Another day, another early morning. This time we woke up to get the boat from a port in Punta Arenas to Porvenir, on the island of Tierra del Fuego. We were really excited because this boat was transporting our car across the Magellan Strait. Our boat left at 9AM and you must arrive an hour before departure. If you are transporting a vehicle it is a good idea to make a reservation in advance or they may not have the space to accommodate you. This is also a passenger boat so you don’t need a car to make the crossing and you do not need a reservation. It costs CLP$37,000 to transport the car and driver plus CLP$5,800 for each passenger. The company only accepts cash but it can be paid in Chilean pesos, Argentinian pesos, or U.S. dollars .
The whole trip is about 2 hours and there are TVs and coffee service on board. It is a really nice boat with comfortable chairs and plenty of legroom. It is also a smooth ride with no bumpy waters (probably because it is so big). We arrived in Porvenir on the island of Tierra del Fuego at 11AM and just drove right off the boat. Since we were still in Chile the roads were very bad, more dirt roads that you need to be cautious on because there is nothing around for hundreds of kilometers.
From Porvenir to the border of Argentina on the island (because it is divided in two) is about 100kms. We arrived at the border around 2PM and the check out of Chile and check into Argentina took about 30 minutes total. There are two separate facilities but everything is pretty standard. We were very happy to get back into Argentinian territory again because as soon as you cross the border the road is paved and it feels like heaven!
After we crossed, it was about 250km to Ushuaia but since the roads were good we made great timing and arrived by 5:30PM. We were greeted by a very industrial city that did not look at all like what we expected. We had heard from many people that Ushuaia was incredibly beautiful but the city is so ugly!! The landscape was gorgeous, surrounded by mountains and located on the water, but it is just a large and expensive port city. We, however, were still excited because it was New Year’s Eve and we were ready to celebrate the New Year at the End of the World!
We arrived at La Posta Hostel which is a bit far from downtown but is a nice facility. The family who owns it is very kind and keep the building very well maintained. They have apartments for rent, private rooms, and shared dormitories, and of course we chose the dorm. It was AR$108 per person per night in a 6 bed dorm. The night we slept there we were the only young people in the whole place but the people we met were very cool! We saw many pictures of young travelers on the walls but none were there that night. Most of the place was occupied by a “biker gang” who was traveling Ruta 40 by motorcycle and it was very cool and comprised of many professionals!
So Dani and I decided to get ready to go out for the night and heard a bar called Dublin was the place to go. We called a taxi at around 9:30PM (playing it safe) and it cost us AR$33 to get to this bar. However, when we arrived it was closed and as we started to walk around downtown we noticed that all of the bars were closed and only a few restaurants were open. All the restaurants needed a reservation (which we didn’t have because we didn’t know) and ranged rom AR$400-$800 per person. We were very disappointed because the city wasn’t having a party or fireworks and everything was closed!! A concierge at a hotel told us that everything opens after midnight but that didn’t help us at the moment (and also didn’t make any sense to us).
So we walked around a bit more and found this dive bar called Bar Ideal and dinner was AR$420 a person with a few courses. We decided to just go for it to have a place to celebrate the New Year but this place was AWFUL and definitely not worth the money we spent! The caprese salad was just sliced sandwich cheese with tomatoes and “pesto.” The meat was very tough and I found a hair in my food and they didn’t even give us a discount!! We stayed to ring in the New Year and found a nice group of people to talk to but we just decided to go back to our hostel afterwards. We were disappointed with our dinner and the city and hoped the next day would be better.
- Left Punta Arenas @ 9AM
- CLP$3000 = ATM fee
- CLP$42800 = Crossing ($37000=car+driver, $5800=passenger)
- Arrived in Ushuaia @ 5:30PM
- AR$216 = Hostel
- AR$63 = Taxi
- AR$858 = Worst dinner of our lives (AR$420/person)
- Total = CLP$42,800 / AR$1,137