It was Day 7 on my NCL Cruise to Antarctica with time to visit Ushuaia, The World’s Southernmost City. When I was ten years old in Brooklyn, I remember reading a book called The End of The World. That story specifically chronicled a journey to and through Ushuaia, the capital of Terra del Fuego, Argentina. I told myself I would visit one day, and although it took decades to get there, I finally arrived!
Ushuaia lies below the 54th parallel south latitude, which is why it claims the title of the world’s southernmost city. The word Ushuaia comes from the Yaghan language. Therefore, ush and waia (“bay” or “cove”) and means “deep bay” or “bay to background.” Ushuaia occasionally experiences snow in the summer (from November to March). Due to its high southern latitude, the city’s climate is influenced by Antarctica, and, as expected, it’s generally cold.
End of the World Combo
I chose a tour excursion titled End of the World Combo, and as I mentioned, I’ve waiting since age 10 to get there! Our first experience was on a catamaran. There, we navigated the Beagle Channel, passed Les Eclaireurs Lighthouse, and viewed Martial’s Mountain. The weather was expectedly rainy, raw, and cold, so I stayed inside the boat.
Next, we visited the beautiful Terra del Fuego National Park. The air was crisp and clean, as seen in the photos below.
Traveling by bus, we arrived at The Southern Fuegian Railway or, as it’s also called, The Train of the End of the World. Originally built as a freight line to serve the prison of Ushuaia, it was designed to transport timber. The train now operates as a heritage railway into the Tierra del Fuego National Park. Hence, it is considered the southernmost functioning railway in the world.
The story behind the railway construction is heartbreaking. In the late 19th century, Ushuaia on Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego developed as a penal colony with the first prisoners arriving in 1884. Treated poorly, prisoners suffered brutal weather conditions. The Cemetery of Trees is where prisoners chopped down the trees to build the tracks. In 1947 the governor closed the prison, replacing it with a naval base.
Here are photos from the train ride and The Train at the End of the World experience.
After we rode on The End of the World Railway, we went into town for a half-hour break. Here are photos of Ushuaia near the pier.
Can you “feel” the cold!!
More fun facts about Ushuaia
Ushuaia is one of the most incredible cities in the world, located at the very southernmost tip of Argentina – a place that we like to call the end of the world. The city boasts an intriguing past, having started out as a penal colony way back in 1884. Today, it’s a bustling hub of tourism and fishing.
Basically, the real showstopper of Ushuaia is breathtaking scenery. From snow-capped mountains to immense glaciers, you experience nature at its peak. And did you know that you can spot penguins walking around? Yes, those lovely fluffy creatures are the highlights of the city.
In addition to sightseeing, there are plenty of enjoyable activities. Hiking, skiing, and watching wildlife are just a few! And if you consider yourself to be a beer connoisseur, the “Cervecería Beagle” is a must-visit. It’s the southernmost brewery in the world known for its unique flavors and exotic blends of the city’s rich history and culture.
But wait, there’s more! If you are a history buff, you’ll be fascinated to know that the “Train at the End of the World” is a narrow-gauge railway that convicts used to take to work camps back in the day. Today, the railway line is open to the public, so you can experience history firsthand. What’s more, Lapataia Bay starts the world-famous Pan-American Highway – a journey that is nothing less than an adventure!