In this post we provide information on how to get to Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world, from Buenos Aires, things to do in Ushuaia, how to get away by bus and all the costs! The exchange rate used here is the ‘blue’ rate: USD $1= 14.40 ARS (December 2015)
How to Get to Ushuaia from Buenos Aires
I think we surpassed ourselves this time in unpreparedness but as always, we made it happen: we booked our flight from Buenos Aires to Ushuaia 55 minutes before flight time!
Lan.com ticketing office opens at 4am at Aeroparque Jorge Newberry. We inquired about flights prices for foreigners (read below) for Ushuaia. We were quoted 3,200ARS per person (with blue exhange rate of 14.40= USD $222// with official exchange rate ~ USD $10= USD $320 — a whopping difference of USD $100 per person). Aerolineas Argentinas quoted us 500 ARS more per person so we went with LAN.
NOTE: We had actually made a booking for the 5:50 am flight to Ushuaia the day before. We went to the airport (Aeroparque Jorge Newberry – fully equiped with free WiFi) and received an email at 23h59 informing us that our reservation was canceled. Lan.com displayed prices for Argentinians — local flights are more expensive for foreigners — which is why our reservation was canceled. Make sure you get a confirmation for your reservation!
How to Get Around Ushuaia
From Ushuaia airport to the town center, best way is to get a taxi which will cost roughly 120 ARS (USD $8.30). If you are staying near Avenida San Martin, it is easy to walk around town, to the marina to inquire about boat trips and there are also supermarkets to do your grocery shopping if your hostel is equipped with a kitchen.
Money Exchange in Ushuaia
You can exchange money at the ‘blue’ rate: USD $1 = 14 ARS at Hotel Antartida. They also exchange Euros. There are ATMs in Ushuaia, but you will be given the official rate USD $1 = ~10 ARS (December 2015).
This was the best rate we found in Ushuaia. Shops may offer ‘blue’ rate if you purchase in their store.
Where to Stay in Ushuaia – Hotels in Ushuaia
Best is to stay around walking distance to the marina and Avenida San Martin, where all shops and restaurants are.
Hostel Antarctica – a really great hostels with WiFi in common areas. There’s also a kitchen where you can cook and a fridge to store your groceries. The kitchen is fully equipped. The bathrooms and mixed dorms are very clean. Price per dorm bed per person is 250 ARS (USD $17.3). There are also double rooms for 850 ARS (USD $59) with shared baths.
Hostel Cruz del Sur – another option we considered, though full. Only one double room, others are dorms for 285 ARS per bed (USD $20).
What To Do in Ushuaia – Activities in Ushuaia
Activities are not cheap in Ushuaia, but when will you be on the other side of the world again?
Glacier Martial – a taxi ride from town to the beginning of the hike will cost 120 ARS (USD $8.30). Otherwise from town, the walk should take 2hrs. There is also a chairlift to take you closer to the Glacier but when we got there, it was closed. The hike to the Glacier is free. There may be snow on the trail.
Flight over Ushuaia – a memorable experience. You can fly for 30 mins up to an hour over Ushuaia. This experience isn’t cheap, but it is once in a lifetime. Cost per person for 30 mins:1,475 ARS (USD $102).
Tour the Beagle Channel and see the wildlife – We went with Canoe Catamarans. Cruise on the catamaran starts at 9am and ends around 2-230pm. Cost is 1,075 ARS (USD $75) though you can nicely ask for a 20% discount. You get to see cormorants, sea lions and adorable little penguins. If you are lucky, some people have reported seeing whales.
Parque Nacional Tierra del Fuego – there is a bus from town which will take you to the park, price is 300 ARS (USD $21) round-trip and entrance fee to the park is 180 ARS (USD $12.50) per person for foreigners. We did not have time to do it but most people have enjoyed a nice stroll in park.
Cruise Antarctica for 7 up to 22 days – there are last minute deals for people interested in going on a cruise to Antarctica. Most deals are provided by Freestyle Adventure Travel, a local agency that can provide you with all the details. On average, a last minute 10 day cruise will cost between $5,500-6,000 and a 19 days cruise between $7,500-8,500.
Where to Go after Ushuaia: by bus
All bus companies in Ushuaia offer relatively the same pricing and bus schedule. Book your ticket out of Ushuaia as soon as possible as buses fill up fast and not all routes are available every day. We wanted to go to Puerto Natales on a Thursday, a service that is not offered and only the bus company Taqsa provided us with an alternative.
NOTE: Be aware that all buses to Chile leave during the day since you will need to go through immigration. You cannot take any meats or fruits (dried or fresh) through the border.
From Ushuaia to El Calafate: You have to take 2 buses of 10hrs, transfer happens in Rio Gallegos
From Ushuaia to Punta Arena: Buses leave daily at 5:30am, cost is 930 ARS (USD $65) and arrival time in Punta Arena is 18hrs. You will arrive in Rio Grande at 9am, change bus to Punta Arena at 10 am and go through the Chilean border around noon.
From Ushuaia to Puerto Natales: Direct buses leave on Mondays and Wednesdays at 8:30am. On any other day of the week, you have to take three different buses: at 5:30 from Ushuaia to Rio Grande. At 10 am, Rio Grande to Punta Arena. At 19h15 from Punta Arena to Puerto Natales. There is also another bus at 21h if you don’t make the 19h15 departure from Punta Arena. Arrival in Puerto Natales is at 22h30. We paid 1,130ARS (USD $80) per person for this three-part journey.
What else did you do in Ushuaia? What is your memorable experience on the other side of the world? Share your experiences with us! We love to hear from you!