We are Facu and Sabri, a couple from Argentina who love living the Vanlife! Our Instagram is La Byron Van, named after our beloved van Byron. Recently, we have been traveling all throughout Patagonia, Argentina and we even made our way down to Ushuaia – the End of the World. In this blog, we will be giving you an overview of the best things to do in Ushuaia.
But first a little bit about ourselves. We are both from Buenos Aires and had been traveling on our own for some time, but we met on the opposite side of the world while living and working in Australia. We started dating in Sydney and after a little while Sabri moved to Byron Bay.
We were casually dating at that time but after a few days of her being gone, Facu realized things were more serious than he thought and he decided to visit her. That was six years ago. After that, we traveled in Southeast Asia, went back home and then lived in New Zealand for over a year. That is when we got our first car together and did some traveling.
Since then, we dreamed of living the Vanlife, but at the time it was more convenient for us to have a regular car. After New Zealand we decided that we wanted to travel throughout America, and at that moment we realized that we could actually do it in a van. And so at the end of 2019 we went back home and immediately started looking. We got our MB180D in January 2020 and turned it into our home on wheels in about a year.
Our Adventures in Patagonia, Argentina
We left Buenos Aires at the end of February, 2021 and we traveled down south. Both of us had already traveled to Patagonia on different occasions, mostly with family, but there were a lot of places that we didn’t know and we had never been there during the summer. Facu’s sister was in Bariloche at the time on holiday, so we kind of rushed off to try to meet her there.
She ended up staying longer and almost moved there. Bariloche tends to do that to you – it either kicks you out or totally embraces you. We were completely welcomed by that city and ended up staying there for over six months. We had winter jobs, a routine and made a lot of different friends, all while still living in the van which was parked on the entryway of a hostel. We slept in the van but could utilize the hostel’s showers and kitchen.
After winter was over, we decided it was time to move on (at least for a little bit). On the 18th of October we grabbed the van again and traveled down to Ushuaia in about two months. When we went to El Chalten, we felt a little like we did in Bariloche and almost stayed there forever too. But after three weeks we got the courage to leave and continue with our travels.
Visiting Ushuaia, “The End of the World”
Sabri had been to Ushuaia twice, but only briefly and during the winter. Facu hadn’t and thus was more excited to go. We discussed whether we should go, because driving there is quite expensive with the ferry crossing and the gas. But in the end we decided to go, since visiting “The End of the World” is not something you get to do everyday, especially in your own van.
When we got there, Sabri didn’t remember how green it was. Remember, she had only visited during winter and it’s a different place each season. We were welcomed by friends who were on holidays there at the time and our first day was hot and sunny (which is rare). Ushuaia welcomed us with open arms, confirming that we had made the right choice.
For Sabri, her favorite place in Ushuaia was the Vinciguerra Glacier. It’s a moderate trek that leads to a blue lagoon and you can get close to the glacier itself. The trek goes through little waterfalls, river streams and an ever-changing forest. The best part for her is that the trek itself is not very challenging and the view is breathtaking. You can go in the day and it takes about eight hours in and out, which isn’t too demanding actually.
As for Facu, he enjoys more challenging activities so his favorite destination in Ushuaia was Laguna del Caminante. He went there with our friends and camped overnight. This is one of the most challenging treks in Ushuaia and the weather didn’t accompany him well on the way back. It was rainy and the wind was very strong, which made it even more adventurous. He felt as if he was in Iceland and he even got to see a huge ice cave!
Regardless, this is not a trek that we recommend to just anyone visiting. It’s extremely important that you are well prepared, have appropriate clothing, enough food and water, register with the national park beforehand, tell someone that you are going to go there and of course, check weather conditions and don’t go on your own. Of course, you can always hire a mountain guide to go with you and make sure you enjoy this experience.
Best Things To Do in Ushuaia, Argentina
- Tierra del Fuego National Park (particularly the coastal walk)
- Navigating the Beagle Channel and visiting Isla Martillo
- Laguna Esmeralda
- Bahia Cucharita
- Monte Susana
- Laguna de los Tempanos and Glacier Vinciguerra
- Laguna del Caminante (only for experienced trekkers)
The greatest thing about Ushuaia is that it has options for people of all ages and possibilities. If you are traveling with kids or are senior citizens, there are plenty of things you can do. Navigating the incredible Beagle Channel is something anyone can enjoy and it’s truly a once in a lifetime experience.
We had the opportunity to experience the Beagle Channel with Pinguinos Expediciones. They took us on a five hour catamaran ride where we saw sea lions, imperial cormorants and Magellanic penguins. There are also hikes of all sorts of levels and in the national park there are plenty of treks to entertain yourself. You can even camp in many places for free.
Making Friends with the Awesome Locals
We had the chance of making friends with a couple of locals in Ushuaia. There are a lot of people from all over Argentina who move to Ushuaia, and we made friends with people who are originally from Buenos Aires but who have lived there for over 10 years now. In comparison with other big cities, Ushuaia is a very safe place and the people are more relaxed.
The locals are knowledgeable regarding the history of the city and are also nature lovers. We had the chance of meeting a group of local trekking guides who took us to some beautiful places that aren’t advertised much to tourists. We recommend doing Couchsurfing or going to bars such as Santos to meet the locals and to get to know the hidden gems.
Enjoying the Vegan Food of Ushuaia
Given that this has historically been a fishing town, there is plenty of seafood available in Ushuaia, especially compared to the rest of Argentina which is famously known for its meat. We personally don’t eat animals, so we haven’t engaged in the typical dishes that are offered in Ushuaia.
However, we were very happy to find that many places offer vegan or vegetarian options. We were able to find vegan pastries and desserts at several coffee shops and we can certainly vouch for the vegan pizza at Manhattan Ushuaia and the vegan burger (and delicious beer) of Grut ‘84.
Special Moments with Special People in Ushuaia
The truth is that no matter where you go on your travels, how beautiful or unexplored a place is, ultimately what makes the travel experience memorable is the people you share it with. That is what you take with you, that is what you remember the most. We were lucky that we shared this incredible destination with good friends.
The difficult hikes felt lighter, the beer tasted better and the rainy days weren’t a bother because we were in the company of good people. So in the end, the destination in itself is not what is important, at least for us. We could have been in a little town, in the middle of nowhere, and we still would have had a great time if we shared it with the right people.
Tips for Visiting “The End of the World”
Everyone should be as prepared as possible to experience all kinds of weather on the same day in Ushuaia. Rain, shine, wind and everything in between. Make sure to bring clothing appropriate for all kinds of weather and dress in layers. No matter what the forecast says, always be prepared for everything and bring warm and windproof clothes with you at all times.
Also, bring proper trekking shoes. We can’t stress this enough. If you are someone who enjoys walking in nature, you won’t regret having footwear designed for that. Even in January you might find snow on some hikes or what is more common, mud. So it’s better to be safe than sorry. Other than that, we recommend spending at least two weeks here if possible.
There is a lot to see and the weather is unpredictable, so it’s best to plan ahead and consider that you will have some rainy days during your stay (though we hope you don’t). Also, Ushuaia is huge and the distances are long, so renting a car is a good idea so you can move around freely.
Consider camping in the national park or sleeping at Llanos del Castor, which also has comfortable domes. Finally, respect nature. Make sure you don’t leave anything other than footprints during your visit. If you find trash please take it with you and dispose of it. Shop locally, engage with the locals and of course enjoy your stay at “The End of the World”!