What are the best tours in Ushuaia and Tierra del Fuego? Well, have we got an epic, adventure-filled list for you!
Nestled at the southernmost tip of Argentina, Ushuaia is nicknamed the City at the End of the World and beckons adventurous travellers to its remote corners. This city is not just a gateway to Antarctica but also a portal to some of the most breathtaking landscapes on Earth and some unmissable adventures!
From the pristine waters of the Beagle Channel to the rugged trails of the Fuegian Andes Mountains and the mystical wonders of the Vinciguerra Glacier, Ushuaia offers an array of epic tours that promise unparalleled experiences.
Whether you’re a thrill-seeker, nature lover, or simply a curious traveller, Ushuaia’s tours are bound to etch memories that last a lifetime.
So without further ado, here are 10 handpicked Ushuaia tours for you to consider on your trip!
10 Epic Ushuaia Tours You Can’t Miss!
At the top of the list is a boat tour of the Beagle Channel!
The Beagle Channel is the strait in the Tierra del Fuego archipelago that links the Pacific Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean.
The channel is named after the British ship HMS Beagle, in which Charles Darwin explored the area between 1833 and 1834.
There are many ways to experience the Beagle Channel from sailing boats to catamarans to yachts! However, all outings focus on viewing wildlife and seeing the iconic Les Eclaireurs Lighthouse.
The Les Eclaireurs Lighthouse is often mistaken as the ‘Lighthouse at the End of the World’. However, that distinction belongs to the San Juan de Salvamento Lighthouse, which is located on the east coast of the rather remote Isla de los Estados and was made famous by Jules Verne’s novel The Lighthouse at the End of the World.
This particular Beagle Channel boat tour includes a stop in Isla Bridges, where passengers disembark and go on a mini trek to observe the local flora and fauna, and learn the history of the native Yámanas who once called this place home.
Estancia Harberton is the southernmost estancia or ranch in the world and that alone makes it a must-visit attraction in Tierra del Fuego!
Estancia Harberton is located about 85 kilometres from Ushuaia, with most of the journey being on a gravel road. It can be accessed by car or as part of guided tours that depart from Ushuaia.
The estancia was founded in 1886 by Reverend Thomas Bridges, an English missionary who worked with the indigenous Yámana people and who was also the author of the dictionary of the Yámana or Yaghan language.
The Argentine government granted him this land in appreciation of his services and the estancia was named Harberton after the home of Bridges’ wife, Mary, in Devon, England.
The original homestead and many of the surrounding buildings are still standing, built in a distinctive British architectural style but with adaptations suited to the harsh Fuegian climate.
The ranch covers about 50,000 acres, predominantly sheep-grazing land interspersed with patches of native forests and bordered by the Beagle Channel.
While it’s still a working ranch, Estancia Harberton has expanded its operations to include tourism. Visitors can tour the historical buildings, explore the natural surroundings, and get a glimpse of life on a Patagonian ranch. The ranch also serves as a base for various excursions in the region, including boat trips on the Beagle Channel.
Within the estancia’s grounds is the Acatushún Museum, which focuses on marine mammals and birds. It’s particularly known for its collection of marine mammal skeletons.
Admittedly, this is one of the pricier Ushuaia tours you can book but it does include a cruise on the Beagle Channel, you get to see Imperial Cormorants on Isla de los Pájaros, sea lions on Isla de los Lobos, and you disembark and walk among penguins on Martillo Island (something that other tours cannot do).
The Emerald Lagoon, locally known as Laguna Esmeralda, is located approximately 20 kilometres northeast of Ushuaia, nestled in the valleys of the Fuegian Andes.
The Emerald Lagoon’s standout feature is its intense green-turquoise colour, which contrasts starkly with the surrounding snow-capped mountains and dense green forests. The lagoon’s colour is a result of the glacial and rainwater it receives.
The primary way to experience the lagoon is through a hiking trail that leads visitors to its shores. The trek spans roughly 9 kilometres in total and can take 4 to 5 hours round trip depending on the pace of the group, photo ops along the way, terrain conditions and weather.
The trail takes hikers through diverse landscapes including forests, peat bogs, and small streams, offering a rich and immersive natural experience. Along the way to the lagoon, hikers can witness a variety of local plant species, including lenga and coihue trees.
The area is also home to several species of birds and occasionally offers sightings of local wildlife such as foxes.
Being in Tierra del Fuego at the end of the world means the weather can be unpredictable even during the warmer months. It’s not uncommon to experience shifts in weather, including rain and snow, during a single day’s hike. For this reason, preparation and dressing in layers is key.
Once you reach the shores of Laguna Esmeralda, you get to enjoy a box lunch picnic and soak in the views before returning to Ushuaia.
Another must-do tour in Ushuaia – especially for any train enthusiasts out there! – is to ride the Southern Fuegian Railway, better known as the End of the World Train.
This now famous Ushuaia train was originally built in the early 20th century to serve the Ushuaia prison, which housed some of Argentina’s most hardened criminals.
The prisoners were responsible for constructing their own prison and had to use the railway to transport timber from the forests to the prison, where it was used for heating and building purposes.
Today the former prisoners’ train is a popular tourist attraction. The route starts at the “End of the World” train station, travelling through the Pipo River Valley, the Macarena waterfall area, the Tree Cemetery, and ending in the Tierra del Fuego National Park. The entire journey is set against a backdrop of the pristine Fuegian forest, snow-capped mountains, and vibrant peat bogs.
What’s nice about this particular tour is that it combines the End of the World train ride with a guided visit to Tierra del Fuego National Park.
You’ll get to visit Bahía Ensenada Zaratiegui, which is the bay where you’ll find the famed End of the World Post Office. Here you’ll have the opportunity to send a postcard and get your passport stamped.
Next, you’ll continue to Bahía Lapataia where you can find the End of the World sign, which symbolizes the end of the Pan-American Route which links Ushuaia with Alaska. Plus, you’ll also get to see Laguna Verde and Lago Roca.
If you’re pressed for time in Ushuaia or maybe you don’t want to spend any time hiking in Tierra del Fuego National Park, this tour offers a great overview and takes you to the most important spots in the park.
If you’re looking for an adrenaline-filled day, then consider this 4×4 off-road tour!
This tour departs from Ushuaia and is a great opportunity to experience the ruggedness of Tierra del Fuego’s landscapes.
Over the course of the day, you’ll cross the southern Andes Mountain Range. You’ll see Lago Escondido, which means ‘hidden lake’ and is situated at the bottom of a deep valley. Plus, you’ll experience Lago Fagnano, the largest lake in Tierra del Fuego, which is shared by both Argentina and Chile and is known as Lago Cami on the Chilean side.
You’ll venture off-road and drive through rugged terrain, weave your way through the forest, tackle river crossings, and follow trails that hug the coastline.
Things will get muddy and a little bumpy, but it’ll be an adventure to remember.
But that’s not all, because this is Argentina, you’ll get to enjoy a traditional Fuegian asado or barbecue, paired with a bottle of Malbec – the national grape!
How does a scenic helicopter flight over the southernmost city in the world sound?
This is one of the most epic tours you can do in Ushuaia and hands down one that you won’t soon forget!
Ushuaia is surrounded by majestic landscapes. You have glaciers, islands, forests, bays, and mountains – after all, this is where the Andes Mountains end!
Maybe you got a sneak peek on your flight to Ushuaia, but if you want a complete aerial view, then you can’t go wrong with a helicopter tour.
And thankfully, there are 3 different options ranging in price and flight time:
Ushuaia Scenic Tour (7 min): This flight will give you an overview of Ushuaia, plus you’ll get to see Golondrina Bay, Susana Mount, Martial Glacier, the Museum of the Prison of Ushuaia, Ushuaia Port Harbour and Ushuaia Bay.
Emerald Lagoon (15 min): This flight will take you over Ushuaia, plus you’ll also get to see Olivia Mountain. From there, you’ll continue towards Cinco Hermanos Mount, the peatlands of the Carbajal Valley, Tierra Mayor Valley, the Emerald Lagoon, and you’ll end the tour over Ushuaia Bay.
Landing at the Andes (30 min): This tour has the longest flight time and you get to see quite a bit! You’ll fly over Ushuaia and continue east towards Olivia Mountain which stands 4,350 feet high. You’ll get to see the peatlands of the Carbajal Valley and then reach the Emerald Lagoon. The helicopter will then land in a stop area, where you’ll get to enjoy the imposing mountain views of the Andes Mountain Range. You’ll then toast this once-in-a-lifetime bucket list adventure with a glass of champagne atop the mountain.
If you didn’t get your fill of glaciers in El Calafate, then a trek to the Vinciguerra Glacier on the outskirts of Ushuaia is something to add to the list!
Vinciguerra Glacier is located approximately 20 kilometres northwest of Ushuaia amidst the Andes Mountains.
The primary way to experience this glacier is through a moderately challenging hike that takes visitors up to its base. The trek typically takes 4 to 6 hours round trip, depending on the weather conditions and the hiking pace.
Along the way, the trail to Vinciguerra Glacier passes through dense forests, peat bogs, and rocky terrains, offering a diverse landscape.
Positioned at the base of the Vinciguerra Glacier is the Tempanos Lagoon. This glacial lagoon is dotted with floating icebergs that have broken off from the glacier above creating a beautiful panorama for visitors.
While the Vinciguerra Glacier is accessible year-round, the optimal time for a visit is during the Southern Hemisphere’s summer months, so from December to March. During this period, the weather is relatively milder, and the paths are less treacherous.
Note: this is a trek TO the glacier and not ON the glacier! You will NOT be wearing crampons and trekking on the glacier.
For a fun and active visit to Tierra del Fuego National Park, consider this Ushuaia tour that combines a day of trekking and canoeing.
During this tour, you’ll go on a 7-kilometre hike through the Sub-antarctic forest dropping into the shores of the Beagle Channel. This hike is considered medium difficulty.
Upon completing the hike, you’ll enjoy lunch on the shores of Lago Roca / Lago Acegami in a geodesic dome.
Afterwards, you’ll be provided with rubber boots, waterproof pants, and life jackets before hopping aboard an inflatable canoe. You’ll then paddle the Lapataia River until you reach Lapataia Bay, which should take about 1 hour.
The Ushuaia double-decker bus tour is a 1-hour sightseeing tour that does a loop around the city hitting up some of the major attractions along the way.
Picture a bright blue, old-fashioned double-decker bus that will transport you back in time as soon as you step aboard. Over the course of the tour, you’ll get to learn about Ushuaia’s history and hear fun anecdotes, with a bit of tango music in between. The commentary is done in Spanish and/or English depending on the group, plus they also have narrated audio in 7 languages.
The bus tour goes past landmarks like the old prison, the city port, and offers views of downtown Ushuaia and the Beagle Channel along the way.
The bus makes two stops during the tour, one at the Devil’s Lagoon in the city’s west end, and the other at the Ushuaia Aeroclub which offers panoramic views of downtown Ushuaia. The bus does not make any other stops, so the tour is geared at providing an overview of the city more than anything else.
Note: this is NOT a hop-on hop-off tour even if it is sometimes labelled as such. There will be a couple of brief stops along the way for photos, however, you can’t get off of the bus and wait for the next one like on a traditional hop-on hop-off tour.
If you’re planning to visit Ushuaia in winter and enjoy skiing or snowboarding, then you can enjoy an action-packed day at Cerro Castor.
This ski lodge is located 26 kilometres from Ushuaia and is a popular winter day trip to hit the slopes.
Cerro Castor has the distinction of being the southernmost ski resort in the world. It is also the only ski centre in Argentina that has an ice rink at its base.
The views from Cerro Castor are unparalleled. Skiers and snowboarders can enjoy impressive views of the Beagle Channel and the surrounding forests of Tierra del Fuego.
Plus, beyond skiing and snowboarding, visitors can also enjoy a range of winter activities like snowshoeing, sled rides, and off-piste skiing.
If aprés-ski is more your thing, you’ll be pleased to know there are 7 different restaurants sprinkled at the base of the mountain and up on the ski hills. These include:
- Snow Bar
- Ona House
- Morada del Águila
- Alpino Sports Bar
- Restaurante 480
- Terrazas del Castor
- La Barra
- Viejo Castor
All this to say, you won’t go cold and you won’t go hungry on the slopes of Cerro Castor.
Tips for enjoying your Ushuaia tours
- If you’re going to be visiting Ushuaia during high season and you only have a few days in town, be sure to book your excursions in advance, especially if you’re wanting to do a particular activity that’s only offered a few times a week. You wouldn’t want to come all this way for it to be fully booked.
- Most of these Ushuaia tours are active and involve spending quite a bit of time outdoors, so dress accordingly. Waterproof hiking boots, waterproof hiking pants, and a waterproof jacket are always a good idea!
- The weather outside Ushuaia can be cooler and windier, especially if you’re heading out into the mountains, so dress in layers and pack a hat, scarf and pair of gloves in your day pack even if you don’t think you’ll need them.
- Keep in mind that some of these tours include hotel pick-up from your accommodations in Ushuaia, while others require you to meet at a pre-designated spot. Always confirm this with your tour operator.