A day in Ushuaia: Maritime Museum and navigation through the Beagle Channel


We continue with the stories of travel to Argentina and exploring the Land of Fire. In this article we tell you our second day of travel, which is also an ideal itinerary if you only have one day in Ushuaia.

At five in the morning it was completely daylight. It was our first sunrise in Ushuaia, the southernmost city in the world, and that day we were going to dedicate it to visit its main attractions.

After breakfast and chat for a while with María Cristina del B&B Nahuel we set up. We descend to San Martín Avenue, the main axis of the city, and walk to the east end. It was ten in the morning and "holiday", so there was very little movement. A few minutes later we reach the Ushuaia Maritime and Prison Museum. It is located inside a military base and in the old Ushuaia prison. We pay the 200 pesos of the entrance and leave the backpacks at the ticket office.

The old prison houses several museums in its facilities. The maritime museum includes a room with models of the most emblematic ships that have sailed to Ushuaia in the last five centuries. Like the Trinidad ratchet of Hernando de Magallanes that in 1520 crossed the strait that bears his name. At the end of this exhibition we find a reproduction of what the life of the first inhabitants was like: the yámanas.

When the first explorers stepped on these lands, they were surprised that the Yamanas did not wear clothes, despite the extreme weather. Nor did it make sense, it was much worse to go all day in wet clothes that never dried up than to go naked protected with natural fats. The Yámanas were a nomadic people who fed on fishing and lit numerous fires. That's why visitors called this area Tierra del Fuego.

The next room in the museum took us into the prison cell area. Two floors in which the old cells have been converted into small exhibition halls where we find panels with information about the marine fauna of the area and an exhibition with numerous dissected birds, information about Antarctica, about the Argentine army, etc ...

At 11:30 a.m., the guided tour began, which is included in the ticket price. This visit focused more on the prison and the stories of some of his most illustrious inmates. The end of the world prison was intended for dangerous criminals and political prisoners. This prison was in operation between 1904 and 1947. However, that was not the original prison that was installed in Ushuaia. The first one was built in 1896 on the island of the States but the conditions were so extreme that the prisoners hardly survived and was finally transferred to the current enclave.

The visit ended outside the prison, in the recreation of the San Juan de Salvamento lighthouse, which is the lighthouse that inspired Julio Verne to write The Lighthouse at the End of the World. However, the original lighthouse had many deficiencies and did not fulfill its main function, so it was dismantled and a new one was built in another more suitable location. Some objects of the old lighthouse are in the replica of the lighthouse that can be visited in the museum.

We finished the visit at noon, so we went to find a place to eat. Usually, Ushuaia is quite expensive, with high salaries to attract Argentines to live there. That makes the standard of living and restaurants high. Looking for where to eat we end up in the Ideal Bar, one of the first restaurants that opened in the city and offered as a menu of the day Bolognese pasta for 145 pesos, although then you have to add the cutlery (16 pesos) and the drink. I ordered some gnocchi that were not bad at all.

Then we walked to the port to do one of the essential excursions in Ushuaia: Beagle Channel Navigation.