Ushuaia. Fin del mundo. Sort of.

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Ushuaia is a funny kind of place. Friendly but not a party town. Ramshackled but not rundown. Expensive but not luxury. The end of the world but well, not really.

Located on Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego 1500 miles from Buenos Aires and 1200 from the Antarctic, it is the end of the road for mainland Argentina. But as you gaze out across the Beagle Channel you very quickly realise that there’s another mass of land to the South. “That’s Chile” said the adventure tour guide. “That’s Chile” said the boat driver. “That’s Chile” said our map. Ok, so it’s the end of the world… except for Chile and the Antarctic. Ok. And that lighthouse at the end world. It’s the last light house right? Oh… well… that’s not really the last one either. Ok.*

I’m not sure why Ushuaia insists that it’s the end of the world when it’s not really. It is pretty far south. As far south as I’ve ever been. It is the only bit of land at that latitude (which they share with Chile).

It does have an interesting history as a penal colony.
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There is lots of rugged coastal scenery.
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There is a nice national park with some good vistas and a few decent hikes to explore.
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There is a glacier within walking distance of town.
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There are a a variety of opportunities to see unique flora and fauna.
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And there is some decent food to be had in the form of grilled lamb and Southern King crab.
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But, well, maybe they’re not as easy to sell as “the end of the world”.

—-

* As I write this the lyrics “…and tomorrow never comes…” as crooned by Ronan Keating, pass through my mind. This song was played on a near-infinite loop in one of the hostels we stayed at in Ushuaia. At the time I assumed this was just an annoyance but, in retrospect, maybe, just maybe, the people of Ushuaia really do know the “fin del mundo” is coming?

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