Ushuaia is a great place to visit and we often find that clients spend at least a couple of days there and sometimes longer. Although many operators there prefer to run multi-activity day tours which are easy to manage and mean they aren’t involved in providing accommodation, there are certain operators of longer adventures which take you trekking in Tierra del Fuego, out into the mountains surrounding Ushuaia.
Whilst I was in Ushuaia in October 2011, I spent a day in Tierra del Fuego National Park, doing the coastal trek offered by one of our Argentinian partners. Although it was a very enjoyable 3-hour hike, with pretty bays, a lenga forest and mountains as a backdrop, it wasn’t as spectacular as some of the mountain ranges surrounding Ushuaia. If I’d have planned more carefully, I would definitely have undertaken a longer tour that would have allowed me to get out into the mountains and lakes of Tierra del Fuego and further away from the city. But it has to be said that it would have been a lovely excursion if I had just been there for the day.
It’s also worth noting that only part of Tierra del Fuego National Park is open to visitors. This means that during high season, the park is often full of bus loads of tourists on conventional tours, (e.g the tourist trap; Tren Fin del Mundo) stopping at the local Lago Roca cafe for food and drinks before returning to Ushuaia. In this sense, it’s definitely best to do the coastal route if you want to avoid bumping into them.
Perhaps some of the most adventurous routes off the beaten track are far away from the national park. One of the most exciting in my opinion and described as ‘one of the most beautiful trails that can you can do in South America’ by the operator is this Crossing Tierra del Fuego Adventure. In 7 days you’ll cross the French and Cinco Hermanos Pass, places which few other travellers get to. En route you’ll trek through forests, see wild guanacos and camp in the wilderness. Some beautiful spots visited on the itinerary include Lago Fagnano (an enormous lake to the north of Ushuaia which stretches some 61 miles) and the famous Beagle Channel, through which Darwin sailed in 1833.
Alternatively, if you’re looking for a shorter hiking trip, we recommend three days trekking around Ushuaia in the Andorra Valley on this Trek in and Around Ushuaia trip. You’ll have fantastic views of Ushuaia and the Beagle Channel – as evidenced by this photo below, and you’ll ascend to 1,300 metres up Mount Falso Tonelli. This trip allows you to hike through Tierra del Fuego’s lush green forests, see its turquoise lakes and rivers and also experience it’s towering peaks in the space of just 3 days. If you are still yearning to see a bit more of Tierra del Fuego, why not add on a boat trip in the Beagle Channel to see penguins or a 1-day tour of the national park.
Hunting for hotels in Ushuaia can be difficult, particularly if you don’t have a good idea of the geography of the place. Ushuaia has a wealth of accommodation to offer, but unfortunately due its remoteness, prices tend to be high. I’ve stayed in three hotels in Ushuaia and would recommend them all. To find availability for my recommended hotels, click the links below or alternatively search for other hotels in Ushuaia.
Hotel Alto Andino is my first choice as it’s in the very centre of town, close to the harbour, restaurants and shops. It also means it’s easier for the operator to locate you when they pick you up before your hike. Alto Andino is modern, with wifi, tv, comfortable beds with a filling breakfast included.
Secondly, about 10 minutes walk out of the centre is Hotel Las Lengas, based further up the hill looking down onto town and with some partial views of the Beagle Channel. A circular glass restaurant allows you to look out over Ushuaia during breakfast and the food is delicious. Rooms again are comfortable (and have been recently refurbished) with tv, wifi but only 1 plug socket available in the room!
Finally, if you’re looking to pay less, it’s probably best to stay outisde town. Hotel Tierra de Leyendas is a 15 minute taxi drive out of Ushuaia but a very warm, friendly, comfortable place to stay, it’s more like a huge b&b than a hotel and the owner used to work at the Marriott in Buenos Aires as head chef, so do try the food!