Ushuaia the Unforgettable
At our Beach House, we have wanderlust running through our veins. We are a collective of dreamers, adventurers and escapists – yearning for the exhilaration that comes from trying something new or discovering a new taste or flavor. We are in love with cities we’ve never been to and people we have never met. Throughout 2016, we are documenting our adventures in a new blog series called ‘The Beach House Wanderlust Diaries.’
In our first installment, we are speaking to Nico Franco, Marketing Coordinator, about his unforgettable experience at Ushuaia in Argentina’s Tierra del Fuego, also known as being the southernmost city in the world.
Ushuaia takes its location at the ‘End of the World’ quite seriously with its busy port full of Antarctica-bound vessels and growing reputation as an adventure hub for tourists-turned-explorers. Depending on the season, there are a number of fantastic outdoor options for the avid traveller including hiking, sailing, skiing, fishing, kayaking and even scuba diving just minutes from the city. It is a captivating place, steeped in history and its locals have an undeniable closeness with their landscape and nature. With a location matched by few, the windswept city is perched on a steep hill and is surrounded by the Martial Mountains and the Beagle Channel, which used to be a nautical commercial route way before the Panama Canal.
Nico tells the story of how he was amazed by the beauty of Ushuaia and how its people seemed to have such a special connection to their environment. He said: “One of the things that surprised me the most is the simplicity of its people, the culture and customs of the town, which is also known as ‘the closest city to Antarctica.’ The scenery that you experience here is absolutely purifying. You can see that the people from Ushuaia understand the importance of preserving their most valuable asset that is nature; they understand their harsh climate to a level that you feel their closeness with nature. Unfortunately, it is that connection that we sometimes lose when we live in big cities or when we do not respect Mother Nature. People from Ushuaia understand and appreciate the seasons – the cold weather during winter but also the beautiful days that summer brings.”
When asked how Ushuaia inspires him, Nico speaks fondly of the importance of being connected with one’s environment. He elaborated: “Being in Ushuaia I could see how the people respect nature. They understand the seasons and the relationship with harvesting food from the environment. It is a port city so there is an abundance of seafood, including enormous crabs. Winter can be very cold so a lot of their food is heavy and calorific such as rich stews filled with meat or fish – they need the substance to help keep them warm.”
One of Nico’s favorite memories of this trip is when he had tea with his family in the beautiful La Cabaña Casa de Te in the middle of the mountains surrounded by ancient snow-covered trees with sweeping views of Ushuaia and the Beagle Channel. He concluded: “We read about this cottage on top of the mountain but we weren’t expecting the setting to be so breathtaking. I will never forget the dramatic view of the Beagle Channel and the surrounding mountain range. It was amazing.”
Nico’s top three things to do in Ushuaia:
Parque Nacional de Tierra del Fuego: beautiful scenery with breathtaking views of mountains and the Lapataia lake. The park has amazing trekking and hiking options, nature surrounds you all the time and you can even see foxes, castors and condors.
Les Eclaireurs Lighthouse or also known as The Lighthouse of the End of the World: hire a boat tour to the famous lighthouse where you can observe the most amazing wildlife including seals, penguins, sea lions, cormorants and so many types of birds. As a tip, go to the port to hire a private boat so you avoid the big commercial tours; the local guides are so knowledgeable.
Estancia Harberton: this was the first estate in the province, founded in 1886 by the Anglican missionary Thomas Bridges. This gorgeous colonial estate includes a farm and greenhouse. It is a picturesque place to indulge in traditional British Afternoon Tea after a long trek around Ushuaia.
Nico’s Ushuaia Adventure In A Nut Shell:
Best food: Patagonian Lamb Casserole
Best drink: Beagle Craft Beer
Most memorable smell: The cold sea breeze of the Beagle Channel
Favorite landmark: Les Eclaireurs Lighthouse
Top three travel essentials: hiking boots for the National Park, portable battery charger for all your electronics and sunglasses for the glare.