Tierra del Fuego Holidays
Holidays at the End of the Earth...
Guide to Holidays in Tierra del Fuego
It's a long flight south from Buenos Aires to Tierra del Fuego, and when you touch down in the small town of Ushuaia, you really are conscious that you're at the very end of the world... And you wouldn't be wrong: if you sail south from Ushuaia, once you've rounded Isla Navarino and come out into the Beagle Channel, there's nothing but the dark waters of the Southern Ocean separating you from Antartica and the South Pole.
You could be forgiven for feeling a little isolated - and it does take a particular mindset to want to live down here at the end of the world - but the surrouding landscape is incredibly beautiful, and offers some of the last true unexplored wilderness on earth. The conditions can be harsh, and winters here aren't for the faint-hearted, but Tierra del Fuego repays you on a scale which is truly epic.
Holidays in Tierra del Fuego
Where to Stay in Tierra del Fuego
The small town of Ushuaia styles itself as the southern-most city in the world, and it's likely to be your base for any visit to Tierra del Fuego. Although it's no metropolis, it actually has a very good range of facilities like hotels and restaurants, so it's a great place to stay while you explore the surrounding area.
What to See and Do in Tierra del Fuego
Once you've taken a few photos of the brightly-painted houses around the harbour and perhaps visited the small town museum, there's not a huge amount to hold your attention in Ushuaia, so without further ado...
Tierra del Fuego National Park
You need a pressing reason to travel all this way, and the amazing Tierra del Fuego National Park gives you just that. Covering a mammoth 160,000 acres, the National Park helps protect some of the most unspoilt territory in the world, as well as the wildlife which makes its home here. Travel into the National Park can either be road from Ushuaia or on the heritage steam railway called the "Train to the End of the World" (Tren al fin del Mundo), which is the most southerly railway in the world and was built by convicts when Tierra del Fuego was used as a kind of Argentinian Devil's Island...
Once you are in the National Park, you are presented with a landscape of dramatic contrasts, with jagged, snow-capped peaks rising out of lush forests, sloping down to dozens of bays and beaches where the land meets the dark waters of the Southern Ocean. The Tierra del Fuego National Park offers some fantastic opportunities for trekking, with the coastal path which connects Ensenada Bay to Lapataia Bay being a particularly good example.
An alternative way to experience the Park is by taking a cruise out onto the Beagle Channel which separates the main island of Tierra del Fuego from the smaller islands to the south. This is a great way to see the marine wildlife which characterises the region, such as whales, sea-lions and several species of penguins. The Beagle Channel is named for the HMS Beagle which carried Charles Darwin around the world on his famous voyage, and on land you can see many more of the species which delighted and inspired him, including several indigenous species of woodpeckers and geese.
Back on dry land, an off-road jeep tour or trek to see Lake Fagnano is another must, as it gives you a chance to see some of Tierra del Fuego's most beautiful scenery. In season (usually June-October) you can also ski in the area, and even out of the recognised ski season, you can still go glacier skiing on the huge El Martial glacier, where the facilities are open all year.
Flights To and From Ushuaia
Regular flights connect Ushuaia with Buenos Aires to the north, as well as with El Calafate to the north-west. Happily, this also means that it's very easy to fit in a trip to the End of the World with a holiday in the rest of Argentina.
Road and Sea Links to Ushuaia
The Pan-American Highway also terminates here in Ushuaia, so although it's a fairly long drive to anywhere (about 8 hours to the nearest city, Rio Gallegos) that's always an option. There are also coach services which head north before crossing over into Chile and back down to Punta Arenas in Chile, which would allow you to continue your adventure in Chilean Patagonia. This journey takes around 11 hours but the roads and coach services are good, so it's not too arduous.
Alternatively, if you want a real adventure, you can also join a fantastic Crucero Australis cruise around Cape Horn to Punta Arenas and continue your journey that way. This isn't the cheapest option, but it's a great way to enjoy some of Tierra del Fuego's most dramatic scenery.
And for a full-blown ocean adventure, Ushuaia is also the setting-off point for cruises heading all the way to Antarctica. We have a few options available for Antarctic cruises so if you have a final continent to tick off your list, just get in touch and let us know!
Weather & Climate in Ushuaia
Weather in Tierra del Fuego
It has to be admitted that you don't really come to Tierra del Fuego for the weather. The area sees steady rainfall all year round, but particularly in the winter, when it often falls as snow. Due to the extreme southern latitude, winter is also best avoided because of the short days - down to 7 hours daylight in June.
The best time to visit is usually from November-February, when things are a little warmer and drier. Unless you have no problem sleeping in the light, you might want to avoid the longest days in December, however, when it only gets dark for around 6-7 hours.
All our holidays to Argentina are 100% tailormade, so if you'd like to customise any of the tours you see above, or just plan a trip to Tierra del Fuego from scratch then get in touch with our friendly and experienced advisors - we'll be delighted to help you plan your perfect holiday in Tierra del Fuego!
Did you know?
Tierra del Fuego literally means "Land of Fire" and got its name because when the first European explorers reached the island, in a fleet under the command of Ferdinand Magellan, he thought he could see campfires on the mountain slopes and feared his ships would be attacked by hostile locals...