Named by the Portuguese explorer, Ferdinand Magellan in 1520, the Tierra del Fuego has long attracted travelers to this remote and ominously named, ‘Land of Fire’. Situated at the southern tip of South America, the archipelago of Tierra del Fuego has become known for its unique climate, wildlife and spectacular landscapes.
As the provincial capital of Tierra del Fuego, Ushuaia has become one of the main destinations to visit in Argentina.
A convenient base to explore the rugged beauty of Tierra del Fuego, Ushuaia’s location is matched by few and offers a plethora of adventure activities and unforgettable travel experiences. With nowhere quite like it on Earth, continue reading below to find out all you need to know about visiting the unique and diverse region of Tierra del Fuego and Ushuaia, the ‘City at the End of the World’.
♦ Where is Ushuaia & Tierra del Fuego?
Across the Magellan Strait from mainland Patagonia in the south of Argentina is rugged landscape of the Tierra del Fuego archipelago. Although made up of a number of islands, Tierra del Fuego is often regarded as the main, more developed island of Isla Grande, the largest island in South America.
The eastern third of the islands along with a few of the surrounding islets belongs to Argentina with the rest being Chilean territory.
The city of Ushuaia acts as the main gateway to the Tierra del Fuego National Park and has become known as the southernmost city in the world. Backed by the zigzagging mountain peaks and fronted by the icy waters of the Beagle Channel, the city of Ushuaia has developed into a year-round destination for travelers visiting these southernmost parts of the Americas.
♦ Traveling to Ushuaia & Tierra del Fuego
The Malvinas Argentinas International Airport is the principal airport for Ushuaia and Tierra del Fuego with flights operated by LAN Airlines and Aerolineas Argentinas. There is one daily, direct flight from Argentina’s charming Patagonian town of El Calafate to Ushuaia and 4+ flights per day that leave from Argentina’s capital city of Buenos Aires. The most frequent number of daily flights from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia departs from the Aeroparque Jorge Newbery (Aeroparque) International Airport. There are also regular direct flights to Ushuaia from Buenos Aires’ main international airport of Ministro Pistarini (Ezeiza) every day except for Tuesdays.
In spite of Tierra del Fuego being in such a remote part of Argentina, the frequent daily flights and connections from Buenos Aires and El Calafate mean that it is extremely accessible.
The flight from El Calafate to Ushuaia is approximately 1hour 15mins and the non-stop flights from Buenos Aires are about 3hours 35mins .This allows you plenty of time to enjoy El Calafate’s Los Glaciares National Park or the cobblestone streets of Buenos Aires in the morning before boarding your plane to Tierra del Fuego.
♦ The best time to go to Ushuaia & Tierra del Fuego
Tierra del Fuego and Ushuaia are situated in the most extreme end of South America and have become a gateway to cruises leaving for Antarctica. At such an extreme latitude, the summer months which run from December to February rarely pass 60 °F while the average high during the winter months (June to August) is about 40°F. The climate of Tierra del Fuego is relatively humid with just over 145 days of precipitation per year and more than 200 cloudy days annually.
Being at the southern tip of South America, also affects the amount of daylight from season to season with summer days stretching up to 17 hours long and in the winter, the sun may peek over the horizon for just 7 hours a day.
Most travelers go to Tierra del Fuego during the summer months as it is warmer meaning that the snowfall is replaced by rain resulting in fewer weather-related obstacles in the archipelago. Tierra del Fuego is also a hotspot for fauna with sea lions, whales, penguins and migratory seabirds being the most active during the summer. Thrill seekers looking to take advantage of the snowy conditions in the nearby ski resorts travel to Tierra del Fuego from July to September, making it an incredible year-round destination.
♦ Highlights of Ushuaia & Tierra del Fuego
Visiting Ushuaia, the ‘City at the End of the World’, gives travelers a certain amount of bragging rights so upon arrival make sure to get that all important picture showing you’ve been there. You may also be interested in playing a round of golf on the southernmost course in the world or enjoy drinking the most southerly micro-brew on the planet. There are a number of excellent day-trips from Ushuaia with a boat cruise along the Beagle Channel being an absolute must.
The Beagle Channel boat trips offer great views, a touch of history and an opportunity for wildlife watching with sea-lions, cormorants and Magellan penguins passing by.
You can combine sailing on the Beagle Channel with a visit to the historic Estancia Harberton which was the first ranch in Tierra del Fuego and the former home of the famous English missionary and pioneer, Thomas Bridge. Visiting this stunning ranch and its museum is both historically and culturally intriguing and tops it all off with its picturesque surroundings. The other essential day-trip from Ushuaia is the Tierra del Fuego National Park. Formed in 1960 to protect an area of 155,610-acres of glaciers, lakes, mountains and history has turned this National Park into a hiking hotspot with breath-taking panoramas in one of the most remote corners of the world! The best time to go hiking is from November to March which are some of the warmest months and also a great time for penguin watching and visiting the Estancias. If you are braving the winter temperatures from July to September then you must visit Ushuaia’s nearby ski resort of Cerro Castor or have a memorable adventure, dog sledding across the snow-covered landscape.
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