Argentina travel guide




Ushuaia Travel Guide

The City of Ushuaia

Ushuaia is the capital of the province of Tierra del Fuego, is the southernmost city in the world, is encircled by a range of rugged peaks and fronted by the Beagle Channel (named for HMS Beagle, the ship of Charles Darwin), it has approximately 64,000 inhabitants. Ushuaia means "bay penetrating westward" in the Yamana language.

In the past, the town was home of the Yamana Indians, later it was a penal colony for serious criminals (being a remote island, escape from the prison would have been impossible), prisoners built the train known as the Tren del Fin del Mundo (End of the Earth Train), Ushuaia was also a naval base for the Argentine government. The population is growing fast as a result of immigration and tourism, the government has designated Tierra del Fuego as a virtually tax free zone, to encourage people to settle. Its climate is not as severe as it seems, the mountains and the sea soften it, temperatures rarely drop below -10 degrees, in summer temperatures are above the +12 degrees.

You can visit the Ushuaia Prison Museum, one of the most visited attractions in Ushuaia today, it offers a fascinating look into the lives of the prisoners through interpretive displays and artifacts. The Wing 4, another area within the prison, has been designated as a Marine Museum and offers a history of Ushuaia's settlement from the time of its discovery. There are a restaurant, where tourists can eat "prison" meals. Or maybe, you could visit the End of the World Museum, where you can see Indian hunting tools, colonial maritime instruments, a old general store, packed with antique products and a store with excellent books about Patagonia for sale.

Ushuaia is not only a city at the "end of the world", Ushuaia is a city conformed by old-fashioned wood and metal houses and modern buildings in a spectacular environment. Ushuaia is now a major tourist town, a great destination with plenty of activities, many visitors use the city as a base for winter sports and for trips to Antarctica or trips around Cape Horn.

This picturesque city possesses an important tourist services infrastructure, excellent hotels, casinos and restaurants, with a gourmet selection of traditional Fueguian crab, black hake, cod, bream and exquisite shellfish. There is also an elegant commercial center and an increasing social and cultural activity.

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