-loving trio from the US, Carrie, Candice, and Don, who I met at the hostel. We day hiked to nearby Glacier Martial, did a 3-day backpack on the Camino de la Turbera through the mountains and canyons behind Ushuaia (the southern side of Parque Nacional de Tierra del Fuego) with a side trip to Lago Tempano, celebrated the national holiday of carnival enjoying lots (and lots, and then a little more) of Argentinean wine while watching a local parade, and hanging around town. I even got my first lesson in fire throwing (minus the fire of course) from Candice, a seasoned pro.
While I was tempted to join my new friends traveling north to Parque Nacional Torres del Paine (my next destination), I decided to spend a few more days in Ushuaia. And holy crap am I glad I did! I ended up booking a last-minute 13-day cruise to Antarctica (pics coming in the next post). I’m also glad I stayed as I got to do another day hike back to Lago Tempano and then to Lago Encantada with my German friend, Karen, and hang out a bit with three wild and crazy guys, David, Michael, and James, from Australia, Romania, and the UK. Too bad I had to turn down their offer to join them driving their rental car north to Punto Arenas cuz it would have been a blast, but Antarctica called.
Ushuaia is a safe, clean, charming little city (population 56,500). Besides the wonderful people I befriended, all of whom I hope to see again in the future, what stands out the most about Ushuaia is its location between the Beagle Channel and gorgeous snow-capped mountains (my favorite kind of place as you know).
Here are a few photos from my time in Ushuaia. Click the link to see the full photo album: https://goo.gl/photos/KMQVQwebjb1X2LvG8
Travel notes: recommend Cruz del Sur Hostel (although tiny kitchen and a bit noisy) and Los Lupinos Hostel (large kitchen, rooms upstairs); tap water is potable (no treatment needed); can use collectivos to get to Camino de la Turbera trailhead (7 pesos); can easily get high exchange rate (higher than national rate) around town (better to bring lots of US $$ to exchange and pay cash for everything); recommend Ushuaia Turismo (Daniella) to book Antarctica cruise.