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Ushuaia – The End of The World

Beatrice Lessi

Are we in The Caribbeans ?

Hundreds of electric wires above your head. Hand-built houses, many of sheet metal and chipboard, coloured like one would expect in a Caribic town. A very young population -Tierra del Fuego can’t build schools quickly enough, and a teachers’ salary here can easily be three times what it might be in Buenos Aires. Spanish speaking people. How can it be, that you are surrounded by snow capped mountains? These are the contrasts that I immediately noticed in Ushuaia.

Argentina’s southern most region, Tierra del Fuego, is home to some of the most breathtaking and extreme landscapes in the world. Ushuaia, the region’s largest city, nestled between glaciers and the Beagle Channel, is the southern most city in the world.

No Place for Old People

 There’s hardly anyone here over 40.

A local tells me.

I’ve been living here for twelve years, and I’m not sure how much longer. Ushuaia is not a place for old people. They leave, they can’t stand the weather.

I guess it’s also because so many of the tourists who come here are reasonably fit and interested in sport – the region offers water sports, skiing, and any possible sport really. There are 100 km of slopes for Nordic ski. One can hike for a week without meeting anybody.

Why Ushuaia

Ushuaia serves as the shortest route possible to Antartica. Almost all tourist trips to the icy continent  start from here: passengers fly into Ushuaia’s scenic and long-runwayed airport, out in the bay before transferring to one or other of the cruise ships that line the dock, for the voyage south past Cape Horn.

If you decide to spend some days here,  tourist activities in Ushuaia include the Tierra del Fuego National Park, El Tren del Fin del Mundo and the Beagle Channel. About two to three full days in Ushuaia are sufficient to cover these activities if you do not plan on skiing.

 

Adventourous Tourists

A must see on any intrepid traveler’s bucket list, Ushuaia is also outstanding for its wildlife. For nature fans, Ushuaia would probably top the list.

Ushuaia is a unique place where travelers can walk among penguins during the day and try some of the best Argentinean wines later. Unsurprisingly, visiting Ushuaia demands some planning, and tourists often feel puzzled when planning their first trip to Ushuaia. I stayed shortly, but was fascinated by its brimming life and by its colourful contrasts. It made me put Patagonia in my bucket list – I need to go back!

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