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Cruise, Hike & Kayak at the End of The World

There are so many ways to see Tierra del Fuego; cruise through the Strait of Magellan and round Cape Horn, get out of the city and into the wilderness of the snowy mountains, or if you're short of time and want to see Patagonia's best bits, visit Tierra del Fuego as part of a Patagonia tour.

Ushuaia

Ushuaia is the southernmost city before Antarctica and boy are they proud of it! The city is the capital of the region Tierra del Fuego. In this region you'll enjoy a host of outdoor adventures from hiking in the Martiel mountain range which is the backdrop to the town, cruising through the Magellan Strait or visiting the nearby Tierra del Fuego National Park as part of a 2 or 3-week holiday in Patagonia.

Trekking in Tierra del Fuego >>

 

Want something less strenuous or pushed for time? Take a multi-activity day trip; 4x4 off road tour of Lago Fagnano, walk amongst penguins on Martillo Island or join a tour to see the local Estancia Harberton.

Find the right trip for you, be it an Adventure Cruise, a trekking trip or a Patagonia tour. To find out more about Ushuaia, read our guide.

Cruises to or from Ushuaia  

4-Day Cruise: Cape, Glacier & Penguins

This once in a lifetime cruise navigates through the fjords of southern Patagonia starting at the End of The World, Tierra del Fuego. Stay ...

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4 days

$1,674

Explore Tierra del Fuego & Cordillera Darwin

This is the ultimate way to see Tierra del Fuego. Sail the Beagle Channel and Magellan Straits for 8 days, and then trek across ...

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20 days

$4,249

Adventure Cruise: South to the Cape

A unique way to see the glaciers and wildlife of Southern Patagonia, Tierra del Fuego and Cape Horn. Sail the Magellan Straits and enjoy ...

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5 days

$1,800

Patagonia Tours including Ushuaia  

Patagonia Parks and Wildlife

Experience everything Patagonia has to offer over 3 weeks, including Torres del Paine and Los Glaciares National parks, the Lake District, Tierra del Fuego ...

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18 days

$6,380

Patagonia & Tierra del Fuego

This itinerary manages to take you all of Patagonia's top regions (including Tierra del Fuego, Torres del Paine, El Chalten, the Lake District) in ...

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23 days

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South America - Southern Explorer

See the highlights of Southern Patagonia in just 2 weeks, including 4 days in Torres del Paine. An overland trip in a specially adapted ...

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13 days

$2,916

Kayaking & Multi Activity Adventures  

Martillo Island Penguin Walk

Spend a morning walking amongst cute Gentoo penguins on Isla Martillo in the Beagle Channel in Tierra del Fuego. On the way you'll stop ...

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1 day

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The Heart of Gable Island

Kayak in the Beagle Channel, visit the lakes and mountains in Tierra del Fuego, including the remote Gable Island. You'll see penguins and spend ...

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3 days

$995

Kayaking Expedition in the Beagle Channel

Paddle with this local kayaking specialist in the challenging Beagle Channel - sailed by Darwin, where you'll get up close to sea lions, see ...

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3 days

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Sea Kayak in the Beagle channel

Sea kayak in the Beagle Channel for 1-3 days - depending on how much of a challenge you are looking for! This trip runs ...

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3 days

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Ushuaia

How do I get there?

The most direct way of getting to Ushuaia is flying from Buenos Aires. There are also 3–4 flights from El Calafate to Ushuaia per day with a duration of 1hr 17m. To find out more about flights, see our Patagonia flights page.

Buses are also an option, buses board the ferry from Punta Delgada in Chile passing through Rio Grande before arriving in Ushuaia. However, this bus trip takes over 12 hours and although it's quite an enjoyable route, many people don't want to spend time on the bus.

We recommend taking the scenic route. First of all visit Los Glaciares National Park then make your way over the border to trek the W Circuit of Torres del Paine National Park. Afterwards, hop on a bus to Punta Arenas and board the Cruceros Australis cruise, a 5 day cruise along the fjords and islands of the Chilean coast, round Cape Horn and through the Magellan Strait, finishing in Ushuaia.

What makes Ushuaia special?

The last point before Antarctica, Ushuaia is located in Tierra del Fuego or 'Land of Fire’, known for its wild and remote landscape and the place where Darwin formed his theory of evolution. Ushuaia is the best place to base yourself as the region has a beautiful national park, only a small part of which is open to the public for day trips and many mountain ranges, some more accessible than others. The landscape here is green and wild, with many beautiful coastal walks, pebbled beaches and mountains everywhere you look.

Ushuaia is easy to access and is a great place to see Ushuaia as part of a longer, guided tour of Patagonia. We offer several trips that allow you to do this from 13 - 23 days in order to see the very best parts of Patagonia including Torres del Paine National Park and El Chalten.

What are the highlights?

A fantastic way of seeing the best of Tierra del Fuego is on an Adventure Cruise. You can take a 4-day cruise from Ushuaia to Punta Arenas (5-days vice versa), you'll round Cape Horn before travelling up the Magellan Straits and along the coast of Chile where you'll see glaciers, forests, penguins and sea lions. The cruise makes daily excursions in fast Zodiac boats, with guided walks and fantastic views. Cabins are comfortable and there's an open bar, 4 course meals, evening entertainment and informative videos and talks from the guides each day. We wholeheartedly recommend sitting back with a glass of cava as you sail past Glacier Alley; 5 hanging glaciers inaccessible by any other means.

Fewer people get out into the mountains here because it's so much more remote. Our partners offer a range of hiking trips in the mountain ranges surrounding Ushuaia and perhaps one of the most exciting is a 20-day trip that Explores the Darwin Moutain Range and combines sailing the icy waters of the Magellan Straits in amongst the glaciers of the Cordillera Darwin Mountain Range and trekking along the Atlantic coast.

Kayaking in the Beagle Channel is a unique experience and not for the faint hearted. The Beagle Channel is known for its strong winds and choppy waves, but kayaking in it is a one off experience which will take you to the channel's remote islands and wildlife.

What is there to do in Ushuaia?

There's a lot to see and do in this region, particularly if you like history and nature – on the coastal walk in the national park, you'll see where the Yaghan boat people used to live as all that remains are 'concheros', (from the Spanish word 'concha', or shell) which are circle shapes in the ground where the natives disgarded their leftover mollusks and shells. More active options include canoeing in Lapataia bay, catching a boat to see the sea lion colony on the 'Isla de Lobos' in the Beagle Channel or join a tour to Isla Martillo to walk on a pebbled beach amongst hundreds of Gentoo penguins.

There are a multitude of museums to visit - the Maritime and Prison Museum, which actually gives a very informative and bleak insight into Ushuaia's past as a penal colony. The Yaghana Museum - A small but interesting museum, dedicated to documenting the way the Yaghana people lived in Tierra del Fuego. You can also take a taxi up to the Martiel Mountain Range and catch a ski lift up to Glacier Martiel to look down over the whole port and Beagle Channel. The ski lift up and down costs $55 Argentinian pesos per person, approximately £9.

Alternatively, buy a ticket at the Ushuaia Boating ticket office in order to catch an early morning ferry to the Chilean naval settlement of Puerto Williams. From this tiny place, you'll be able to catch a bus to Navarino Island where you can start a fantastic 5-day Dientes de Navarino trek along a beautiful mountain range whose name, 'Navarino Teeth' comes from their incredible formation.

What about the penguins?

Patagonia is a wonderful place to see wildlife. Penguins can be seen on various islands throughout Tierra del Fuego and in the Beagle Channel. If you're hoping to see penguins in their natural habitat there are several places to do this. On the Tierra del Fuego cruise you'll stop at Tucker Islets and watch as hundreds of Magellanic penguins dip in and out of the water.

You'll also see sea lions grouped together, fighting, eating and sun bathing on the 'Isla de Los Lobos' in the Beagle Channel, which is a great chance to get up close to them on a small boat and get some great photos. If you want to get up closer still, join a canoe trip in Lapataia bay within the Tierra del Fuego National Park. You'll see hundreds of comorants and if you're lucky, a couple of seals will bob their heads out of the water around you.

Where is Ushuaia?

Ushuaia is quite easy to find on a map as it is the capital of Argentinian Tierra del Fuego, (the broken up part of the very southern tip of Patagonia and South America). It is made up of an archipelago of islets and is divided between Chile and Argentina, although the majority of Tierra del Fuego is in Argentina and its borders follow the direction of the Andean Mountain Range. The biggest city in the area is Ushuaia in Argentina, whilst Puerto Williams, the last town before Antarctica, is in the Chilean part.

What time of year is best to visit?

The climate is generally windy with a chill in winter so it’s best to visit during the Patagonian summer months of November to March when it will be about 5-10 degrees most days.

If you have only a few days to spend in Ushuaia, it's definitely better to get something booked for before you arrive. For example, if the ferry from Ushuaia to Puerto Williams doesn't have a sufficient number of passengers, it won't run and it's good to know that kind of thing before you turn up.

How far is it from Antarctica? Can I do a trip combining both?

The distance between Ushuaia and Livingstone Island in Antarctica is approximately 950 km or 590 miles and the journey to the island takes 3 days to cross. We’re currently in the process of recruiting companies that combine trips to Tierra del Fuego and Antarctica cruises. We have partners that run Tierra del Fuego trips and Antarctica trips, so these can be combined to form one long adventure holiday. Note that trips to Antarctica are generally longer in duration than many of our other trips, sometimes lasting up to 23 days.

What’s the connection with Darwin?

In 1833, a 23 year old Charles Darwin joined the British Expedition on the HMS Beagle to survey the southern tip of South America. Darwin travelled with Captain Fitzroy who would eventually bring four captive natives back to England with the hope of 'civilizing them' through teaching them the Catholic faith, the English language and manners.

Darwin made extensive visits throughout South America but it was in Tierra del Fuego where he was amazed at the differences between the 'uncivilized' aborigines that he found there and the 'civilized' people in Britain.

How can we help you?

We are Patagonian specialists, and have helped all sorts of different people arrange their perfect adventure holiday in Patagonia. Whatever your budget, group size, length of stay, preferred activity or appetite for adventure we're here to help you.

  • Join a group trek or tour
  • Plan an independent day by day itinerary
  • Organise your group's trek, expedition or multi-sport adventure
  • Tailor-made luxury holidays

 

Find out how we can help you >>

When are you
thinking of going?

January

See Patagonia at the height of the season, when you'll have 18 hours of daylight and feel Patagonia's infamous wind at its strongest. There are just so many options open to you in addition to hiking, why not try glacier trekking, mountain biking and white water rafting on the rapids of the Futaleufu River?

If you want to visit last minute, the key is moving quickly and booking your flights. Availability in Chalten shouldn't be too difficult but in Torres del Paine it's likely that refugios will be fully booked. Don't worry though, it's warm enough to camp under the stars. If you're still in the planning stages of your trip but hope to go this season, it's a good idea to get flights booked as early as possible and make the most of Patagonia's summer before autumn sets in April.

February

February is a great time to trek Patagonia's national parks, in particular Torres del Paine quietens down as Chilean visitors head back to their cities. In Feb you can expect temperatures of between 5 and 19 degrees in Torres del Paine, and this could be a good time to trek the W Circuit independently if you want to save some money to go kayaking for example.

If you want to go in February but you've left it last minute, you may be able to find a late deal on our Exclusive Deals page. Your best bet is finding a Patagonia Tours which tend to have lots of departure dates to join during February.

If you're considering visiting next season, (starting in October), why not getting your flights booked good and early? If you're lucky you may be able to get flights from London to Punta Arenas for £850.

March

March is the tail end of the season for adventure in Patagonia so the infamous Patagonian wind will be on its way out, there'll be fewer people in the national parks so generally quieter on the trails. This is great as you may find prices come down slightly as the locals and tourists leave, but it's more difficult to get a group together, so could be harder if you're travelling alone (although we'll strive to pair you up with someone). However, most longer, multi-location trips run by our global operator partners still run in March and they tend to have bigger groups, but prepare for rain if your trip visits the lake district!

April

In April the season is coming to an end, so try to get there in the first half of the month for more availability and better weather conditions. If you're hoping to stay in the Eco Camp in Torres del Paine or do an adventure cruise round Cape Horn, they finish for the season in early April, so get going! Luckily it's about this time that skiing in Bariloche becomes available in the Argentinian Lake District. Remember that many mountain lodges and estancias close around this time making it hard to do the W or Full Circuit for example. Plus certain services become unavailable such as the catamaran across Lago Pehoe in Torres del Paine and glacier hiking, so it may be a good idea to go earlier in the season if these are on your list of things to do.

Find out more about visiting Torres del Paine in winter >>

May

Winter is getting into full swing now so you may want to try out volcano skiing in the Patagonian Lake District or tailor made tours that take into account the potentially difficult weather conditions. As many operators and lodges wind down for the winter, fewer travellers visit the trails and parks so private departures on most trips are likely. The weather will be a bit like trekking in wales in Dec, are you up for that challenge?

Find out more about visiting Torres del Paine in winter >>

June

At this time of year, the snow is starting to settle in Torres del Paine National Park and the trees are brown and orange, a very beautiful time to see the highlights. June is also when operators launch their Winter W Circuit and Fitz Roy trips, which vary from the usual itineraries as many refugios are closed and van transfers are required because the catamaran across Lago Pehoe stops. Although days are short and weather temperamental, if you can see Patagonia in winter, it will be serene and picturesque.

Find out more about visiting Torres del Paine in winter >>

July

Mid winter, July is equivalent to our January in terms of weather. This is a great time to take advantage of the skiing Patagonia has to offer, particularly in the Chilean and Argentinian Lake Districts. Araucania offers off piste skiing, whereas Bariloche is home to the popular Cerro Catedral Resort but also caters for off piste skiing. For adrenaline junkies, you can ski down the slopes of several volcanoes on certain trips. If you're planning a trip for next season, start looking at flights as the sooner you book them, the cheaper they are.

If you hope to visit Torres del Paine this month, find out more about visiting Torres del Paine in winter >>

August

This is a great time for snow shoeing in Bariloche, or skiing in the Patagonian Lake District. There are also some winter trips in the Torres del Paine & Fitz Roy areas. Come prepared - cold temperatures, snow and short days means that your trip may not go 100% according to plan, Chalten is known for snow blocking the roads for a day or 2. Alternatively, August is a great time to plan and book trips for the early part of the season ahead, at this time operators will be starting to release availability and rates to help with that.

August is the last month to take advantage of specially designed winter trips in Torres del Paine. If you're keen to see the park covered in snow, find out more about hiking in Torres del Paine in winter >>

September

In September, it's still pretty chilly in Patagonia, with snow and temperatures of 5 degrees in El Calafate for example. If you're hoping to trek the main national parks, you may find that operators don't have any groups heading out, so you may have to go on a private trip with just your guide. The season really kicks off at the end of September/beginning of October with W Circuit and Full Circuit trips as well as estancias and lodges opening their doors to clients.

However, winter trips are still running in Torres del Paine. Find out more here >>

October

Get in before the crowds - you won't see many people on the W Circuit and you'll have the northern part of the park pretty much to yourself on the Full Circuit (you may even come face to face with the endangered Huemul deer). It's still a bit too early for horse riding and rafting trips, you're best off doing these from November onwards. So if you're thinking about visiting Patagonia this season, get your flights and trips booked, as availability really starts to tighten up over October/November.

November

November is a good time to visit: late spring/early summer. Not too busy but a full range of trips and itineraries to choose from. If you want to visit this month, you need to move fast. Refugios are getting booked up until January, but the operator will work hard to fit you in. Don't forget it takes at least a week to organise a tour, so don't leave it too late!

December

Mid summer, 18 hours of daylight and there will probably be days when you're hiking in shorts and t-shirt. Many Chileans and Argentinians will come down to Patagonia for their Christmas break so availability may be tight and you should expect the National Parks to be busier.

It's essential that you get your flights and tours booked asap, as flight prices are also increasing.

Guide to Patagonia

Patagonia spans over 1,000 miles north to south and landscapes ranging from forests, to glaciers, to volcanoes and deserts. Read our Patagonia Guide to find out: how to get there, when to go, what to see and how to find the best trip. Or find out about:

 

Read our Patagonia Guide >

 

How can we help you?

We are Patagonian specialists, and have helped all sorts of different people arrange their perfect adventure holiday in Patagonia. Whatever your budget, group size, length of stay, preferred activity or appetite for adventure we're here to help you.

  • Join a group trek or tour
  • Plan an independent day by day itinerary
  • Organise your group's trek, expedition or multi-sport adventure
  • Tailor-made luxury holidays

 

Find out how we can help you >>

Questions? Need help?

Ask a question on our Adventure Planner

Call us on: +44 (0) 117 369 0196 (we're open 9am to 6pm, 7 days a week)

Email us at: advice@swooptravel.co.uk

Contact us on Skype: swoop_in

Twitter: @SwoopPatagonia

Get in Touch >>

About Swoop

We've spent 15 years exploring Patagonia, and arranged holidays for over a thousand customers. We have a network of trusted guides, lodges, and local operators across the region and delight in helping people plan and arrange a great holiday.

You can book directly with our local partners in Chile and Argentina, or with our ATOL certified company here in the UK.

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