Ushuaia

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Ushuaia is a city in Argentina. It is the southernmost point reachable by road in the world, and as such a bit of a destination for wanderers. It is worth the distance to get here, however, with unrivalled views across the Beagle channel, and a frontier feel that allows you to feel you are at the edge of the continent.

Hitching out

Hitching on Isla Grande of Tierra del Fuego is pretty easy, though in the autumn and winter (April through to September/October) it can be cold and miserable. Autumn will bring clear days that make you forget the five pissy, wet ones that preceded it. The scenery is also great in the winter, with now competition, what so ever!

East and North towards Rio Grande and Punta Delgada

From the bus station in town on Maipu ask for buses towards the big YPF (god love 'em) , letters A and B bus ought to do the trick, and literally drop you at the edge of town. Stay on till the end. Best to walk past the police check point (they register your passport (June 14)) and you're in a good spot as people are slow after the check and have plenty time to see you and pull over, and the cops don't bother you.

To the end of the Ruta 3, and to all intents and purposes, the southernmost terminal of the Panamerican / PanamericanA, you must head West out of town, through residential areas. Traffic flow is light. If you're picked up by Argies, ask them to say your a local, to get free entry at the National Park gate. Otherwise walk around the check point. It is a further 4km walk in, but it's a scenic area with great camping and a backdoor entry (oooh sailor) to Chile.

Places to avoid

Internet cafés are extortionate. Go to the library. The giant casino development that looks like a pair of Y fronts. Ush sprawls East into ugly (but safe) industrial hinterland, so take the bus to get out of town.

Accommodation and Sleep

Wild camping might well be possible as there is a lot of wilderness outside the town. Hostels are expensive but there is some affordable camping in summer months with good facilities. It's possible to trade stays for work if you get talking to campsites. On Avenida San Martin near 25 de Mayo there is a 24 hour café which also sells postcards, cigarettes, souvenirs and various bits and pieces. They had no problem with two cold hitch hikers who arrived at 01:00 in late autumn spending the minimum money on dubious hotdogs sitting in their store all night (though they close up to clean at 06:00).

If it's winter, try the local hospital if you just need to fill in a night in the warmth. Towards the yacht club near the lagoon, there may be old boats to squat a night in. Be subtle.

Other useful info

The town is small and quite expensive, with some nice museums. Beware the internet cafés! Instead of their insane prices use the public library which is free for half an hour at a time but quite relaxed about usage as long as you are courteous. The real attraction is the amazing parks and hiking within easy reach. It is also a major launch point for Antarctic cruises, which for backpackers probably doesn't mean much but inflated prices. Tourist info are generally really helpful, they will check the weather for you and dig out maps or phone campsites.



Personal Experience

lukeyboy95 had a euphoric arrival in Ushuaia after 256 days hitchhiking the entire Pan Americas Highway from Coldfoot, Alaska. Great, iconic place to finish. Lots of quirky signs, and anti-English propaganda (it's capital of the Malvenas), right up a Scotsmans street. Coming down from Caleta or Comodoro is very easy, lots of long distance truckers. Target Chileno drivers, who will get you to Tierra del Fuego at least, but the Argies could also be excellent with a little persistence. Don't get stuck in Rio Grande, international capital of the trout; there is a road that bypasses it. Surprisingly weak traffic between the two cities, took me a whole day to make it to Ushu.

Don't be too put off by the cold months down here. I came in mid June 2014, with no specialist equipment, or duck feather ear warmers, or metallic oxidizing hand heaters, just lots of layers of clothes and naivity, and did OK. The scenery and chill are exhilarating. No competition is countered by little, and unsympathetic traffic, but still very do-able. People will let you sleep in outhouses, or sheds. I slept in Rio Grande hospital one night. Don't try and camp. Days are short, get out early. From Ushuaia, trucks park at times on the large roundabout, and many go directly to BA. You could get lucky. Let them know you have a tent and food, and they mellow alot. Much easier alone. Hope that helps.

lukeyboy95 A victory jump after hitchhiking from above the Arctic Circle in Alaska