A Travellerspoint blog

The World's Southernmost City

Ushuaia, Argentina

semi-overcast 52 °F
View Around the World! - Part 1 on Where2FromHere's travel map.

Ushuaia, the capital of Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, is the southernmost city in the world. The Martial Mountains, which rise behind Ushuaia, are unique in that they run east/west rather than north/south, unlike the rest of the Andes. The name Ushuaia can be translated as "the bay looking into the sunset."


The channel here was named for the same ship Darwin sailed on, The Beagle, which explored the area in the 1830s. After being founded as an Anglican mission, it became an official village in 1893 when the archipelago was partitioned between Argentina and Chile. Since then, there have been numerous disputes between these two countries over the border that stretches 69,000 hectors (266 miles) between them.

Most of the expedition ships that head to Antarctica leave from here, so this port had several interesting vessels from around the world including a National Geographic Explorer. Our ship was of course, the largest in port.


In 1902, a penal colony was established in Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego, Argentina, where some of the country's most notorious criminals were sent. Upon arrival, the inmates had to construct their own prison and a railway to transport lumber for the prison into town. The colony has been referred to as the "Siberia of Argentina" due to its harsh conditions and isolation. The prison was closed in 1947 after reports of inhumane living conditions and abuse.

Yesterday, we embarked on an excursion known as the Train to the End of the World. This journey took us across the last 7 km of track to Ensenada Bay and Tierra Del Fuego Park. The train, a replica of the original, recreated its historic journey, offering panoramic views of the beautiful landscapes.


Highlights of the trip included:

  • Crossing the Pipo River and entering the National Park where we found numerous wild horses. The area also contained "graveyards of trees" from those that were cut and used for lumber by the prisoners. The stumps varied in height depending on how high the snow was at the time they were harvested.


  • Stopping along the way to take photos and appreciate the interplay of waterfalls, forests, mountains, and rivers.


  • Visiting Ensenada Bay, where we enjoyed spectacular views of the Beagle Channel, the rocky Redonda and Estorbo Islands, and the majestic, snowy Sampaio Mountains. By the time we left, the rain was blowing sideways but nevertheless it was a fun trip. While there we stopped to visit the post office at the southernmost point in the world. Our kids and friends, Trent and Britt, should expect to receive a post card from us (but it might take a few months :) )


Since we were in this port for two days, we ventured out to see the town and visit the prison today. Below is a photo of the boiler that powered the saws which were used to make the lumber which was used for building the prison. Also in the prison yard, was the original train with its engine and passenger car.

90a31020-b618-11ee-9ea9-d7e7e5a645e9.jpg 8fe146c0-b618-11ee-b3aa-975c148dea68.jpg

Here are some interesting photos or the original prison layout, the prisoners and a few reminders found around town of the fact that this was at one time a penal colony.


Our walk around town included beautiful flowers, interesting buildings and a crazy looking bird. It was great to have two days on dry land.


Tomorrow we're off to do a little bird watching if the weather permits!

Posted by Where2FromHere 16:38 Archived in Argentina

Email this entryFacebookStumbleUpon

Table of contents


I loved the city and can't wait to go back even if it is for a few hours. So much to see still! :)

by Ils1976

Comment with:

Comments left using a name and email address are moderated by the blog owner before showing.

Not published. Required
Leave this field empty

Characters remaining: