Ushuaia is located in the south of Argentina, next to the Beagle channel, beautifully set amongst snow-capped mountains and breezing waters. It is considered the southernmost city of the World. There is a small settlement on the Chilean side of the Beagle channel, and some expedition stations on the Antarctica, but that’s all what is more south. The weather can be pretty windy, cloud-covered and rainy at times, so some extra clothing is required.
The flights to Ushuaia normally come from Buenos Aires, through El Calafate, land in Ushuaia, then return to Buenos Aires. It happened to be that LAN managed to miss the unloading of my backpack, so most of my personal belongings took an extra round to go forth to Buenos Aires and back the next day. Luckily enough I had packed enough warm clothes in my hand luggage to survive, furthermore the company paid 70 USD and brought my backpack to the hostel next day.
During our days in Ushuaia, we visited the national park, posted some cards from the End-of-the-World post office, went for some penguin watch and hiked up to a nearby glacier.
An interesting discovery was that not only our hostel, but the whole city was full of backpackers from Israel. In fact they were so numerous that we started to simply say “Shalom!” on the streets instead of the regular “Hola!”. The reason: after finishing their military service, they all set up for a 3 months trip at some part of the World, and Argentina is a popular destination.
Ushuaia is also famous for Antarctica expeditions. The standard rates are 4000 USD for a 10 day all inclusive trip to visit the icy continent. Unfortunately this was way outside our budget, but we have met some fellow travellers who jumped in to the experience and even found some last minute offers for 3200 USD.
One day we rented a car with two French girls and headed to Estancia Haberton, one of the first settlements on Tierra del Fuego. The settlement has around 5 houses and 10 inhabitants in peak season. There is no cellphone coverage, but there is Internet! It’s a good 2 hours drive from Ushuaia on dirt roads, all in all it is really in the end of the World. We sat down in the only restaurant/bar of the place and wanted to have a hot chocolate to warm us up a bit. Just for fun we asked for some student discount, or discount for French people, didn’t work. Paul has the habit to ask for Hungarian discount also as we are poor, we don’t even have Euro, and to our greatest surprise the owner lady said: “Ah for Hungarians? Its free!”:) It turned out that her mother immigrated long time ago to Argentina from Hungary and even though she did not speak Hungarian, she had good memories of it. That’s how it happened to be a heart warming experience to be Hungarian at the very end of the World:)
Leaving Ushuaia was not easy. LAN excelled again as this time our flight was first delayed, then cancelled completely. Result: our plus one night spent in the southernmost four star hotel with food and transfer included, all paid by LAN. Luxurious feeling after the hostel dormitories:)