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UshuaiaUshuaia is the southernmost city in the world. It is located on the Beagle Channel which is an important and strategic waterway for Tierra del Fuego and Patagonia. This channel, along with the Strait of Magellan, allows powered ships to avoid the long and dangerous passage around Cape Horn when moving between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.


In the late 1800's, Ushuaia was an Argentine penal colony. In the 1950's, it became an important Argentine naval base. The Argentinian government has successfully induced people to move permanently to Ushuaia with tax incentives and higher than average pay scales. Now with over 50,000 people and still growing, this city at the end of the world is the jumping off point for most cruises to Antarctica.Airport runway

We visited Ushuaia both on our way to Antarctica and on the way back. Flying into Ushuaia is a little scary when you see the runway below ending at the water's edge.

Barb in Tierra del FuegoBefore embarking on our cruise ship, we were given a bus ride through Tierra del Fuego National Park. Then we boarded a catamaran for lunch and a cruise through the Beagle Channel. There are over 200 islands in Tierra del Fuego. We passed large colonies of sea lions and cormorants. Beautiful snow and glacier covered mountains could be seen along the way


Catamaran cruise Beagle Channel sea lions cormorants

On our way back home, when we got off our ship, we were given a tour of the Maritime Museum which used to house the military prison and Ushuaia jail. The old cells and prison facilities are still available for visiting.

We were then driven up the mountain to the Glacier Hotel for a delicious buffet lunch. melon roseWe were impressed with the beautiful watermellon carvings decorating the table. This is a popular winter ski area with a ski lift right outside the hotel. Unfortunately, the clouds covered the mountains around the city.


For more photos of Ushuaia, click on Photo Gallery. To read about the next location visited, go to Aitcho Islands.


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