“This is important: to get to know people, listen, expand the circle of ideas.
The world is crisscrossed by roads that come closer together and move apart,
but the important thing is that they lead towards the Good.” – Pope Francis
Ushuaia is our base point going to our expedition cruise going to Antarctica. Our group who planned this Antarctica trip for over 2 years will be sailing finally at the port of the End of The World.
It is located at the southernmost city of Argentina (and the world!) and is the largest port and airport for cruises and flights going to Antarctica. It’s a very touristy place as this is not only a base point for Antarctica but it is also a good place for hiking, winter sports, and seeing penguins. Although, we didn’t go to Beagle Channel anymore where we can see some penguins for obvious reason, we are already going to Antarctica right? :P
(Check my entry for the Antarctica expedition cruise, HERE.)
We were one day early to our call-time at the hotel provided by our cruise package, the Arakur Hotel, because the weather in the south is quite unpredictable and sometimes there are cancellations in flights if not delays. So for our first day, we stayed at Yakush Hostel which is in a good location, just a block away from the seaport. Although the staff were very helful and friendly, I didn’t really like our dorm rooms, the bunks are low and small with only ONE socket for all 8 people in the room! The common bathroom is down the hallway (you need to pass the reception and living area) and no enough space to put your stuff whilst you shower, it just feel very uncomfortable. I am not fussy with accommodations but I have been to a LOT of hostels already and they need to catch up on what a usual traveller needs. Good thing we were just staying for one night so yes, I didn’t mind at all, besides I am in one room with all of our friends.
The next day, we are checked-in at Arakur Hotel, which is a 5-star hotel on top of the mountain where everyone can see from below the tiny town of Ushuaia. Having said that, it is far from town you need to take the hotel’s free shuttle to get to town. Since we are only there for one night too, we just decided to have dinner at the hotel and soak ourselves in the outdoor infinity pool! Besides, we were so dog tired from our 6-hour hike at Esmeralda Lake! Before I talk about the hike, I just want to share that even if the rooms and hotel vicinity are all 5-star quality, I still lost something during my stay here – my grey ombre hair! Lol! I lost it when I soaked in the infinity pool, dammit!
Before we checked in at Arakur Hotel, we did the Esmeralda Lake hike instead of going to the Tiero del Fuego National Park. We were supposed to visit the latter but upon seeing the photo of Lake Esmeralda, it’s so beautiful decided we will just visit the Tiero del Fuego National Park on our way back from Antarctica.
Emeralda Lake hike is considered intermediate level, not easy but not too strenuous. I haven’t hiked for a while so I can’t keep up with some of the people I was with, they all seem to be running for I don’t know what’s the rush for lol! As for me and another friend, Alyssa, we walked slowly, stopped most of the time and savour the picturesque views along the trail of snow-capped mountains, turquoise-coloured river, and grey-coloured trees covered with moss.
It’s so enchanting that we care less about the dirt and mud. Yes, it gets very muddy, like knee deep! I’m glad that every time someone falls to this deep muds, I was way behind so I always find an alternate way hehe. See, it’s always better to be behind than going first haha!
Of course, the best part of this hike is the end of it, reaching the Emeralda Lake! Some people can still continue hiking for 2 more hours to reach the Glacier del Albino, but we didn’t do this anymore because apart from we are going to see lots of glacier in Antarctica anyway, we have to go back soon to check-in at Arakur Hotel to get ready for the orientation for our expedition cruise.
TIERO DEL FUEGO NATIONAL PARK
Coming back from our Antarctica expedition cruise, we had 2 more days stay in Ushuaia before going to Puerto Natales, Chile. And this was when we visited the Tiero del Fuego National Park. Since we were so lazy to do more hiking after almost 8 days hiking everyday in Antarctica, we decided the lazy way of seeing around the park – hiring a cab to take us to viewpoints, lol!
The park borders Chile so with the right documents/visa you can actually enter Chile through the park. It is a combination of the Andes and Patagonia forest where you can do hiking, camping, and kayaking by the river and beach. It was a relaxing walk around each viewpoints and I am pretty sure that it will definitely be awesome to hike and camp at this park if given enough time. Well, next time!
What I really enjoyed the most during our stay in Ushuaia are the camaraderie between my fellow Travbuddies whom I only met all of them for the first time. We have been “friends” online but this is the first time that I really see them face to face. Although some of us met already in Buenos Aires and Iguazu, here in Ushuaia is where we really hang out together, hike together, dine and drink together! I came to know them more individually and their personalities.
We all came from different background with just one common interest which is travelling. So despite of unavoidable clashing personalities along the way, at the end of the day we all have the same goal – travel harmoniously with the group. And yay! We all made it up to the end of our trip without killing each other haha! Kidding :P
Getting to know people is also like hiking in a beautiful place like, let’s say our Esmeralda Lake hike. Terrain may be flat or steep, rocky or muddy, sunny or windy, narrow or wide, etc. as long as you stride slowly, stop for awhile, and appreciate and enjoy each moment along the trail, you’ll be rewarded with a majestic view in the end. Understanding personalities may be difficult but if you make it a little easier to be around them and still keep your good vibes afloat, it will all lead towards the good.
I am glad that most of these Travbuddies I travelled with were the best people I’ve met and are friends with them up until now ;)