Antarctica, Day 15: Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego and Home

January 3, 2020

Paul Kay

We’re traveling Antarctica on Silversea Cruises. Today, we sailed into Ushuaia, visited Tierra del Fuego National Park, and then headed home. Here’s how our day went.

Sailing into Ushuaia, Argentina

 A pretty Ushuaia and lovely Andes mountains

Sailing into port, we were reminded how beautiful Ushuaia is with the Andes in the background.

Ushuaia lies close to Tierra del Fuego National Park. We planned to take a bus for a 90-minute stop in the park.

Buses Ready for Silver Cloud Passengers, Silversea Cruises, Ushuaia, Argentina

 Silversea had buses at the ready

After breakfast, we waited in our cabin until our group was called. We saw the buses coming alongside the Silver Cloud.

Hanging up our Life Preservers for the Last Time, Silver Cloud, Silversea Cruises, Ushuaia, Argentina

 Goodbye, dear life preservers! We'll miss you!

As we left, we hung up our Silversea life preservers for the final time. So sad!

We headed for the gangway with our carry-on luggage. We packed our regular suitcases the night before and left them outside of our cabin. The Silversea team took them to the airport, and then checked them for us through to Santiago, Chile. All we had to manage was carry-on bags for the charter flight from Ushuaia to Santiago. It was the same as our arrival to Ushuaia.

Passengers Leaving Silver Cloud, Silversea Cruises, Ushuaia, Argentina

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We weren't ready to leave! We had a wonderful time on this trip. But we knew it was time to get on the proverbial bus.

Monument of Ancient People and Pioneers of Ushuaia, Argentina

 A gorgeous sculpture in Ushuaia

On our way to Tierra del Fuego, we slowly passed through Ushuaia and saw a white stone sculpture. Local artist Antonino Pilello designed “Monument of Ancient People and Pioneers of Ushuaia.” The sculpture depicts a mountainous island, with different historical events portrayed within the external and internal slopes surrounded by the head and wings of an albatross. The flag of Tierra del Fuego incorporates the bird.

Entrance, Tierra Del Fuego National Park, Ushuaia, Argentina

 Does entering national parks ever get old?!

We continued for another 15 minutes, and then entered Tierra del Fuego National Park.

Madeline and Sign Describing the Andes, Tierra Del Fuego National Park, Ushuaia, Argentina

We got off the bus and received our passes for the park along with pamphlets explaining what we’d find here. We knew there was a place where we could get our passports stamped at the “end of the world” for a $3 fee.

Souvenir Shop, Tierra Del Fuego National Park, Ushuaia, Argentina


Man Stamping Passports, Tierra Del Fuego National Park, Ushuaia, Argentina

 ...and stamps!

We eventually wandered to the only building around. We were told it offered souvenirs and the man who could stamp our passport. Madeline purchased a small magnet, and then we waited our turn for our passport stamp. He was doing very good business!

Argentine Flag, Tierra Del Fuego National Park, Ushuaia, Argentina

 What a view

The flag of Argentina proudly waved at the beautiful overlook of the historic national park.

Post Office Box, Tierra del Fuego National Park, Ushuaia, Argentina

 Mail from the end of the world

The shop sold postcards and stamps. Tourists can send postcards from the end of the world.

We all got back on our buses and headed to lunch. Silversea selected a restaurant for us. We didn’t need lunch since we had breakfast before we left the ship. And it was only 10:30 in the morning! But we had to get to the airport on time, so we squeezed in an early lunch.

Sign, Patagonia Mia Casa de Te-Restaurant, Ushuaia, Argentina

 An early lunch...

Patagonia Mia Casa de Te-Restaurant, Ushuaia, Argentina a pretty spot

Patagonia mia Case de Te-Restaurant served empanadas and salad followed by a large sizzling platter of lamb. Lamb is popular around Ushuaia. We had it for lunch when we arrived in Ushuaia 15 days ago!

When we traveled to Buenos Aires and Mendoza on some other trips, Argentine beef was on full display and it was easy to get steak. Here, we were hanging with the locals and lamb was the meal.

Airport, Ushuaia, Argentina

 Not the biggest airport, but not the smallest

After a tasty lunch, we got back on our bus and headed to the airport. The Ushuaia airport is quite small since it’s mostly charter flights for tourists.

We hurried through immigration and passport control, followed by security. Then, we waited until it was time to board. (Air travel is always hurry up and wait!) We flew to Santiago on LATAM Airlines, which is a well regarded airline in South America. LATAM is a Chilean airline headquartered in Santiago. It’s the largest airline in Latin America with subsidiaries in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Paraguay and Peru. LATAM is a One World partner.

The flight to Santiago took three and a half hours. Silversea checked our luggage only to Chile, so we had to find our luggage and wait through immigration and customs. Then, we dragged our luggage to the ticket counters for our flight home. This, of course, meant we had to wait through immigration again since we were leaving Chile and going home to Dallas.

The whole process was long and exhausting. And we had more to go! We flew nine hours to Miami. Since it was an overnight flight, we settled in for a quick meal and a nap. Upon arriving in Miami, we waited through customs. Again. Yay!

We’re approved for TSA Pre✓® and Global Entry, so our re-entry into the United States went smoothly. But we had to go through security again for our next flight to DFW! But TSA Pre✓® made that easy.

We arrived back home in Dallas in the morning and began unpack. We had to reorient ourselves after being gone for more than two weeks!

We absolutely loved our Silversea Cruises Antarctica experience on the Silver Cloud. We made memories that will last the rest of our lives. And we can’t wait to tell our family and friends all about it. If Antarctica interests you, we recommend taking a cruise with Silversea. Do it sooner rather than later.

Remember the GoGo2SlowGo philosophy: Travel while you can during your GoGo and SlowGo years. Then, share those wonderful memories of icebergs, penguins, whales, seals and stunning landscapes with family and friends during your NoGo period. Don’t let the fact that it was a cruise fool you. It was a physically demanding trip, getting in and out of bouncing Zodiacs and hiking up and down mountains and ice. If, like us, Antarctica ranks high on your bucket list, go now!

You’ll be glad you did.

Keep travelling, friends. Until the next adventure!

Tips: You can learn how we planned our trip by reading Planning Our Antarctica Trip. Learn what we read to prepare at Reading Antarctica. And you can find out what we packed at Packing for Cruising Antarctica on Silversea.

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Read More

Searching for Shackleton in the Undiscovered Continent of Antarctica
Planning Our Antarctica Trip
Cruising Antarctica 101
Reading: Antarctica
Packing for Cruising Antarctica on Silversea
Antarctica, Day 0: Dallas to Santiago

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