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Antarctica Cruise Gateway: Ushuaia

October 15, 2015
  |   Kristy Royce
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Where

Ushuaia is the starting point for most Antarctic cruises. Located at the tip of the archipelago of Tierra del Fuego and on the north shore of the Beagle Channel,  Ushuaia is the world’s southernmost city and sits in a picturesque bowl surrounded by water, sky, forests and mountains.

What To Expect

Technically a city, Ushuaia feels more like a bustling but charming ski-town with its fair share of fine restaurants, cafes, shopping, historic sites, and museums, many located within walking distance from most in-town hotels. The downtown section is truly ‘down’ in that it parallels the shore of the Beagle Channel not far from the port where the small ships depart from. Uptown you will find hotels and resorts which bring sweeping views and either a good workout or sore calves if you choose to not take a taxi! The surrounding countryside is a nature lover’s delight and is popular for hiking, fishing, skiing, mountain biking and even golf at the world's southernmost 9-hole course.

Temperatures

October to November

NIGHTS: 35°F (1.66°C) to 45° F (7.2°C)
DAYS: 39°F (3.88°C) to 52°F (11.11°C)

December to February

NIGHTS: 43°F (6.11°C) to 50°F (10 °C)
DAYS: 46°F (7.77°C) to 64°F (17.77°C)

March to April

NIGHTS: 32°F (0°C) to 43°F (6.11°C)
DAYS: 41°F (5°C) to 50°F (10°C)

Ushuaia Dining & Shopping

Restaurants:  The city has a number of fine restaurants, bars and cafés. Local specialties include Fuegian lamb, Argentine beef, seafood, everything from oysters and mussels to lobster and seasonally-available king crab, and a wide selection of Argentine wines and locally handcrafted beers.

Reservations: These may be required, especially if dining out in the evening. We recommend you check with your hotel concierge. Locals eat dinner LATE in Argentina, so if this is a locals restaurant, local residents will not arrive until after 9pm, but travelers will dine earlier.

Tipping: In general, tips (propinas) are not added to restaurant bills but are customary if there is table service. If in doubt, ask the server. Keep some cash, either U.S. dollars or pesos, for tips. 

We suggest the following restaurants as a great place to start:

Kaupe

Seafood / Gourmet: 5 Star (Expensive)

Kaupe has earned the title of 'Best Restaurant in Argentina' and is thus considered the best in Ushuaia. They specialize in Italian and seafood, particularly centolla (king crab offered seasonally). Located uptown on the hillside behind the city so a taxi is recommended.

Tia Elvira

Seafood / Local: 4 Star (Moderate to Expensive)

A cozy little restaurant with a view of the harbor and a lovely bar area. We feel it is well priced for the fresh local seafood and the winning views. Within walking distance of downtown.

La Estancia

Argentine Lamb & Steak: 3-4 Star (Moderate)

Located right in town, this is a great place for authentic Argentine asado (barbeque grill). Expect an amazing selection of meat choices, with a fairly-priced buffet of “all you can eat meat” ranging from fire roasted lamb, to steak and blood sausages.

El Almacén de Ramos Generales

Sandwiches, Coffee & Desserts: 3 Star (Moderate)

A very popular coffeehouse, restaurant and wine bar housed in a general store that dates back to 1906. Great for a simple meal in a wonderful atmosphere and really good sandwiches.  Worth a visit for the historical decor alone!

Sights, Museums & Activities

Maritime and Prison Museum: An interesting  maritime museum built in an old prison. There is a wonderful selection of model ships here and artifacts from whaling days and early Antarctica exploration.

Yamanas Museum: A small museum that focuses on the native Yamana culture.

Glacier (Cerro) Martial: Located in Tierra del Fuego National Park about 4 miles from Ushuaia, the glacier offers spectacular views of the city, the Beagle Channel and to the north. You can hike or take the chairlift (aerosilla) up the mountain, operating daily from 9:30 am until 4:45 pm.  Allow 1½ - 2 hours. Be sure to bring a warm jacket and dress in layers. If you wish a thrilling experience you can take a series of zip lines and bridges that cover some 1640 feet in total, from the lower platform. Fees apply for the chairlift, ziplines and National Park. There is a wonderful little tea house at the base of the chairlift that offers a welcome respite.

The Nitty Gritty

Electricity: The electrical current in Argentina is 220 volts/50 hertz. Some appliances can work on 110-volts or 220-volts, such as cell phones, laptop computers and cameras, however you will most likely still need a socket adaptor.

Internet: There are several cafes with computers and internet usage available, and most other cafes and hotels in Ushuaia offer wifi as well.

Currency: Argentinean Pesos are the accepted currency in Ushuaia and it is wise to exchange your money in a larger city such as Buenos Aires for the best exchange rates. US dollars are sometimes accepted, but your exchange rate will not be that good. Most major credit cards are accepted at shops and restaurants.

Getting Around: Upon arrival in Ushuaia you’ll notice the city is quite small and the airport is only a short 10-15 minute drive away.  Taxis are available at this small airport, and private transfers can also be arranged.  Once in town, you’ll find that you can walk to most things, but you may want to take a local taxi to visit uptown restaurants or hotels or connect with a tour agency  to get outside town for local adventure activities and sightseeing.

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