After a quick stopover Punta Arenas, where went to two museums as well as the famous cemetery, we took the bus to Ushuaia. 12 hours bus ride including a ferry crossing through the landscapes of Tierra del Fuego. Nature here looks different to the rest of Patagonia, with abundant forests, large lakes, mountains and glaciers. Patagonia is rather flat with exception to the Andean peaks and mostly covered by bushes.
The town of Ushuaia is a beloved landing point for cruise ships and Antarctica expeditions, being located at a channel crossing from the Atlantic to the Pacific. The Beagle channel was named after the HMS Beagle – an expedition ship led by Captain Fitz Roy in the 19th century that had the mission to map and explore the Tierra del Fuego.
The town itself has risen from a small settlement to a touristic center with an abundance of outdoor shops banks and pricey restaurants. Be prepared to spend some money to be able to see the beautiful local attractions – the very nice cruise on the channel including sightings of whales, sea lions, penguins and comorans costs around 100USD for 4 hours cruise.
We also took the bus (30USD, 45min drive, 30 USD park entrance) to the Tierra del Fuego National Park – where the local tribes of Yamana used to live. There is a variety of hikes available – we chose the coastal walk that started at the southernmost post office and leads one along rocky beaches and through rainforest. Unfortunately the last part of the trail follows the parks main road. The main visitor center, that offers an interesting exhibition on local fauna, flora and geology as well as a restaurant, is also the starting point of several hikes as well as the return stop for busses to Ushuaia.
On our last 2 days in the far south the weather changed and we could witness the first snowfall of the end of summer.
Bye bye cold and rainy, we flew to Cordoba to enjoy sun again.
- Punta Arenas – Mesita Grande restaurant. Good pizza and pasta with local beers for fair prices. Restaurant and vinothek Damiana Elena -crowded by locals all nights -only seasonal food, fresh meat and daily catches. Massive wine selection. Pricey but yum!
- Museo Regional de Magallanes – old palacio from settler times that belonged to one of the most important traders in Patagonia. Free entrance. Museo Mayorino Borgatello – huge collection of old stuffed animals from Patagonia. Exposition about indigenous tribes and settlers. Cheap entrance – good thing to do when it rains. On the corner there is a good coffeehouse as well that serves great lemon pie.
- Ushuaia: fancy lodging Los Acebos (100usd) – huge rooms with awesome view over city and channel. Located overlooking the town. Free Shuttle bus to town. Amazing breakfast.
- Restaurants: Christopher Grill (try the ribs), Maria Lola, El Viejo Marinero (fresh huge kingcrab).