Port-of-Call: Ushuaia, Argentina

As a gateway to the Antarctic, Ushuaia, Argentina has wonders of its own in Tierra del Fuego National Park.

This blog post is about my port-of-call experience in Ushuaia, Argentina during my 14-Night Antarctica cruise with Celebrity Cruises in early February of 2024. You can read all about this series of blog posts:

[ 14-Night Antarctica Cruise ]
[ Ushuaia, Argentina ]
[ Puerto Madryn, Argentina: Peninsula ]
[ Puerto Madryn, Argentina: Punta Tombo ]
[ Montevideo, Uruguay ]

The 14-Night Antarctica Cruise aboard the Celebrity Eclipse had 4 port-of-calls, with Ushuaia, Argentina being the first one. After leaving Buenos Aires, Argentina, we travelled south for three full days at sea before arriving in the Beagle Channel and landing in Ushuaia, at the southern tip of South America. But before I get into what I did in Ushuaia, I want to stress what you should definitely do before getting there.

Beagle Channel

Before arriving in Ushuaia, we take the Beagle Channel from the Atlantic Ocean. We entered this channel at approximately 5:20am, and arrived in Ushuaia at around 9am.

View from our 8th floor veranda looking at the entrance to the Beagle Channel at 5:20am.

I woke up around 4:30am that morning so I could catch the arrival into the Beagle Channel since I had no idea what it would look like. As it turns out, we had an absolutely stunning sunrise that morning, welcoming us into the channel. I was able to take a lot of beautiful pictures of either side of the channel where one side is Chile and the other side is Argentina.

Picton Island in Chile, is silhouetted looking toward the sunrise.

I even spotted a small penguin colony on top of one of the cliff sides where a flock of cormorants were resting nearby as well.

Cormorants are seen on the side of the cliff while penguins waddle their way on the left side, making their way to the Beagle Channel.

These moments were magical in itself and I definitely recommend you make the effort to wake up early to take in the scenery of the Beagle Channel.

There were very few people appreciating this part of the cruise and I feel sorry for everyone that decided to sleep in as they missed some spectacular Patagonia landscapes.

Ushuaia, Argentina

With a population of more than 82,000, Ushuaia is located at the southern tip of South America in between the Martial Mountain range and Beagle Channel. It is often referred to as the end of the world, as it is located at the southern tip of South America, and is the southernmost city in the world.

As a side note, Puerto Williams is a small town in Chile that is located further south than Ushuaia. But with a population of about 3000, it’s not officially designated as a city, which makes Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world!

There are lots of excursions available in Ushuaia, ranging from penguin watching, a visit to museums and a prison, cruising through the Beagle Channel, and the more popular, a trip to the Tierra del Fuego National Park.

I only did the latter as I wanted to enjoy and hike within the Patagonia landscape.

You can take a 7km the End of the World Train ride that runs right through the park itself, letting you see some great landscapes that you might not otherwise get to see. However, I opted to simply go to the park by vehicle as I wanted to spend more time hiking than inside a car or train.

The entrance to the park itself is about a 30 minute bus ride away from the port. I really just wanted to spend some time hiking within the National Park, so I took it upon myself to find my own way there.

Park entrance where you buy your entrance ticket.

Bus service from Ushuaia to Tierra del Fuego National Park

Before arriving in Ushuaia, I did some research and found that a short walk away from the pier, there is a local bus terminal with several different bus companies offering shuttle service to the national park. This bus terminal is located at the south east corner of Avenida Maipú and Juana Genoveva Fadul.

Multiple bus companies offer bus rides into the park for a much more economical price than an excursion would. They have timed bus rides into and out of the park, so you can make your own itinerary and take the bus back when you’re ready.

Bus rides to the park departed at 10am, 11am, and I believe every hour up to some time in the afternoon. Return times are 3:00pm, 5:00pm, and 7:00pm, departing from the visitor’s centre inside the park. The prices were clearly marked on the outside of the booth so you should have no problems figuring out how much they charge. Once you buy the ticket, simply show it to another staff member and they will guide you to your bus when your time has come.

On the way back, you will have to make sure you take the shuttle bus from the same company you bought your ticket from—but don’t fret, there is someone at the visitor’s centre that will tell you when your bus has arrived.

The Post Office at the End of the World

The bus stops at the entrance of the park where you get off and pay the park entrance fee. It was $12,000 Argentina Pesos (approx. USD$22) per foreign visitor when I went in February 2024. Once you pay, you get back on the bus and the bus continues into the park.

The first stop is the famous post office at the end of the world.

We got off here as it was also the starting point of our hike.

This is an actual working post office and allows visitors to buy postcards to send to their friends and families—or to themselves! We bought a postcard so we can get that stamp from the southernmost post office in the world. A nice souveniere if you will. For an additional fee (approx. USD $3), you can get a page in your passport stamped with several non-official Patagonia-related stamps. Or, you can go to the visitor’s centre in Ushuaia to get your passport stamped for free!

The line to enter the post office can get quite long. In fact, if you go there with a tour group and the line is long, you risk the chance of having that tour bus leave you there. This almost happened to one group of people in front of us where the tour guide had to come back repeatedly to press them to finish sending their postcards.

Since we came there on our own accord, we didn’t have any time limits, which is the way I like it.

Hiking in Tierra del Fuego National Park

Senda Costera

  • 8km hike from the post office to the visitor’s centre
  • 3-4 hours one way

After sending our postcard, we started off on our hike. The trailhead to the Senda Costera trail (Coastline trail) is located just off to the side of the post office. Just a few short minutes later and you get some spectacular Patagonia scenery that has hikers stop in their paths.

Walking through the trail you are surrounded by the beautiful water on one side and a lush green forest on the other. The mossy trees looked very intriguing upon close inspection.

I read online that we would be able to do some bird watching along the path. So with that in mind, I brought with me my heavy Z 180-600mm f/5.6-6.3 lens. I never used it along the hike and all it did was give me an unnecessary neck and shoulder workout.

We did run into a Magellanic woodpecker which is one of the largest woodpecker species in the world. It was indeed very large and we were happy to spot two of them in the trees. They flew away as we continued on our path so I couldn’t get a good picture of it unfortunately.

The hike ends at the Alakush Visitor’s Centre, where you can take a bathroom break, buy some lunch, and take in the cultural exhibit.

There are additional hiking trailheads located at this visitor’s centre, which will take you to different areas of the park. It was recommended by the staff who sold us our bus ticket to take in the 30min. hike beyond the visitor’s centre, to reach another beautiful viewpoint. However, we opted to skip this portion as we were both pretty tired after the 2.5 hour hike and wanted to catch the 3:00pm bus ride back to Ushuaia.

After we got dropped off at the bus terminal in Ushuaia, we decided to walk around the town to see the many gift shots lined along the main street. There were lots of gift shops, and great looking chocolate stores too.

We were planning on having some tasty king crab at El Viejo Marino, which comes highly rated by online reviewers. However, as they opened at 6pm and we were still a ways away from that time, we decided to go back to our ship as the days’ hiking and sightseeing took a toll on me.

The Celebrity Eclipse ship at the pier.

Overall Thoughts

All in all, it was a short but eventful time in Ushuaia, Argentina. I would have loved to stay a little longer to explore the town more, eat king crab, and take things a little slower. But what we did see and do in Ushuaia was fantastic. As a gateway to the Antarctic, many expeditions depart from this town. It’s a great place to get acquainted with what Patagonia has to offer, and I would definitely recommend a visit here if you are able to in your travels.

Oh, and that postcard that I sent from Ushuaia? It arrived almost one month after I sent it!


You can watch my YouTube review on Ushuaia, Argentina!

Have you been to Ushuaia before? If so, what did you like or dislike about it? Let me know in the comments!

Be sure to read my other blog on my excursions and the full review of the 14-Night Antarctic Cruise aboard the Celebrity Eclipse.

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