Ushuaia may be on your radar because of your upcoming Antarctica trip and there are many things to do in Ushuaia and Ushuaia attractions to visit to keep you busy for 1-3 days before or after your Antarctica trip. To be honest, not spending time in Ushuaia before or after Antarctica is a bit of a shame!
Not going to Antarctica? Don’t worry, there are still so many Ushuaia things to do for you too and if you are wondering is Ushuaia worth visiting? even if you aren’t going to Antarctica, my answer is 100% YES!
Things To Do in Ushuaia
Visiting Ushuaia before Antarctica
Ushuaia, also known as the ‘end of the world’ is the Southernmost city in Argentina and the world! And it’s super fun to go there and start saying everything is ‘at the end of the world’ – the post office, the railway, the tavern, the museum etc!
I have just spent 3 days in Ushuaia around my Antarctica expedition in November, and I fell in love with the small town-like city like most people who also visit do, I’m sure!
I got to Ushuaia 48 hours before my cruise to Antarctica left because I wanted to see the end of the world, and, if my luggage had gone missing on my flights, I wanted to give myself some time to retrieve it!
Luckily everything was ok with my luggage and I ended up very glad I had 2 days before my cruise and 1 day after to explore this part of the world and many of the ‘most southern x places in the world’ which you’ll see plenty of below in this things to do in Ushuaia travel guide.
Travel Tip – If you are still planning your trip to Ushuaia, I do recommend spending more time in Ushuaia before rather than after your Antarctica cruise because Ushuaia and the surrounding areas are incredibly beautiful but once your eyes have seen Antarctica you might come back not as impressed with Ushuaia, that’s how I felt anyway!
I went out on this half-day tour in Ushuaia which was a perfect way to see a lot and get a feel for the surrounding area and most notably the national park Tierra del Fuego.
I explored the city too eating in some of the best places to eat in Ushuaia, of course, I tried the famous King Crab! And I got a good feel for plenty of the other attractions in Ushuaia and tours in Ushuaia on offer which I’ll go into to help you plan the best trip.
So Vamos, let’s get into what to do in Ushuaia along with some extra helpful information on where to stay in Ushuaia and where to eat in Ushuaia!
Ushuaia Day Tours
1. 4 Hour Half Day Tour – Tierra del Fuego National Park, End of the World Train Ride, End of the World Post Office Stop
If you are short on time or don’t want to worry about getting taxis from place to place, especially if you don’t speak any Spanish, then a day tour in Ushuaia is the best way to go!
I did this half-day tour in Ushuaia which included transport from the city to the Tierra del Fuego National Park, tickets for a journey on the train which is the most Southernly train and railway in the world, transport from the train station to a few stops in the national park including the most Southernly post office and Lake Roca.
I really enjoyed this Ushuaia tour because the train journey was absolutely stunning and I ticked many things off my list like seeing Tierra del Fuego National Park, the train and the post office.
It was a whistle-stop tour, we didn’t do much walking and were very much on and off the coach, it also cost quite a bit with the train included however getting taxis to Tierra del Fuego National Park by yourself can really add up in cost and you risk not being able to find a taxi to take you back, plus, most train tickets were sold out online but the tour company could get train tickets and this part was a huge highlight as the train journey was stunning.
Having a local tour guide who spoke Spanish and good English was a huge advantage too!
2. Full Day Tour – Beagle Channel Cruise, Tierra del Fuego National Park, End of the World Train Ride, End of the World Post Office Stop
There is also this full-day tour on offer by the same provider I went with above which includes all of the above plus a boat ride on the Beagle Channel which is easily one of the top things to do in Ushuaia because of the impressive scenery and chance to see wildlife like Sea lions and Penguins, depending on the season.
I decided to do the half-day tour because the full-day tour is a full 10-hour day out and I was worried jetlag may come after me later on, however afterwards, I realised that although this day tour of Ushuaia is 10 hours long, you do have a 1.5-2 hour break in Ushuaia at lunchtime so you can get yourself lunch, pop back to your hotel and have a break before heading out on the beagle channel.
The company these tours run through is Rumbo Sur which is a well-known tour company in Ushuaia and their office and meeting point is at ‘Muelle Turistico’ right by the harbour along with other companies.
You can book in person with the company at their office however unless you arrive a few days before, in high tourist season (November to March) you’ll probably find they have sold out so booking ahead online is a good idea!
Talking of tickets selling out… I visited Ushuaia and Antarctica in November which is the start of Antarctica cruise season and the city was very busy. I booked my ticket for the half-day tour the day before for 8:00 am as this was the only option on Viator, however, the tour operator messaged me a few hours later to say 8:00 am was not available as it was sold out and asked if I could do 2:00 pm instead.
This was fine for me but if you are looking for things to do in Ushuaia before an Antarctica cruise, you should book a tour like this a whole day before or after your cruise, not on the morning you depart in case you come back late or times get changed.
Things to do in Ushuaia
Below are more places to visit in Ushuaia and places to visit near Ushuaia, notably in Tierra del Fuego National Park.
These places are top of the list of things to do in Ushuaia however due to the lack of public transport they aren’t the easiest to access on your own as you need to rely on taxis, shared minibuses, and perhaps a bit of Spanish, but it can be done.
3. Double Decker Ushuaia City Tour
This double-decker tour is one of the unique things to do in Ushuaia as you will board an old blue English double-decker bus which acts as a hop-on hop-off bus to see the city with an audio guide.
A journey last as little as one hour depending on your time off, meaning if you are short on time, you can see the Ushuaia attractions easily in a comfortable way. Visit places in Ushuaia like Ushuaia’s old prison and homes constructed by some of the area’s first immigrants—and take a trip out to Le Martial Glacier!
4. Beagle Channel Cruise
The Beagle Channel, or by its native name Onašaga, is one of the things that makes the end of the world fascinating. This is a channel leading out to the Drake Passage and the literal end of the world with Chile on one side and Ushuaia on another.
If you are going on an Antarctica Cruise expedition, you will sail down the Beagle Channel on your ship but a dedicated cruise gets you much closer and you’ll actually spend time and learn about the channel and its wildlife.
If seeing the lighthouse at the end of the world is on your list of Ushuaia things to do, you’ll see that on a Beagle Channel Cruise like this!
There are many different Beagle Channel cruises on offer offering chances to see different wildlife. Here are the top-rated tours on Viator with local providers in Ushuaia!
5. Ushuaia Sign
A great photo opportunity to celebrate being in Ushuaia and at the end of the world is to get a photo at the Ushuaia Sign along the harbour.
The sign isn’t super close to the city centre or right next to the tourist information offices and booking offices, it’s a 10-minute walk or so along the water but it is a lovely walk and worth going to!
At night, and around sunset, the sign lights up in lots of colours which is great to see.
If you are a solo traveller, don’t worry about not getting a picture of you with the sign. There’s bound to be lots of people around taking photos so ask them to take one of you!
6. Harbour Walk
I recommend heading to ‘Muelle Turistico‘ where all of the tour company offices are, walking around here and then walking to the Ushuaia sign to really soak in the views of the Beagle Channel and the mountains all around.
It’s incredibly impressive in the day, the scenes your eyes will see look like paintings! But it’s also really pretty at sunset if you get a good sunset sky.
If you need to blow off any jet lag cobwebs or want an easy Ushuaia walk, this is the place to go!
7. Glacier Hike from Ushuaia
I did this hike on my last day in Ushuaia and I really loved it! We were looking for some fairly easy hikes in Ushuaia and specifically hikes from Ushuaia rather than hikes in the National Park.
It’s a hike to Martial Glacier but don’t let the idea of the Glacier put you off! Also, if you go in Summer, you won’t see too much of the Glacier but it’s still a great hike in Ushuaia to do!
This hike starts from one of the hotels up on the hill. We started it from Las Hayas Hotel (google maps link here) which is where we stayed on the night of our Antarctica tour so if you do a tour with Intrepid and stay here too, you could easily do this short Ushuaia hike in the morning before getting on the cruise.
You can walk from Ushuaia city to Las Hayas hotel but it is quite a walk uphill, so we took a taxi up to Las Hayas Hotel from Ushuaia centre which cost around 800 Peso, walked around the back of the hotel and from there there are blue dots on all the trees which you keep following until you enter an opening high up which offers a great view over the city and water. From here, you can continue until you get to the bottom of the mountains.
(The footpaths are detailed on the app maps.me which I prefer to use for footpaths instead of Google Maps as Google doesn’t show these footpaths)
To get back, simply follow the red dots on the other side of the trees and from Las Hayas Hotel it’s easy and nice to walk down the windy road back to Ushuaia city centre.
The whole hike including getting the taxi up took us about 2 hours. Unless you are walking up to Las Hayas it’s not particularly strenuous and it is amazing to be up this high at the Mountain base!
8. Scenic Helicopter Flight
This trip is likely a once-in-a-lifetime trip for you, something you have been saving, planning and waiting for so why not do a bucket list activity like taking a Helicopter ride?
One of the couples on my Antarctica cruise booked this Helicopter flight when they arrived in Ushuaia and they said it was amazing!
On this scenic flight, you’ll fly over the Tierra del Fuego with views of glaciers, lagoons and valleys below you. For a scenic flight, there are not many more scenic places in the world!
9. See the Ships going to Antarctica
Seeing the different ships heading out to Antarctica at the port can be really interesting to see, especially if you are heading out on a cruise yourself or you’re looking for things to do in Ushuaia after Antarctica as you’ll understand the ships a bit better.
The best spot for ship spotting in Ushuaia is from ‘Muelle Turistico‘ where all of the tour company offices are.
10. Ushuaia Prison
The history of Ushuaia is really interesting! The prisoners of Ushuaia were part of the Ushuaia community building places like the railway in the city and houses for residents.
Find out more about visiting the Prison as part of what to do in Ushuaia on there website here!
11. Museum of Local History
A great place to visit when you first get to Ushuaia and before your Antarctica Cruise is this Museum of local history and natural history called Museo del Fin del Mundo (Google maps link here).
Learn about exhibits on sailing, whaling, and seabirds which relate to this southern part of South America and nearby Antarctica.
Read more about the museum and visiting on their website here. Note that the museum is closed on all day Sunday and Saturday morning.
12. Shopping in Ushuaia
There are many souvenir shops in Ushuaia (although unfortunately, they barely sell any Antarctica items, only Ushuaia-related pieces) which sell the usual teddys, t-shirts, magnets and keychains.
But there are also many outdoor shops and chocolate shops! Don’t forget to get some boxes of Alfajores to take home!
One of the places for shopping in Ushuaia I recommend is the Enriqueta Gasturumendi’s Craft Fair (google maps link here) because this has lots of stalls with handmade items by small local businesses and you get different things here than in the general souvenir shops!
Places to visit near Ushuaia
13. Train at the End of the World
This was a huge highlight of my Ushuaia activities! As mentioned, I combined the train journey with my half-day tour so I was taken to the train station and the tour guide purchased my tickets but you can do this yourself too!
Take a 1.5 – 2 hour journey on an old steam heritage train through incredibly beautiful scenery along the base of the Andes with horses roaming either side, small waterfalls to see and a few stops included.
You’ll also get a smile from the staff dressed as prisoners as well as learn a lot about the railway and prison history using an audio guide available in many languages.
The train station is called the Southern Fuegian Railway and it’s called this on Google maps too (link here).
It’s best to buy tickets in advance on their website here and fairly in advance during high season as when I was there in November, all the people I know who looked for tickets the day before they wanted to go, saw that tickets were all sold out.
You’ll be assisted onto the right train by the staff who I found helpful and who communicated in English well. After your return journey, you’ll be back at the station and because many people get a taxi here you should be able to get a taxi from here.
14. Post Office at the End of the World
A super cool place to visit near Ushuaia is the most southern post office, also known as the post office at the end of the world!
On Google maps it is called Correo del fin del Mundo (link here) and is located on the edge of Tierra del Fuego National Park.
Here, you can get your passport stamped (if you wish and at your own risk) and send a postcode from the end of the world!
It’s also located in a stunning place right on a stony beach with clear waters and grass areas to sit in, we even saw wild horses eating by themselves on the grass!
If you want to get here on your own you can get a taxi from Ushuaia. Note that you will need to pay the National Park fee so it is best that you combine visiting here with a hike too to get more use out of the fee.
(I think the fee keeps changing as the Argentinian peso keeps changing so ask your accommodation for the current Tierra del Fuego National Park entrance fee)
It’s best to get a taxi number or arrange with the taxi driver to wait or pick you up as you might struggle to get a taxi back as you are being dropped off in a fairly remote area.
The post office opening times do vary. I believe it’s open Monday to Saturday but does close around lunchtime each day, but also double-check that with your accommodation or at the tourism office.
15. Tierra del Fuego National Park Hikes
If you like hiking, hiking in Tierra del Fuego National Park is what you need to plan for your Ushuaia thing to do!
Many people come to Ushuaia purely for these Tierra del Fuego National Park hikes, especially the popular hike to Emerald Lagoon.
A group I met on the ship to Antarctica did an easy Tierra del Fuego National Park hike after the cruise to the point in the National Park where the Chile border which they really enjoyed.
I didn’t do anything hikes here myself so I’d recommend checking out this hiking Tierra del Fuego National Park guide and this guide to hiking Tierra del Fuego National Park to help you with planning independent hikes.
Or, if you wish to book a hiking tour with a guide and added extras like the Train at the End of the World, here are highly-rated options on Viator:
Where to Eat in Ushuaia
Part of your Ushuaia sightseeing and things to do in Ushuaia should include eating local foods in some of the best restaurants in Ushuaia.
16. Eat King Crab
Natural king crab is one of the popular specialities of Ushuaia so make sure this is on your list of things to do in Ushuaia.
We were recommended by my friend’s Airbnb host to eat at La Cantina de Freddy or in Spanish El Rey de la Centolla which we really enjoyed. (Google maps link here)
It’s only a small restaurant and you can make reservations if you are a group (in fact, making reservations during the high season even for 1 or 2 of you is a good idea as places book up quickly!), and we liked that it felt like a local authentic restaurant but as non-Spanish speakers, it was easy to order everything.
I particularly enjoyed that the crab had been pulled apart already for us as I’m not used to eating crab, it tasted incredibly fresh!
If you love Crab or want to know more about the history of the King Crabs, check out this well-rated tour on Viator – Crab Route through Tierra del Fuego from Ushuaia
17. Visit the Tavern at the end of the world
Another top ‘end of the world’ location is the most southerly tavern Taberna Del Viejo Lobo (Google maps link here)
I liked it here because it has a few different floors, it’s pretty cheesy with a Prisoner theme but fun and whether you just want a drink, a coffee and cake or a full meal, you can get that here.
There’s also a museum on the bottom floor.
18. Try Authentic Patagonian Food
Bodegón Fueguino (Google maps link here) is one of the popular places to eat in Ushuaia. It’s a century-old Fuegian home which is cool to see from the outside and the inside with its cosy interior. It’s recommended by Lonely Planet!
I had fish risotto which is a popular dish to eat in Ushuaia and it’s perfect for lunch or dinner in Ushuaia.
Getting around Ushuaia
If you stay in the city and on one of the streets close to the water you will be within walking distance of everything in the city and will need transport only to get to and from the airport and National Park.
I got a taxi from Ushuaia Airport to my hotel easily.
Where to Stay in Ushuaia
There are in a really amazing location with beautiful views over the mountains and water, with wood walks on your doorstep, however, when it comes to how to get around Ushuaia, you will need to hire a car, rely on taxis which do not only add up in cost but you do have to wait a while for them to arrive as you are far from the town, or rely on hotel shuttle buses if available.
I recommend staying in the city of Ushuaia rather than up the hill if you do not have a car and if you do want to be in the city quite a bit.
I stayed at Hosteria y Restaurante America which is in a perfect location, the staff are friendly but I did find the rooms quite noisy at night.
I hope this list of things to do in Ushuaia helps you out! It’s the perfect base and excitement builder for Antarctica!
- Here are more posts from my trip:
- Visiting Antarctica in November! Best Time To Visit Antarctica?