"Bottom of the World?"
I am not really sure why I wanted to go to Ushuaia. I think I just wasted to see Penguins. And, Oh boy! did I see Penguins. Ushuaia is literally said to be the most Southernly city in the world. I am not much of a eco-traveler, but there were a ton of people there that were. Backpacks were everywhere. I am a luxury traveler so I was a bit concerned about accommodations. My idea of camping is staying at a Holiday Inn. : ) We stayed at a place called Patagonia Villa. It was really just renting a self enclosed portion of a house. The place was quaint and homey. The owner dealt with us personally. I would go back again. We were a bit troubled by how far away from the city center we were. It would have been tough, if we did not have a car. I have heard that the place to stay is the Las Hayas Resort Hotel.
I highly suggest that if your budget allows, rent a 4 x 4. Hertz and a few others have them. It was about $40 a day. The mileage costs were a bit out of skew, and it literally took 30 mins to rent the truck, even with confirmed reservations. We spent one whole day just driving into the mountains on highway 3. It was beautiful, with unspoiled views of waterfalls, and inlets. It was a bit boring on the way back. Don't expect wonders if you take the drive.
The entire city really reminded me of a city in Alaska. I am sure I am not they only person to feel this way. It is really breathtaking. The city is basically surrounded by snow capped mountains. It is a bit strange also because when you look over the water, you see more land, and this is actually Chile. Apparently this is still a point of contention between the two countries.
One of the main things to do is to take a boat trip to see the penguins and sea lions, etc... There are several companies, there seems to be very little difference between the firms. We took the six hour tour. It was great. The weather was great, and we met some other interesting travelers. There is also a nine hour tour, if you like boats, I would suggest it. At the time we were there, November 2004, there were several Antarctica bound ships docked. Nov is the start of summer. It was cool for me to see these huge monster ships.
"Great Kig Crabs"
We found, a great little restaurant, right down by the port area. It is called Tia Elvira. The local specialty is King Crab. I had it several times, in different concoctions, all were delicious. We ate here a few times, and the staff was great. One night they made room for us, basically in a part of their house. It was very comfortable.
All in all, this is a laid back town that is a great destination for the eco-traveler. If you are like me, a bit of a party hound, you may want to exclude this city from your wish list. If you enjoy seeing six varieties of penguins, you should rush right down and book your ticket. btw: Just for the record, some varieties of penguin fly. I know, I saw them. : )