Here at WILDFOOT, we are proud to be able to offer unforgettable, tailor-made and surprisingly affordable Antarctic expedition vacations. Here, we document the beginning of the latest journey to this jaw-dropping corner of the world by one of our own senior travel advisors.
My British Airways flight arrived into Buenos Aires at 9am so I had plenty of time to traverse the city in order to catch my flight down to Ushuaia that was departing from the internal airport. As airport transfers are notoriously expensive in Argentina I decided to put the airport shuttle to the test and I must say it passed with glowing colours. I used the ‘Tienda Leon’ transfer company and was very impressed by their efficient and polite service and state of the art of buses (with Wi-Fi), especially as the 1hr 10 min journey cost me a mere 13USD, a definite top tip for future travellers!
With a few hours to kill at the airport before my 4hr flight south, it was nearly 8pm before I made it to the ‘End of the World’, aka Ushuaia. As I stepped out of the airport I savoured my first breaths of crisp, fresh Patagonian air, this is where the true adventure was going to start! I grabbed a taxi to take me to the Arakur Hotel and Spa, reportedly the best hotel in Ushuaia. It is located just outside the town, high up on the hill side, so enjoys magnificent views over the port and down the Beagle Channel. As to be expected with this calibre of hotel, the staff were all incredibly friendly and helpful in answering the many questions guests seem to have. The hotel is relatively new and is currently undergoing extensive development due to popular demand. Having done a full day of work on Friday before embarking on a succession of flights, my bed was a welcome sight tonight, to the point, I barely remember turning the light off.
I was determined to make the most of the beautiful day that I was being blessed with so had an early breakfast and headed into town to find the tourist information office to seek guidance as to the best way to access Tierra del Fuego. Again, I can only commend the helpfulness of the staff, providing honest advice and a good handful of useful maps. On their guidance, I took the shuttle bus into the National Park (USD24 round trip plus USD13 for the entrance fee) which is about a 30min drive, depending on which drop off point you decide to opt. Honestly, I could not have asked for better where the sun was high in the sky and no hint of the ferocious wind that this region is notorious for. Map in hand, I spent the day hiking many of the trails, savouring the incredible vistas from the various look out points. The park is a birder’s paradise, amongst the species I managed to identify were kelp geese, crested and steamer ducks, rufous-chested dotterel, kelp gulls, Magellanic and blackish oystercatchers, South American terns, various caracas, dark-bellied cinclodes, Austral parakeet and rufous-backed negrito, southern giant petrel, Chilean skuas, Chilean hawk and the much sought after Magellanic woodpeckers.
After a long day on my feet I decided to take the advice of a colleague of mine and went to L’Estancia for dinner, a typical Argentine meat restaurant. I had possibly the sweetest, ‘melt in your mouth’ steak I have ever had the pleasure of tasting, a ‘must do’ pit stop for any meat lover!