We offer Antarctica Expedition Trips from Ushuaia, as well as the Australis Cruises to Punta Arenas.



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About Ushuaia Patagonia Travel Destination

Charles Darwin Exploring the Area & a Brief History of Ushuaia 

In 1833, when Charles Darwin came exploring the area on board HMS Beagle he encountered a tribe of people known as the Yamana. These Indians were known for their paint-covered bodies.

The first time the name Ushuaia appeared in writing was when, in 1869, the English missionary Waite Hockin Stirling documented his experiences of living with the Yamana people. More British missionaries arrived in 1870 and established a very small settlement. The first, European-style house to be erected in Ushuaia was pre-built in the Falkland Islands and shipped over in 1870 for the Reverend Thomas Bridges. The house was divided so that one bedroom was for the Bridges family and the other for a married Yamana couple with a third room used as a chapel. In 1871 the first marriage was recorded and in 1872 Thomas Despard Bridges was recorded as the first birth to a European.

It was not until 1873 when the first Argentine citizens arrived to teach at the newly-erected school and when the Argentine President, Julio Argentino Roca, decided to make Ushuaia a penal colony for serious criminals, based upon the British model of using Tasmania and Australia for the same purpose. However, behind this plan was a ploy to establish a colony for Argentina to lay claim to Tierra del Fuego, which only became formalized in 1881 after the boundary agreement between Chile and Argentina. The plan to build the new prison resulted in the construction of houses for staff and logistical support personnel. It was not until 1896 when the prison was officially recognized by Executive Order from President Roca and received its first inmates.

On the 12th of October 1884, as part of the South Atlantic Expedition, Commodore Augusto Lasserre established Ushuaia as an Argentine sub-division, with the missionaries and naval officers signing the “Act of Ceremony”. Don Feliz Paz was named as the Governor of Tierra del Fuego and in 1885 named Ushuaia as its capital, but it was not until 1904 when the Federal Government of Argentina recognized Ushuaia as the capital of Tierra del Fuego.


Ushuaia suffered several epidemics, including typhus, whooping cough, and measles, all of which decimated the native population, but because the native Yámana were not included in the census data the exact numbers of the Yamana population lost to disease and illness are not known, but by 1911 the Yámana had all practically disappeared, so the original mission was closed. The first census was carried out in 1893 and recorded 113 men and 36 women living in Ushuaia, but at the 1914 census the registered population had gown to 1,558.

In 1903 a military prison opened at the nearby Puerto Golondrina, which later merged with the original public prison in 1910 and operated through to 1947 when President Juan Peron closed the facility by executive order due to reports of prisoner abuse. The building continued as a storage and office facility for the Argentine Navy until the early 1990’s. Today it is the Ushuaia Maritime Museum.



Ushuaia Arrivals & Transfers

By air to Ushuaia airport from Buenos Aires and by road on a 12hr bus trip from Punta Arenas in Chile. Also by small boat from Puerto Navarino in Chile, opposite Ushuaia. Access to Puerto Navarino is by road (1.5hrs from Puerto Williams), but the Beagle-Channel crossing is governed by weather conditions, so only possible if you have a very flexible time period.

Ushuaia Average Temperature

Ushuaia Places of Interest

Apart from its importance as an Argentine military base, Ushuaia serves as the principal departure port for cruise ships heading out to Antarctica. It is also possible to cross the Beagle Channel in a rib-zodiac dinghy to get over to Puerto Williams in Chile (by previous arrangement and subject to local weather conditions) and for cruises to Punta Arenas in Chile. Local attractions include: The Tierra del Fuego National Park, containing the End of the World Train (which is very commercial and touristy) and a variety of marine fauna in the area such as penguins, seals and orcas.

Clothes to wear to Ushuaia

Try to bring LAYERS of breathable clothes that can be taken off or put on easily to adapt to any change in weather and as you heat up and cool down on a trek. Cotton undershirts are NOT recommended – see below.

Ideally clothes such as:

Over your body skin: an under vest (long sleeved if possible) made, ideally, from synthetic fibres so it dries quickly. If very cold weather (ie early spring, winter months or autumn) then thermal underwear made from synthetic fibres. The reason for synthetic fibres is because when you are walking several hours you will build up a sweat and your under garments will get wet, this then gets cold when you stop and will make you cold unless the wet material dries quickly. Cotton does not dry quickly, whereas synthetic material will dry more quickly.

Over your under vest: a breathable top such as a fleece.

Over your fleece: a waterproof windbreaker over jacket.

For your legs: trekking pants, resistant to rain and wind, but made from a breathable material otherwise you will sweat. Jeans are NOT good as they can get wet and not dry.

Over your trekking pants: waterproof shell pants to go over your trekking pants in the event of heavy rain.

For your feet: wool or synthetic socks. Waterproof trekking boots with ankle support and none-slip sole. If new make sure you break them in prior to using them on a trek.

For your hands: gloves. Close to glaciers it can be very cold.

For your head: a warm hat (not a jockey cap), sunglasses and sun-protection cream and a headband to keep your ears warm when not using the hat.

For your personal use: a back pack for food, water and clothes.

For your safety: a battery-operated torch for when power is out or if you are arriving to a refugio in the dark. Take with you during the trek extra water and snacks. Prepare for all weather conditions and dress for the outdoors. Do NOT go off the trail because if you have the slightest incident such as twisting an ankle, you may not be found.

Average Temperatures in TDP during the year
Summer (Dec – Jan – Feb) Max + 23.5°c / Min + 0.8°c.



Ushuaia Map

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Today & 5 Day Forecast (C°)

06:1520:21 -03
Feels like: 5°C
Wind: 12km/h SW
Humidity: 50%
Pressure: 1007.1mbar
UV index: 3


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