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Spending Time Extra Time in Ushuaia before/after your Antarctica cruise?


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I've read that a number of Antarctica cruises set things up so you are met in Buenos Aires and then take a flight to Ushuaia and board the ship with little time in the port.   

 

Would it be better to arrange your own flights and to spend a day or so in Ushuaia, either at the start or end (or perhaps both) of the trip? 

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9 hours ago, Smokeyham said:

I've read that a number of Antarctica cruises set things up so you are met in Buenos Aires and then take a flight to Ushuaia and board the ship with little time in the port.   

 

Would it be better to arrange your own flights and to spend a day or so in Ushuaia, either at the start or end (or perhaps both) of the trip? 


We did this both times prior to Antarctic cruises out of Ushuaia.  Giving yourself extra time in Ushuaia can also help with any delays en route to embarkation (which happened to us for our 2006-2007 trip).

 

There’s plenty to see and do in and around the area in my opinion.  If you are interested, use this link for the post I did for the first of our 4-day stay in Ushuaia before our 2015 cruise ... http://2totravel.blogspot.com/2015/05/ushuaia-argentina-ped-1-strolling-about.html

 

You can go to the subsequent days by clicking the “newer post” link at the bottom of each post.  Or scroll through the posts using the 2015 January archive.

Edited by 2552phxcrzr
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On 10/22/2020 at 8:41 AM, 2552phxcrzr said:


We did this both times prior to Antarctic cruises out of Ushuaia.  Giving yourself extra time in Ushuaia can also help with any delays en route to embarkation (which happened to us for our 2006-2007 trip).

 

There’s plenty to see and do in and around the area in my opinion.  If you are interested, use this link for the post I did for the first of our 4-day stay in Ushuaia before our 2015 cruise ... http://2totravel.blogspot.com/2015/05/ushuaia-argentina-ped-1-strolling-about.html

 

You can go to the subsequent days by clicking the “newer post” link at the bottom of each post.  Or scroll through the posts using the 2015 January archive.

Thanks Erin,

 

As always, your blog is wonderfully written and very informative.

Gordon

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If you have a few days in Ushuaia, you might consider a hike in Tierra del Fuego National Park. This park is just a few minutes from town. We hiked/walked the Costera Trail from the Little Post Office to the park Visitor Center. We had a taxi drop us off at the PO and pick us up at the park Visitor Center. This trail takes about 4 hours and has beautiful views. The VC has a small restaurant. We also rode the End of the World train to the park entrance - an hour train ride if roundtrip. You can catch a taxi to/from the rail station. More polar info is shared via my blog link below. 

Edited by ReturnCruiser
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Consider the fact that if you are delayed getting to Ushuaia, your ship leaves w/o you and there is no catching up.  I would get there at least 1 day early or maybe even 2 days early.  The 3 times I have been through Ushuaia, I got there 2 days early.

 

Considering that your Antarctica trip is probably costing you ~ 10K, having to pay a few hundred dollars extra for a flight to Ushuaia is good idea.  At the end of the cruise, you might as well take the charter home assuming that the cruise company will let you do just the charter home.  Discuss it w the cruise company before you book.

 

DON

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Having done it both ways, I would say there are pros and cons to each.

 

I really like Ushuaia and Tierra del Fuego and think it’s worth a couple days to explore if you’re keen (especially if the weather is nice). However, domestic flights in Argentina are known to be a bit unreliable so you absolutely need to arrive a few days ahead. On my first trip, there was no charter from BA, and of 120 passengers, a half dozen had delayed luggage. Most of them got their bags the next morning after their arrival, but one person ended up having to do the entire expedition in new/borrowed gear! The charter flights tend to have fewer issues, and the expedition company is on the line if things go wrong.


On the way home, I’d choose the charter flight every time if it was an option. If you’re doing a roundtrip from USH and have already done some exploring, I find it a little depressing to hang out in Ushuaia after. You’re surrounded by excited people about to leave for their expeditions, and it’s a gloomy reminder that the trip is over. I much prefer to get back to BA where life is less polar-focused. If charter flights aren’t an option, I typically try to book a flexible ticket in the late afternoon or evening. Morning flights are a bit of a gamble since windy weather can delay docking, but I’ve only known one case where ships couldn’t get in by the afternoon.

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Thanks so much everyone for the great responses!   Certainly makes sense to go to Ushuaia a few days early to allow for flight and/or baggage delays.  Doing a full Antarctic cruise and relying on the generosity of others to loan you clothing would not be fun!   

Good point too that being there after your Antarctic adventure when others are excited about the journey they are about to start on could be sad.

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We had a man on my first trip whose luggage never arrived.  He had two hours to find what he could in Ushuaia and then we all loaned/gave him enough to get through the month long trip. I had a pair of thick men's merino socks too big for me so I donated them. So he ended up with enough for landings but around the ship he spent most of the trip in a business suit !! 
 

And on my second trip one of the expedition team had just finished one trip that ended in Falklands so he did a roundabout of flights to get to where ours started in Tasmania but his luggage took a scenic tour up to northern hemisphere ! Try finding polar gear in Australia in peak summer ! Luckily someone knew staff in the Aus Antarctic Division headquarters who quickly drove to their warehouse and grabbed some gear for him !!!

 

so yep. Most people advise arriving early just to ensure your luggage catches you !!!

 

I like Ushuaia. Over 4 of my trips I've probably had about 18-20 days there in total. I love all the different excursions that can be done to appreciate nature and scenery (especially helicopters and 2 seater planes) and I love all the little museums plus the huge prison museum (which is about so much more than just the prison history). As a solo and non driver I do what I can around town myself and then for Further afield I've used Pira Tours for the penguin island trip, and catamaran sailing trips, and I've booked private tour guides thru the Tours By Locals website to get more further out to see specific stuff I am interested in. 

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On one polar trip, my luggage was lost by LATAM and never found. Luckily, this was on the way home. We've now completed several polar trips and have learned that delayed luggage is not uncommon. On one polar trip, my large duffel was heavily damaged during an LATAM flight into Punta Arenas and had to be replaced in town before ship boarding. Best to be prepared for the worst. We now pack items that could be difficult to replace in a day in our carry-on airflight luggage. This includes waterproof pants (I'm tall) and one each of heavy sock pair, waterproof gloves, mid-weight top, light-weight top and bottom layers and a jacket. We figure that if restocking is only partially successful at the embarkation location we should still be ok.    

Edited by ReturnCruiser
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1 hour ago, ReturnCruiser said:

On one polar trip, my luggage was lost by LATAM and never found. 

I was supposed to be going to Peru just before Covid hit. 

 

Dealing with Latam, both prior to the cancellation and since the cancellation has been a nightmare.  Of course, every airline has been impacted but it has been especially difficult even getting through to Latam.   

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Just make sure that you have the really important stuff in your hand carry bags - meds, 1 change of clothes, binoculars and more important - your photo gear.  I forgot to bring enough batteries for my camera on one trip.  If I remember correctly, there are 2 shops in  Ushuaia that carry photo gear and you do not want to have to buy a new camera in one of the shops. 

 

I will also add to bring a backup camera.  If you have a camera w replaceable lenses, both cameras should use the same lenses so you do not have to bring 2 sets of lenses.  On my trip to South Georgia, we were on the beach w several hundred thousand penguin nesting pairs and it was pouring part of the day.  I was not about to miss taking photos of that so I tried unsuccessfully to keep my camera dry.  The camera sort of died but I was OK because I had a backup.  If I did not have a backup, I would have been reduced to taking pictures w my cell phone which would have been catastrophic.  

 

DON

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  • 3 months later...
On 11/4/2020 at 7:53 PM, donaldsc said:

Just make sure that you have the really important stuff in your hand carry bags - meds, 1 change of clothes, binoculars and more important - your photo gear.  I forgot to bring enough batteries for my camera on one trip.  If I remember correctly, there are 2 shops in  Ushuaia that carry photo gear and you do not want to have to buy a new camera in one of the shops. 

 

I will also add to bring a backup camera.  If you have a camera w replaceable lenses, both cameras should use the same lenses so you do not have to bring 2 sets of lenses.  On my trip to South Georgia, we were on the beach w several hundred thousand penguin nesting pairs and it was pouring part of the day.  I was not about to miss taking photos of that so I tried unsuccessfully to keep my camera dry.  The camera sort of died but I was OK because I had a backup.  If I did not have a backup, I would have been reduced to taking pictures w my cell phone which would have been catastrophic.  

 

DON

Definitely second that double camera.  I had my Nikon 800 die on me at the first stop in the Falklands.  Fortunately I had a 610 as a backup.  Someone else had their charger die. So that is another to double up.

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12 hours ago, PaulMCO said:

Definitely second that double camera.  I had my Nikon 800 die on me at the first stop in the Falklands.  Fortunately I had a 610 as a backup.  Someone else had their charger die. So that is another to double up.

 

There was one guy on our trip who forgot his charger and he could not get one in Ushuaia.  He got to be sort of a pain constantly borrowing a charger from other people but you could hardly turn him down because you did feel sorry for him.  There are also the people who bring just 1 or 2 batteries figuring that 1 or 2 will be enough.  When I do a trip, I usually have at least 5 or 6 batteries.  

 

DON

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  • 2 weeks later...
Posted (edited)

Ushuaia, as the world's southernmost city,  is one of the most amazing places I've ever visited - so definitely try to plan at least a little time there. As was already suggested, Tierra del Fuego is well worth it, and the post office is one of those very unique places to check out. 

Edited by OnTheJourney
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Ushuaia is worth visiting and I would plan to do it before that cruise.  The reason is that you should always plans to get to Ushuaia several days before the cruise just in case you get delayed due to transportation problems.  After all, if you plan to get to Ushuaia the day of or the day before the cruise leaves and you miss the ship, that's it folks.  There is no catch up port.  

 

DON

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