Want to know the best tips for exploring Ushuaia, Argentina, before or after your Antarctica expedition? Ushuaia, a tiny mountain town located at the southernmost tip of Argentina, offers a number of unique adventure and dining options. Despite being known as Fin Del Mundo, the “End of the World”, this gateway to Antarctica has a number of highlights not to be missed. Here’s how to maximize two days in this scenic hamlet.
TIP: To take advantage of the stunning mountain scenery surrounding Ushuaia, Argentina, request a window seat on your flights to capture the gorgeous landscapes and Beagle Channel during take off and landing.
Day 1: Ushuaia, Argentina Itinerary
1) Hike Martial Glacier
Take a remis (taxi alternative) for 250-350 ARS ($6-8 USD) and have it drop you at the La Cabana Casa De Te (the Martial Glacier starting point).
After hiking alongside a forested stream, turn around often to get views of the channel and city below, which only get better as you trek higher. Once you arrive at the glacier base, you can opt to hike to the top of the glacier, though I’d recommend bringing snow boots or crampons depending on the weather. Plan to spend 2 – 4 hours for the hike.
TIP: Since the Ushuaia, Argentina, weather changes frequently, bring a waterproof jacket, pants, hats, gloves and water for the hike. Check out this article for some of my Patagonia hiking essentials.
2) Relax at La Cabana Casa de Te
Spend time after your hike enjoying a tea or hot chocolate and cake.
TIP: Since the desserts and cake slices are huge, I recommend sharing so that you can save room for a delicious dinner.
3) Take a Picture at the Fin Del Mundo Sign
Have the café call a remis to drop you downtown and take a picture at this famous sign near the port. If your ship departs the next day, it will likely be in port and you can capture it in the background!
4) Pick up Souvenirs
Shop downtown at the local artisan market – Feria de Artesanos Handicraft Fair, which is open 10AM – 7PM daily.
5) Take a Short Hike on the Arakur Property
If you still have energy, opt for a short 30 – 45 minute hike on the Arakur property to work up an appetite for dinner.
TIP: I highly recommend a late afternoon peat bog hike to enjoy the colors and reflections of the gorgeous surrounding mountains in Ushuaia, Argentina. Detour to the Forest and Bay’s viewpoint for cool trees that will make you feel as if you are in an enchanted fairytale.
6) Dine at Kalma (a 10 minute walk from downtown)
Don’t miss the intimate experience at Kalma, a quaint Ushuaia, Argentina restaurant, which recently celebrated its 10th anniversary. The talented chef and owner, Jorge Monopoli, interacts with the 20 patrons throughout the meal, sharing interesting details about the delectable dishes.
TIP: Have your hotel make reservations in advance as it only seats 20.
The wine pairings with generous pours complement the dishes perfectly. We enjoyed our first meal so much that we returned a second time during our three-night stay in Ushuaia, Argentina.
TIP: As a vegetarian, opt for a la carte. If you eat meat or fish, opt for the creative Menu Degustacion for 2100 ARS ($56 USD) + 800 ARS ($21 USD) for wine pairings. While the waitress indicated the portions are small, I felt two quinoa burgers as starters plus fettuccini and dessert was too much. During my second visit, I opted for only an entree and dessert.
Menu highlights included:
- Lamb, pork and sheep salami
- Sea urchin with lemon, sea celery and onions
- Quinoa burger – comes with two mini burgers plus fries
- Egg fettucini and vegetables
- Drug aged Patagonia beef with lentil stew
- Cacao and almond crumble with olive oil and citrus peel
- Three milks cake
TIP: Make sure to save room for Kalma’s indulgent dessert that perfectly pairs olive oil with chocolate – an unexpected highlight. And, bring your passport to get it stamped with a special stamp commemorating your visit to this Ushuaia, Argentina, jewel at the end of the world.
Day 2: Ushuaia, Argentina Itinerary
7) Arakur Hotel Breakfast
Indulge in the expansive Arakur buffet with delicious options including apple cake, quince pastry, eggs, French toast and pancakes while admiring the stunning Ushuaia, Argentina, views. Perched atop a hill 20 minutes from downtown, Arakur Hotel commands an impressive view of the Beagle Channel and surrounding mountains.
8) 4×4 Tour Lakes Off Road
Adventure into Tierra del Fuego with the “Lakes Off Road” Tour with Canal Fun. A 4×4 will pick you up at your hotel and transport you through the lakes and forest. This full day tour lasts 830AM – 5PM and caps off the experience with a tasty BBQ lunch in the forest. Vegetarian options are also available.
9) Relax at Arakur’s award-winning spa
Work out the kinks from the off-road tour with a soak in the infinity pool and hot tubs at Arakur Hotel.
You can also opt for relaxing massage and/or a shower in the Finnish/Swedish shower with numerous body jets.
TIP: The massage appointments fill up so make sure to email Arakur in advance of your stay to guarantee the time you desire.
10) Indulge at Reinamora Restaurant
Located 15 minutes from downtown (and 30 minutes from Arakur), this tasty restaurant at the Los Cauquenes hotel, offers a fantastic view of the Beagle Channel and surrounding mountains while enjoying your meal. Comfortable soft white blankets are offered to keep you warm if you are feeling chilly.
TIP: Step out onto the deck before your meal to capture the beautiful light and the mountain reflections in the Beagle Channel or grab a drink on the enclosed glass patio of the hotel bar.
- Corn soup with hot sauce
- Risotto – they kindly accommodated my dislike of mushrooms and made me a lovely risotto with pumpkin, peas and broccoli
- Los Cauquenes Blend tea with Madagascar vanilla, cacao, spiced apples and rose hips
- Chocolate volcano cake with ice cream
TIP: Request a window table and book a time 30-60 minutes before sunset so that you can photograph both sunset and the extensive blue hour light that lasts for an hour after sunset during the summer since you are so far south.
Other key TIPS:
This property offers expansive views from the large windows in the restaurant, bar and lobby area as well a look through window from the bathtub in your room, allowing you to appreciate the stunning location from a variety of perspectives.
TIP: Pay a small premium and book a bay view room.
For any downtown outings, take advantage of Arakur’s free shuttle services. It departs from the hotel on the hour and from downtown on the half hour.
TIP: Since the Arakur pools are open until 11PM, hang out in the pools after dinner and admire the twinkling lights of the town and port below. Unlike mid-day, we had the pools all to ourselves at 10.
To minimize cost, opt for Remis in Ushuaia instead of taxis. Hotels or restaurants can call them for you. We made the mistake of taking a taxi once and it cost us double what a remis did. Email Arakur in advance to arrange a shared transfer to the hotel for $8 USD per person.
If you need a pharmacy in Ushuaia, go to Farmacia Fueguina (Av. Leandro N. Alem 838), which is open 24 hours a day 7 days a week.
If you need medical care, go to the private clinic (Sanatorio San Jorge – Onachaga 184) vs the public hospital (Hospital Regional Ushuaia). While care is free at the public hospital, lines are long (25 people were waiting when we went on a Sunday) and no English is spoken, so it’s key that you are fluent in Spanish if you want to seek care at the public hospital.
TIP: By law, all clinics and hospitals must accept credit cards for payment. You are not required to pay a portion in cash and a portion in credit card.
Given the Argentinian financial crisis, you can typically only withdraw 3000-4000 ARS ($100 USD) from the ATM at a time. If you need a large amount, you should exchange at the airport or your hotel. Although the exchange rate is less favorable, this is the best way to get quick access to Argentinian currency. The other option is to visit multiple ATMs.
Since you will be traveling to the end of the world, travel insurance is key in the event you need care. We had an emergency medical situation while in Ushuaia and spent nine hours at the private clinic for an initial consult, X-ray and procedure.