Ushuaia was once the home of the most primitive native tribesmen in all of the Americas. The town is located on the remote southern end of Argentina and regarded as the gateway to the well known Tierra del Fuego (land of fire). The area is also known as the “end of the world”. Magellan discovered the area in1520, Darwin and the HMS Beagle sailed here in1832 and the Argentinian govt turned the area into a penal colony in 1884.
The town of 60,000 is situated on the Beagle channel (named after Darwin’s ship “The Beagle”). It began as a penal colony (like Punta Arenas in Chile) but in recent times, the development of fishing, logging, cattle and sheep ranching plus the discovery of gold has kept the area productive. The local topography is magnificent and continues to lure visitors to see the natural wonders offered.
There are a number of nature reserves in the area and a great little museum detailing the town’s history (it also gives the history of the indigenous peoples). There is Sea Wolves Island where you can find a large colony of Sea Lions, seals sea birds. The Tierra del Fuego National Park and the Marshall Glacier are each worth seeing on their own. The view from the glacier is amazing and the trails through the park are equally as compelling.
Currency in Argentine pesos, and the prices are generally fixed (no haggling) Local restaurants serve a great variety of local salmon, crab and other sea foods, as well as meat dishes (all wonderfully prepared) – and they will accept most major credit cards. ATM’s are available nearly everywhere.
Yerba Mate is Argentina’s national drink (it’s like an herb tea) and is consumed throughout the country. You’ve got to try it; it’s quite refreshing on a warm day.
There is also a thriving wine industry coming to international notice …. You’ll have to try that as well.