No trip to Ushuaia is complete without a voyage on the legendary Beagle Channel, the majestic, mountain-fringed sea passage south of the city. Most boat excursions start and finish in Ushuaia, and you get the best views of town looking back at it from the straits. Standard trips visit Isla Bridges, Isla de los Pájaros and Isla de los Lobos, looping around Faro Les Eclaireurs, sometimes erroneously called the Lighthouse at the End of the World – that title belongs to the beacon at the tip of Isla de los Estados – on their way back. On boat trips, look out for sea birds such as the Black-browed Albatross, the thick-set Giant Petrel, Southern Skuas and the South American Tern, as well as marine mammals such as sea lions, Peale’s dolphin (with a grey patch on its flank) and the occasional minke whale.
Boats depart from the Muelle Turístico, where you’ll find agents’ booking huts: recommended vessels include the Barracuda, offering good-value, informative tours (daily 3pm; 3hr; $120), and the long-running Tres Marías, a quiet motorized sailboat, whose trip includes trekking on Isla “H” to see Yámana shell middens. There are lots of other trips of a similar length in various size boats available, but bear in mind the large catamarans make it harder to see wildlife close up.
For an alternative perspective, Ushuaia Divers (t02901/444701, wwww.ushuaiadivers.com.ar) runs diving trips into the channel to look for king crabs and sea lions among the seaweed forests.