26 Nov 2011

It's the end of the world as we know it...

Ushuaia - or as the local Argentinians like to advertise 'el fin del mundo', the most southern city on the planet, the capital of Tierra del Fuego, 3,450 kilometres south of Buenos Aires, 26 hours on two buses (from Puerto Madryn), 54 and a bit degrees south of the equator (same south as Moscow is north), it's a long way down to the end of the world...

Slightly disappointingly for the geographically competitive you spend most of your time here looking at a chunk of Chile (Argentina and Chile share Tierra del Fuego) to the south and along the coast a bit to what the Chileans call the 'southernmost city on the planet', clearly a catchy title - Puerto Williams, which having only 2,000 inhabitants the Argentinians maintain does not a city make -  so Ushuaia isn't as far south as one can go without being a penguin but it certainly feels like you have reached the end of the road.

But don't think that means the end of civilisation, there is good coffee, the croissant are surprisingly tasty, there are sticky things shaped like penguins...

and a couple of excellent seafood restaurants - the local crab is fabulous - plus lots of shops selling warm clothing, Paul Oakenfold (no less) has just played a couple of gigs here and the local night club is called Tropicana (Paul didn't play there), surely all that is enough to tantalise anybody's taste buds?

Worst thing about the place, unfortunately for us, was the hostel we stayed at which was run by what we imagine would result from courtship between the Adams family and the cast of Shameless, all in all not a good combo.

But once daylight breaks (at 0430 ish + gets dark at 2230) you can walk up to a glacier...

there are lots of trips to see the local wildlife..


and most of the tours to Antarctica leave from here - if you turn up on spec you can get last minute deals for approx US$3,000 as opposed to the normal US$12-15k - we kid you not).

The weirdly comforting thing about Ushuaia (as pointed out by a wise soul) is that at the end of the road there is a proper working city (lots of industry since they made it a 50% tax haven) and some of the most stunning landscape that we have seen so far.

Martial glacier

One point we noted, it is bizarre sitting on a boat at sea level (in the Beagle Channel) looking at the nearby 1500 metre peaks and being able to very clearly see between the two the tree line (about 800 metres compared to 1800 to 2000 in the Alps) and then the snow line and then a glacier (see first photo) - no less dramatic than REM calling it a day...


  1. Realmente parece el poto del mundo!!!!! qué chévereeeeee sentirlos tan cerquita a pesar de los miles de kms que nos separan! besos a los dos!!! cami

  2. Glad to see you two are having a great time! xx Karen