Ushuaia – fin del Mundo, the southernmost city in the world – is located at the south end of Argentina, neighboring Chile and straddling the region of Tierra del Fuego at the foot of South America. It is the jumping off point for voyages to the Antarctic Peninsula, Patagonia, to the Falkland Islands and to South Georgia. I was there for only half a day so I really don’t have too much to write about, and for that matter too many photos to share, but it is worthy of a post in my opinion because of the important role it plays in terms of logistics for travel to the last places on Earth in the western hemisphere.
Typical routes to get to Ushuaia are from Santiago, Chile, or from Buenos Aires, Argentina, each taking just over four hours. When I got there, I hopped right onto a catamaran and sailed through the heart of Ushuaia – the Beagle Channel. The channel offers passage to the archipelago islands off the coast and is a path to Antarctica (known in the area as “the ice.”)
Other than that one experience, my first-hand knowledge of the southernmost city is as a port city where you can pick up virtually any piece of outdoor and camera gear there that you may have forgotten for about a zillion dollars.
The small bit of education I did get about the small community were basics — it has a population of about 70,000 (in early 2015), public transportation, schools, a hospital, and an international airport. The ski slopes of Cerro Castor and Glacier Martial are really popular with winter-sports enthusiasts who come from around the world to enjoy the longest ski season in South America. When the ski season ends, the hiking trails remain open through the summer with transport to trail heads by way of gondola.
…Skiing, hiking – count me in another time. My recent trip to Ushuaia was all about jumping off to Antarctica, South Georgia and the Falkland Islands, which I’ll be writing about next. 🙂
Recommended reading: Ushuaia was settled by the British in the early 1900’s. E. Lucas Bridges – the son of early missionaries – wrote of his home and his relationship with the Yamana and now extinct Fuegian Indians in his acclaimed novel of 1947, The Uttermost Part of the Earth.