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CruiseDirection - Magazine Aug 2019

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Ushuaia is to be found on the southern coast of the island of Tierra del Fuego. It is located in a wide bay which is guarded to the north by the impressive Martial mountain range and to its south by the Beagle Channel.  

Ushuaia used to be based around a prison that was used to house serious criminals. The Argentine government had established this prison copying the example of the British who were using Australia as a penal colony and the French with their Devil’s Island; escape was considered to be pretty much impossible. Therefore, the prisoners were very useful as colonists with no choice but to be there. The unfortunates spent much of their time felling timber in the forest around the prison. This was used for building the town and a railway to the settlement. This railway is now one of the city’s major tourist attractions as it is the southernmost railway in the world and is called the End of the World Train or Tren del Fin del Mundo.

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Why visit Ushuaia ?

Ushuaia location iamge - CruiseDirection

Rich deep green landscapes

Ushuaia has a thriving tourist industry

The surrounding landscapes are a rich deep green; this is due to the many beautiful indigenous trees in the area such as the Maytenus magellanica (hard log mayten) the Drimys winteri (Winter’s bark) and several different species of Nothofagus.  

Being a major stop off point before reaching the southern regions and with many ski resorts nearby, Ushuaia has a thriving tourist industry. Constant temperatures allow the longest skiing season in South America as winter temperatures only fluctuate between 0º and -5°C (32 to 23°F), which means there are a constant stream of flights that arrive from Buenos Aires as well as Santiago in Chile.  

The city’s main attractions include the old prison itself, Tierra del Fuego National Park and Les Eclaireurs Lighthouse, which is known as the “lighthouse at the end of the world” as it can only be reached by the end of the world train. The city also has a museum, which takes a look at its years as a prison colony. One of the main skiing resorts is Glaciar Martial, which is also a great tourist destination during the summer when the chairlift opens in both directions. If you enjoy hiking there are trails that will take you from the city’s edge right to the base of the glacier, which offers a host of local wildlife along the way for you to enjoy. If anyone is unsure about global warming all they will have to do is look at pictures on display. They show exactly how dramatically the glacier has shrunk over the past century.  

Ushuaia belongs to the sub-polar oceanic climate, which guarantees south western winds. These winds ensure that the climate remains cold and wet. As an average, the city will experience at least 160 days of rain or snow a year, plus there are many days that are cloudy and foggy. Because temperatures are mainly cool throughout the whole year, there is little evaporation and snowfalls are common in winter and sometimes happen on a summer day as well. All this makes a perfect place for snow fans as well as those who are interested in world history.

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