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Ushuaia private guide


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We have 2 1/2 days in Ushuaia prior to leaving on a Quark cruise to Antarctica. I know there are companies like Port Compass etc. to use for tours in the area but we would rather have a guide for the full day(s) rather than take several separate group tours each day. Has anyone ever used or even heard of a guide in Ushuaia who might work with us to put together a personalized itinerary for each day? Any leads at all would be helpful. Thanks!

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  • 2 months later...

we will be in Uhuaia for 4 days December 27th - 30th - our second trip. We are using Canalfun.com.ar to put together some trips for us - a mixture of private and shared trips. they specialise in adventure/eco trips - eg kayaking, hiking, off road trips, late night hiking and beaver watching and campfire. I have had several recommendations for them. In emails they told me that they would be happy to put together private trips and they will be doing that for us on hte last day so that we can join our boat (Orion) in good time.


Do you know Ushuaia? here is some feedback from my last trip - we did the train at the end of the world (a putt-putt toy train. historically interesting, becauwse the convicts laid the tracks, but all in all a pretty dull day) Lapataia Bay is beautiful and you see the end of the Pan American Highway, but there is a lot of driving and sitting about compared with doing things in the fresh air. The prison museum is interesting and so is the town museum. They both give you a real sense of "place". We will be going to Estancia Harberton this trip - I get the feeling it is more interesting because of what it represents rather than being innately interesting. The town is nice - it is a working, frontier town. Don't miss walking up to the far end of the port where the enormous fishing boats come in. They are so huge - you wonder how the sea can continue to produce life given how much we take from it each day. We did climb to the glacier above town, because our hotel was halfway there so it was easy. YOu would not need a guide for that. There is a cable car for the first bit and a teahouse serving great cakes and coffee at the lower end and a mountain hut cafe (hot chocolate!) at the top of the cable car - the walk to the glacier is steep, but safe and you will see quite a few other people on the path. The views of town are great once you are up there.


All our trips last year were organised by our UK travel agent and were about being bussed around in the company of a lot of others. We felt at the time that we were missing so much behind the glass window of our bus.


We sailed the Beagle Channel in a small boat, stopping a couple of times each day to land on the islands. Even though you will be sailing through the Beagle Channel on your way to Antarctica, I would recommend a day trip in a small boat, landing at least once so that you can walk in the rainforest, and see the wildlife of these more temperate parts up close (dolphins, seals, penguins).


Have a great trip! - when will you be there?

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Fiona, Thanks for your helpful response! I had given up hope. I will contact the company you recommended. We will be in Ushuaia in November prior to our Quark Antarctica cruise and yes, we have been to Ushuaia before but for just one day. We did a number of the things you mentioned already - the train, the Rumbo Sur boat trip, and scouting (quickly) out the town. The Estancia sounds interesting and we plan to do the cable car and we'd be up for another boat trip. What company did you use that let you land on some of the islands, because the particular one we were on did not, and I'd like to land. Also, what hotel did you stay in? Quark is putting us in Albatros, which is right near the dock, and since it only makes sense to do so we booked our other night there as well. Any restaurants you could recommend? What cruise line is Orion affiliated with? Thanks again for the info.

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oops! website is canalfun.com. (no".ar" at the end) really sorry for any confusion. I am dealing with Esteban there, who is really nice and prompt on emails. one slight warning - their email address definitely works, but the form on their website is a bit tricky. I would just email them at mail@canalfun.com. They have sent me a word document with their 2004/05 trips and it is slightly different from the ones on the web, so I would ask for that. Prices are in Argentinian pesos, but use the US$ sign, so a bit alarming until you realise that!


We are traveling independently to Ushuaia so we will meet our cruisemates a day later acutally on hte boat, rather than using the night in BA and a group charter flight. Hotels have been v. difficult to arrange - we are staying again in del Glaciar - the only one with room - which tells you a lot! I think Albatross is their sister hotel, in which case you may be able to use the free shuttle the other way up the mountain. (ie 2/3 way to the glacier) Hotel del Glaciar is OK and may have improved, it was just a bit dirty and staff were a bit rude. It would have been fine at a lower price.


We joined the Terra Australis for a 3.5 day cruise from Ushuaia to Punta Arenas and so landed twice a day on the uninhabited bits oif tierra del fuego and got up close and personal with so many glaciers.... A wonderful cruise that I would really recommend. People on the boat said it was better than Alaska for scenery and that the fact we were the only boat except for a couple of sail yachts one day was just wonderful (keep using that word) I woke up on 02/02/02 - my 40th birthday- outside a penguin sanctuary and felt truly lucky to be alive.



Canalfun has two trips that combine the Estancia Harberton with a zodiac ride to Gable Island where tehre is an optional (I checked) 3 hour hike around the island, and you also visit a penguin island but it is a nature reserve so you don't get off the boat. I have done lots of research over the past 3 m,onths and they are the only company I have found that offers anything outside teh usual stuff.


Restaurants - we were 2.5 weeks into a 4 week trip so we mostly ate simply in the hotel. Volver is one I remember - great king crab dishes - and it is opposite teh commercial port so with a window seat you get to see the awesome trawlers I mentioned. Tia Elvira gets good reviews, and we want to try it this time. Please post any recommendations when you get back, for us to try in late December. We had a great tea at teh Cabana tearooms just below the cable car. Wonderful cakes and cookies and the most helpful and charming service. Also, I have heard that hotel Tolkeyen outside town does the best lamb barbecues and that Las Hayas (up the glacier road) has the best gourmet restaurant.


Cruise company - Orion is operated by Travel Dynamics International, but we are going on a charter by a US company Olivia.com, which organises cruises and club med charters for women only holidays.


I would love to know how your trip goes and what you would recommend for us - restaurants, cafes, feedback on Canalfun, etc etc.


Have a great trip,



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  • 3 weeks later...

Hey Fiona! Finally getting to follow thru on all the great information you provided. Everything you've said has been right on! It was great that you mentioned that the prices are in Argentinian pesos because I did do a gasp at first. I received an extremely prompt reply from Esteban too, with the tours you mentioned. The Haberton one interests me the most as well but tell me before I make a fool out of myself with him that you're sure you don't have to do the three mile hike. Can you tell me what you DO do instead? It seems that all the options involve a lot of hiking - up my husband's alley but not mine! I'd like to do the Patagonian sailing option also but that one involves hiking too. Do you have any information about that one? Just thought I'd touch bases with you before getting back to him. Thanks again for the recommendation!

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I asked Esteban about skipping the three mile hike and he said it was possible as it is a circular hike. I think those left behind would just stay and look at the sea (or write or sketch - which is what my travelling companion will probably do). I don't think they would put anything special on.


I sent a very long email to Esteban that was very frank about our fitness abilities and sizes and asked him upfront whether he thought the trips would be suitable. He mailed back to say that they would be suitable and that I had made it very easy for him to work with me. I really get the feeling that although they are all young fit guys who could sprint up glaciers, they are used to working with unfit city types (hope so, anyway!). He is also arranging a private tour for our last day to ensure that we don't leave the main island and that we are back in town in good time to join our ship. One thing he has suggested is to drive intothe National Park and see some of the things that aren't usually included in a standard tour. Maybe something like that would be good for you and your husband. I would encourage you to share yoiur concerns with him and see what he can suggest. EG there are some refugios in the park or there is the town of Tolhuin near one of the lakes. Perhaps he could arrange a day trip where for a couple of hours your husband goes hiking and you are left at a refugio or in town so that you can have a coffee or look around. That's what Caro and I do.


Did you see that there are two Harberton trips? one where you are driven there and one where you kayak down a river. The kayaking looks like it is mostly floating downstream and we are going to do that one.


Are you interested in the 4x4 trip - don't dismiss it until you have watched the flash animation on their website. It is SO funny.

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Fiona, I wish we were on the same cruise! You are too funny and you are SO on the same page as we are. So much so that if you don't mind sharing I'd love to hear more about what you have planned for your embarkation day because it probably would be perfect for us as well (I don't know our embarkation time yet, however). No, I haven't ruled anything out yet. The 4x4 sounds interesting and so do both Harberton excursions. I'm going to have to do some serious work & e-mail Esteban as you did. I love what you said about envisioning them as these young fit guys sprinting up glaciers - and, in my mind at least, having the same expectations about me! NOT! If you want to e-mail me directly so we can laugh more about this scenario, try sfalkland-travel at yahoo dot com (you know what to do to make that address work). P.S. That link you posted in your last message

doesn't work??

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