Ushuaia, Argentina | Gringo’s Travel Guide
Ushuaia, Argentina is one unique place. Hell, it's unlike anywhere I've ever been before.
Nestled all the way on the southern tip of South America, Ushuaia has been labeled the “southernmost city in the world” — although that title has been challenged by Puerto Williams, Chile as of late. Though many still consider Ushuaia to be the final frontier before Antarctica because Puerto Williams isn't a “city” really, it's more like a town.
Either way, Ushuaia is different. Odd. Like stepping back in time a decade or two. For example, I was walking around downtown Ushuaia one chilly afternoon and I spotted a furniture store. One of those places where you rent furniture until you own it.
My buddy and I decided to walk in because we had sh*t else to do that afternoon. I expected modern furnishing like I'd find in many an Airbnb in Buenos Aires or even Bariloche.
To my surprise, the furniture in this store, supposedly some of the newer available furnishings in Ushuaia, looked like it should be on a 1990's sitcom. It was like walking around the set of “Friends” in this furniture store.
But that's to be expected in Ushuaia, Argentina. A city on the outskirts of civilization, far from the modernization of other Latin America cities.
P.S: Not all the furnishings in Ushuaia look this “antique” these days, especially at nice hotels and hostels…
Best Hotel in Ushuaia, Argentina: Click Here!
Best Hostel in Ushuaia, Argentina: Click Here!
And while visiting Ushuaia feels like stepping back in time, it's also a damn good time. The Argentinian city boosts some amazing tourism and is the gateway for visiting Antartica, as well. The spot is well worth a week or two of your life, and I enjoyed myself thoroughly while visiting.
Hanging out with penguins, “mushing” sled dogs, drunken ATV tours, and so much more.
But enough of me fluff, let's dig into the nitty gritty of Ushuaia travel. Below you'll find everything you'd ever need to know about Ushuaia, Argentina…
Table of Contents
How to Get to Ushuaia, Argentina
I could write about the various ways to get to Ushuaia, Argentina. And I'll break it down for you.
However, there's no need to overcomplicate getting to the one of the southernmost cities in the world…
You'll want to book a flight!
Te lo juro.
Ushuaia is far, far away from the rest of the civilized world. If you want to get here, the absolute easiest way is to book a non-stop flight from one of the following cities:
- Buenos Aires
- El Calafate
You can also fly from Santiago, Chile and Bariloche, Argentina — both with layovers in Buenos Aires. The flight from El Calafate is quick, quick. It's about three and a half hours from Buenos Aires depending on the weather.
Flying from Buenos Aires and/or El Calafate to Ushuaia generally cost anywhere from $75-19o USD one-way.
With how far away Ushuaia, Argentina is, I generally recommend not taking a bus here. You'll be spending a full day or more on a bus to arrive at this city in the middle of nowhere. Not ideal.
However, it is possible to get to Ushuaia by land. Both by car and by bus.
Here's how it's done by bus:
You'll have to arrive in Río Gallegos, a city nearly 600 km to the north of Ushuaia. You can take buses from El Calafate and Buenos Aires to Río Gallegos. These will be long, long trips — especially the Buenos Aires trip. Not recommended.
Once you arrive in Río Gallegos, you'll be able to take a bus to Ushuaia. This bus has to hop over into Chile, which will require passing through customs. Then you'll pass through the Strait of Magellan.
Eventually, around 10+ hours later, you'll arrive in the city of Ushuaia.
This is the only way to get to Ushuaia by bus — unless you're in Chile. In which case, you can travel from Puerto Natales to Puerto Arenas to Ushuaia. This route tends to take over a day, as you have to stop in Puerto Arenas and spend the night. Going through customs is also a concern again.
For individuals driving themselves to Ushuaia, here's something else to consider. These are the distances from other cities in the region to Ushuaia…
- Río Gallegos, Argentina: 594 km
- Punta Arenas, Chile: 831 km
- El Calafate, Argentina: 914 km
- Río Grande, Argentina: 230 km
- Buenos Aires, Argentina: 3194 km
- Córdoba, Argentina: 3199 km
- Bariloche, Argentina: 2178 km
Ushuaia is off-the-beaten path and hard to get to — no matter how you slice it. As such, this gringo only recommends flying to Ushuaia. Anything else is simply too much of a pain in the arse.
Understanding Ushuaia Weather & Seasons
Being so far south, it's to be expected…
Ushuaia is a chilly place. Even in the “summer” months, you can't expect warm, warm weather in Ushuaia. There's no such thing as warm when you're this close to Antarctica.
While Ushuaia is cold enough nearly year around, the winters here aren't as painful as one would expect. For some odd reason, the ocean keeps the temperature “warmer” in the winter than one would expect in for polar climates.
For example, the average low temperature in June, the coldest month of the year, is 29.8 °F or −1.2 °C (Source). That's cold, but not nearly as cold as one would expect when you're practically in Antarctica.
While the temperature isn't incredibly cold here, most find the city feels colder than it is. Ushuaia is typically quite windy all year and the place doesn't get a ton of sunshine. In fact, it's been said that Ushuaia gets the least sunshine of any city in Argentina.
High Season in Ushuaia…
High season in Ushuaia, Argentina coincides with the summer months of November through March. During these months, the city sees its fair share of tourism.
These months are the only time of the year when Antarctica cruises can set sail from Ushuaia, as well. So many people come to Ushuaia to check out the city, see some penguins, and then head off on their cruise to Antarctica. While the city isn't packed during these months, it's somewhat busy.
In the off-season, there's no cruises to Antarctica and most of the tourism in Ushuaia involves skiing. The city is home to one of the best ski resorts in all of Argentina, maybe even South America — Cerro Castor. So you'll still see some tourist heading here for their daily dose of powder and adrenaline.
If skiing and winter sports aren't your thing, there's really no reason to come to Ushuaia outside of the summer high season.
Where to Stay in Ushuaia, Argentina
I was a bit surprised to find out that nearly 150,000 people call Ushuaia, Argentina home. I expected a small mountain town nearly inside the Antarctic circle. Ushuaia is a little more developed than that, although not much.
I state that because the place is just a bit bigger than you'd expect when looking at a map, and if you get too far away from the center, you'll be struggling to maneuver throughout the city without a car.
As such, you'll want to stay smack dab in the center. Well, if you want to walk to restaurants, cafes, and tourism offices.
I recommend staying as close to the ‘blue dot' as humanly possible…
That locale is smack dab in the center of Ushuaia and within walking distance to dozens upon dozens of restaurants, cafes, and bars. You'll also find decent shopping around here and a number of tour operators.
You can walk down to the port area from here, as well. Making the location exceptionally convenient.
I'd recommend looking for an Airbnb in this area, but be forewarned…
Apartment options in downtown Ushuaia are exceptionally slim, especially if you want any type of modern amenities. Wifi is spotty at best and heaters are known to have an issue every now and then in Ushuaia.
Airbnb rentals in Patagonia are often horrible!
I wasn't happy with my Airbnb rental in the city, but it's worth a shot to check out if anything decent in Ushuaia is available during your date.
Best Ushuaia Hotels
For most travelers, staying in a Ushuaia hotel is far preferable to any Airbnb rental in the city. The amenities you can find at hotels here just surpass what most apartments can offer — especially with regards to Wifi.
By staying in a hotel in Ushuaia, you'll end up enjoying your time here far more. Te lo juro.
With that in mind, here are the best Ushuaia hotels:
This is the nicest Ushuaia hotel I could find. Highly recommended.
Located in the absolute best part of town, Hotel Albatross features modern, boutique-style decor combined with decent wifi, a sauna, and a fitness center.
You'll be able to walk to dozens of restaurants and the port is just a few minutes walking. On top of that, the breakfast buffet is a great added benefit and can be quite filling — a rarity in Argentina.
You'll find a full restaurant and bar inside the hotel, as well. To make life easier when it gets a little bit cold at night in Ushuaia.
Overall, I'd 100% stay here if you can afford it. Hotel Albatros more than gets the job done.
Hotel Tierra del Fuego
If the hotel above is a bit out of your price range, then Hotel Tierra del Fuego may suit you. Another ideally located Ushuaia hotel, this spot features a fitness center, modern decor, and so much more.
Breakfast comes included, but what I really love about this place is the views. Many of the hotel rooms here offer incredible views of the surrounding nature and Beagle Channel. Quite a site to behold!
The wifi works well here and the staff is excellent. Overall, a solid choice when looking for centrally located hotels in Ushuaia.
While the name is odd, this hotel is another solid option in Ushuaia, Argentina. MIL810 is a centrally located hotel in the heart of the city.
Featuring comfortable rooms, decent wifi, a solid included breakfast, and great views of the Beagle Channel — this place offers everything you'd need for a solid stay in Ushuaia.
MIL810 is also a little bit cheaper than the options above, while still offering the creature comforts you need to succeed.
Best Hostels in Ushuaia, Argentina
If the hotels in Ushusia, Argentina are a little too pricey — then there are a few hostels in the city. While I'd start with Airbnb rentals and hotels, there's no denying both can break the bank here. Not ideal when traveling on a budget.
So with that in mind, here's a few of the best hostels in Ushuaia:
If looking for a hostel in Ushuaia, I'd start here — Antarctica Hostel. This place is in an ideal central location, walkable to anywhere you'd want to do in downtown.
Plus, you'll find great prices here, dorms, private rooms, and hot showers. Oh, and the rooms are actually pretty nice for a hostel. The staff is exceptionally friendly and helpful when planning out tours.
Breakfast comes included, as does free Wifi. Overall, you'll find a chill hostel vibe here and friendly people. Antartica Hostel is highly recommended.
Hostel Yakush is another fantastic option for budget travelers checking out Ushuaia, Argentina. The place features an incredible central location, friendly staff, clean rooms, and hot showers.
Breakfast and free Wifi comes included, along with the ability to book tours on-site. Overall, you'll be more than pleased staying at Hostel Yakush. Recommended.
Restaurants in Ushuaia, Argentina
I'm far from a foodie, so I might not be the perfect person to ask about restaurants in Ushuaia, Argentina. I tend to find a couple places I like and then stop looking for anything else.
That happened again in Ushuaia.
Here's some of my favorite restaurants in town:
- Dieguito: I could have eaten every single one of my meals here and been happy. Dieguito served some of the best empanadas I've ever had in my life. They also have great pizzas, grilled meat, and a buffet line. Oh, and the staff, which I believe is comprised of mainly family, is exceptionally friendly. They blare old-school rock music and have a good time while making amazing food. MUST visit while in Ushuaia.
- Bar Ideal: This is an old-school fisherman's bar or restaurant. Touted as the oldest bar in Ushuaia, it's touristy and unique. Highly recommended checking it out once. The seafood is decent and they've got a solid selection of beers. Some people love it, others hate it. I was happy with my food the few times I went.
Things to Do in Ushuaia, Argentina
There's a reason so many travelers head off to the southernmost city in the world these days — because there's lots of things to do in Ushuaia, Argentina.
Located in Patagonia, the city features some incredible tourist attractions, destinations, and tours. In fact, a few of my favorite things I did in all of Argentinian Patagonia can be found in Ushuaia.
Just note: I didn't take an Antarctica cruise, so I won't be talking about that here. However, this is the main reason most come to Ushuaia.
Without further ado, here's a few things to do in Ushuaia, Argentina:
“Mush” with Sled Dogs
I absolutely adored hanging out with the sled dogs at Valle de Lobos just outside Ushuaia. There's dozens upon dozens of dogs here, all happy to meet travelers and get some attention.
In the winter months, you can actually go on a true sleigh ride with the sled dogs and even mutter “mush” a few times. Highly recommended.
I came in the summertime and still had an incredible time here. I was able to play with the dogs, learn about the facility, and more. The tour also came with all-you-can-eat steak and unlimited wine.
Then after drinking wine…
You're able to drunkenly drive an ATV around the trails leading up to the Emerald Lagoon. My buddy ended up drunkingly crashing his ATV and one of the workers had to go fetch him a few km away from the dog facility. I laughed.
The combination of hanging out with sled dogs and drunken ATV rides is one hell of a good time. Albeit a slightly dangerous time, tambien.
Chillin' with Penguins
Another one of the highlights of my Patagonia trip was hanging out with penguins while in Ushuaia. However, you've gotta pay attention here.
There's only one company that offers legit penguin tours where you can walk around in small groups and get within feet of the penguins. That's…
If you want a legit penguin tour, this is the company to book with. There's a bunch of knock offs, but PiraTour offers the premier penguin tours in Ushuaia. Highly recommended.
You can find their office near the port area, where there are dozens of tour vendors. This is the one you want. Just be warned: these guys sell out tours 3-15+ days in advance usually. During my week in Ushuaia, they only had availability on one day. So make sure you stop here ASAP when arriving.
I could talk all about this tour, but I think pictures will do more justice:
Cruise the Beagle Channel
One of the classic things to do in Ushuaia, Argentina is hopping on a boat and cruising around the Beagle Channel. You'll see stunning views of the city, mountains, and nature all around. You'll also find views of Seal Island — where you'll find tons of seals, along with some views of penguins.
Oh, and you'll be able to cruise by the Lighthouse at the End of the World — a unique site in its own right.
These cruises often depart in the afternoon, so you see all the animals and sites, then watch the sunset as you cruise back into Ushuaia. These cruises offer food options, coffee, and often wine.
All in all, a relaxing way to end the day in Ushuaia, although sometimes these cruises get pretty crowded.
Speaking Spanish in Ushuaia?
While you'll find tons of tourism in Ushuaia, I was not impressed by the levels of English here. People in Bariloche and El Calafate spoke better English than in this far off town.
I'd say speaking Spanish is more than useful when visiting Ushuaia, Argentina.
You'll get around much easier, save money on tours, and potentially be able to get a great deal on an Antarctica cruise. English speakers always get the tourist tax, even when they're trying to fill that final spot on the ship.
Of course, you can get by without speaking Spanish here — as there are people working in tourism who speak a little bit. But these folks weren't too common during my time here.
So learn some Spanish before you go!
Luckily, that's pretty simple these days. Here's the best way to learn Spanish quickly I've found…
Click here to learn more about: BaseLang
Being a small city in an exceptionally remote location, Ushuaia nightlife is far from world-renowned. However, there are some clubs and bars here to keep an intrepid traveler entertained on a Saturday evening.
In fact, I was getting my haircut by a Cuban barber in Ushuaia and he was raving about the nightlife in the city. Saying there were 2-3 solid clubs and people liked to drink HEAVY in the city.
After all, before the tourist boom, Ushuaia was a town of sailors — and sailors are known for heavy boozing.
So with that in mind, here's a few Ushuaia nightlife spots to check out:
- Dublin Pub: The southernmost Irish pub in the world, Dublin Pub is the perfect place to grab a beer in Ushuaia. While they sadly don't serve Guinness here, you'll find a solid selection of brews. Lots of locals and foreigners frequent this spot, especially on weekends. It's also a pretty social spot. A great place to start a big night out in Ushuaia, Argentina.
- El Nautico: This is a nightclub in Ushuaia, probably the most famous one. Hell, it might be the only one — although I think there's one more club in town. If you're looking to dance the night away and really party, I'd start here. This is a Ushuaia nightlife staple. They do Wednesday parties in the summer, if I recall.
- Viagro Bar: Solid bar and restaurant that seems to have a live DJ on the weekends. This is another option to party while in Ushuaia, although I never stepped foot in here. Located in the center, so easy to check out on a weekend night.
P.S: With most smaller cities, the best thing to do is ask locals where to party when you arrive.
Do You Need to Rent a Car in Ushuaia, Argentina?
You certainly could rent a car in Ushuaia, Argentina.
Although, I'm not sure I see any benefit renting a car here — as most of the tours start from the port area and you can't even get to most of the cool things to do in Ushuaia with a car.
For example, renting a car wouldn't help you take a cruise on the Beagle Channel. Or visit the penguins.
So I would NOT recommend renting a car here. It's simply not needed.
Is Ushuaia Safe?
Being a small city in an incredibly remote location, you won't find much crime in Ushuaia. Plus, the city relies on tourism and crime would hinder tourism.
I never once felt threatened in the city and the locals were all incredibly friendly. And while I could dive deeper here and talk all about safety here, there's no need.
Ushuaia, Argentina is 100% safe for tourists.
Ushuaia for Digital Nomads
This is NOT a digital nomad destination. In fact, it's absolutely miserable working online while in Ushuaia, Argentina.
Most Airbnbs won't have a solid wifi connection. You'll be lucky to pull 5-7 mbps during the day. At night, the Internet slows down even more in the city — as everyone is back from their tours and on Instagram. But it's not as bad as El Chalten.
I worked from my Airbnb during my time in Ushuaia, when I wasn't taking tours, as the Internet was functional between 8 am and 4 pm.
Most nice hotels and better hostels will have functional wifi, but it won't be lightening fast in the evenings. It'll be usable, though.
For working from a cafe, there were a couple cafes I checked out that seemed to have usable wifi and solid environment to get some work done:
I'd recommended checking out both if you're looking to work outside your hotel, hostel, or apartment. I do not believe there's a co-working space in Ushuaia, Argentina.
This is Patagonia, so it's also a good idea to always have a backup source of Internet. There's not such thing as reliable connections down here. As such…
Ushuaia, Argentina | Gringo's Travel Guide
That was a whole lot about Ushuaia, Argentina — one of the southernmost cities in the world. A unique place well worth if visit if you're in Argentinian Patagonia.
Chill with some penguins, cruise the Beagle Channel, and mush' some sled dogs. Enjoy some of the best damn empanadas in the world and a few cold brews.
Hell, maybe take an Antarctica cruise if you've got the time and budget.
Overall, I highly recommend checking out Ushuaia, Argentina — as I thoroughly enjoyed my week in the city.
Que te vaya bien,