Ushuaia, Argentina: Vacations and Travel Info
You find yourself navigating the frigid waters of the southern hemisphere. Protecting your ears and nose from the wind, your sight fixes on the craggy mountains that make up the final stretch of the Andean Cordillera, on the furthest corner of the South American continent. A row of penguins dives into the sea like a line of torpedoes.
An echoing crack rips through the air as pieces of a glacier fall off the immense wall of ice. The Tierra del Fuego province, Argentinean Antarctica and the Islands of the South Atlantic open up to form the Beagle Canal, which transports you to the southernmost city on our planet, man's last city, the "End of the World" and the "Beginning of Everything": Ushuaia.
The Beginnings of the End of the World
The story goes that this region's name, Tierra del Fuego ("Land of Fire"), comes from the time of the Spanish explorers who traveled through this part of the Atlantic. From a distance, they were amazed to see many inland columns of smoke. They ultimately decided to simply pass by this region, leaving behind the few nomadic natives that inhabited the region along with the unsettling smoke columns.
For nearly 6,000 years, Tierra del Fuego remained the same, inhabited only by a few native nomads and gatherers who organized themselves in small communities. It wasn't until the end of the 19th century that the region was explored by Argentineans and Europeans in search of gold. The natives, whose population gradually lessened due to attack campaigns against them, saw their expectations for survival begin to dwindle as the first settlements were formed. The natives eventually disappeared altogether, leaving the land to its new settlers.
Ushuaia and its Surroundings
The landscapes encircling Ushuaia give the impression of impenetrable, wild lands. Man has barely touched the city's surroundings, allowing the natural wonders of this region to maintain their strong presence, painting memorable backdrops. This small city has barely more than 50,000 inhabitants. It's situated right on the Beagle Canal, encircled by part of the Andean Cordillera. Ushuaia is the only city in Argentina set on the western side of this mountain range.
Ushuaia is also surrounded by forest, despite the area's cold tundra climate. Even with the low temperatures, there are unusual temperature rises in the summertime, reaching up to more than 80 degrees Fahrenheit. The wind often blows hard from the west, giving the landscape, especially the trees, a peculiar characteristic: they look as if they had been combed by the wind, all pointing in the same direction.
In addition to woods and tundra landscapes, near Ushuaia you'll also come across glaciers. Make sure to visit the Martial Glacier, the purest water source in Tierra de Fuego, an impressive feat of nature that you can't miss out on.
Ushuaia's Port and the Antarctic
Ushuaia boasts Argentina's
second busiest port, just behind Buenos Aires, with an extensive circulation of commercial ships, scientific expeditions and tourism. It's considered the port of entry into the Antarctic, and from here you can set off on cruises to the South Pole. The region's waterways also connect the Atlantic with the Pacific.
The city of Ushuaia combines small size with big excitement. Don't miss out on getting to know the city's fascinating history, and make sure to visit its museums, buy traditional local artisanry, try unique local cuisine like "centolla" and "cordero fueguino", climb its glaciers, explore the slopes of the modern ski centers, climb the surrounding rock formations, walk through the countryside and travel through the amazing tundra landscapes as you experience an unforgettable vacation in the last city, the End of the World, the Beginning of Everything.
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