Our next goal was the “Fin del Mundo” Ushuaia, the southmostern city in the world (Chilean Puerto Williams is considered a village and not a city). To get there we took the ferry from Punta Delgado to Bahia Azul (first come first serve, 15,000clp). It was a quick but shaky boat ride (20min) which left Oscar covered by salt water. Upon arrival a “Bienvenido al Tierra del Fuego” sign greated us. The name stems by the way from Magellan who saw a bonfire lid by the Native Americans when he discovered this area.
To our surprise nearly the entire road to border post San Sebastian was paved. We were a bit nervous about this border crossing since a couple of other travellers had just a week ago posted that they (also foreigners) were denied the entry to Argentina with a Chilean car – despite the possession of ownership and jurada declaracion. For us it went fortunately pretty well. Not sure whether it was the kids, the long queue behind us, the fact that we already crossed to Argentina and came back or we just got lucky with the specific officer. Anyhow, after 40min we were back in Argentina!
The last hour of the 3h drive from the border post to Ushuaia was very scenic and led us along the shore of Lago Fagano, a huge fresh water lake, and sections of dry salt lakes (with Guanacos).
Then we finally reached the end of the world: Ushuaia 🙂 Immediately, we could see huge freighters, cruise ships and big storages of ship containers. Ushuaia is by the way the hub for 90% of Antarctica cruises. We also informed ourselves about a trip to the white continent but the minimum age for cruises is 12. It also saved us a good amount of money since the regular price for 9 days was $5000 per cabin. We’ve heard though from other folks that discounts up to 70% are possible if you come with a very flexible schedule.
The first day we walked around the city and explored the bay, a flight school and the main shopping street San Martin. Of course, we took the compulsory “Fin del Mundo” picture:
We concluded the day with tourist bus ride around the bay and town and treated ourselves well with a nice steak and seabass at the fancy Kalmo Resto.
Parque Nacional Tierra del Fuego was the name of the game the next day and it was a gorgeous one. The park is ca. 30Km away from Ushuaia and the entrance was 420 ARS per adult. We started off with a serious of beautiful walks along the Bay of Lapataia. The flora was quite impressive with a blend of needle forest, swamps with sponge plants and mountain glaciers in the back. All of the walks are very family friendly and a restaurant helps to feed hungry jacks afterwards 🙂 In the afternoon we walked parts of the Senda Hito XXIV which leads along Lago Roca to the Chilean border. On the last bay (Isla Retondo with view on Beagle Street) we even spotted divers next to the “last post office of the world”.
The last day we spent hiking the forests of Ushuaia, around Hotel Las Hayes. The trail was not very well marked and as such we got a little bit lost and finished it on the other side of town. Fortunately. a local assessed our situation quite well and offered a ride to the center 🙂 That’s probably the good Karma we’ve earned by taking hitchhikers with us the other days 🙂 We completed the rainy afternoon with a visit of the Museo Maritimo y Museo del Presidio. The later one displays the story of the prison which stood grounds at the same place until 1947. The inmates had to build it themselves in 1902. There’s a lot of information in this museum such that the two hours we spent there were definitely not enough to grasp everything. However, most of it is dedicated to the maritime history of Tierro del Fuego, Cape Horn and Antarctica and can quickly become tiring 😉 Also we felt that the entry fee of 600 ARS per adult was a bit pricey.
We concluded the day with a great dinner of King Crab which is a local specialty: