Sunday, January 24, 2016

Ushuaia, Argentina

Ushuaia- the southernmost city on earth was our second stop in Argentina. Main purpose here was to see the penguins. Original plan was to see the penguins in Puerto Madryn. But logistic wise, it's a shorter flight from El Calafate to Ushuaia than to Puerto Madryn. I'm glad we chose Ushuaia as we get to see 2 different species of penguins- Magellan and the Gentoos. Ushuaia is a city surrounded by snowy mountains and clean fresh air. A little more industrialized but still a beautiful place. We felt safe in Ushuaia as locals and tourists alike were friendly and helpful. We asked for directions a few times and people were very willing to walk us to where we were headed.

Beagle channel views out of our room at Arakur Resort- located 15 minutes away from downtown Ushuaia with free hourly shuttle bus to town and back. Excellent resort with heated outdoor swimming pool. 

                                                    Downtown Ushuaia at night.

The Magellans swimming and sunbathing on the beach. A playful bunch, indeed. Went with Pira Tours for the penguin tour. Pre-booked online by email 2 months before we left for Argentina. Spaces are limited as only a handful of tourists are allowed on the tour per regulations. All tourists must take their shuttle bus from town to Harburton Estancia which was an uneventful 1 1/2 hours drive. From the estancia, we took a 15 min boat ride to Isla Martillo. We went for the morning tour with little windy and the sun was out. We were told to keep 3 meters away from the penguins at all time as to not disturb them. Our guide was very strict about this rule.

Happy feet. Actually, he/she was trying to scratch his/her head. I was told by our guide that the females are smaller compared to the males. But then again, I can't really tell their size.
The cutest Gentoos I have ever seen as they wobble up and down the hill picking up twigs, stones and whatnot from the beach to build their nests or try to attract a female partner.
A couple taking turns roosting their egg. penguins are monogamous and partners for life. If the female died first, the male will soon follow. But, if the male died first, the female will take another partner.

Gentoos tend to have their rookery above ground while the Magellans have theirs burrowed underground. Interesting fact is the 2 do not mix together. They stick to their own group.

                                                      More birds of Isla Martillo.

Chile as seen from the the Argentina's side of Tierra del Fuego National Park. Hired a remis from our hotel for 1200 pesos and spent half a day in the park.
                                               Crystal clear water of Ensenada Bay.
The locals call this "indian bread" or wild mushrooms growing on trees. Supposed to be soft and sweet once ripe which  usually happens in December or January. I took a bite out of one and it was tasteless. I think it will be good in stews.

The southernmost post office inside the national park. Paid US$5 to mail a postcard home and it arrived a week after we got back from Argentina.
The southernmost church inside the park- a tiny church which serves as a venue for intimate weddings.

Chilean mountains as seen from Lapataia Bay which signals the end of Route 3 on the Argentinean side.

Maritime museum- a collection of memorabilia paying tribute to the maritime history of the region. Left with a heavy heart after reading the hardships that had to be endured for survival in the region many years ago and many paid the ultimate price.

I miss Kaupe Restaurant's king crab crepes in saffron sauce. I declare it the best meal we had in our 2 weeks tour of Argentina. Sweet and natural king crab filling stuffed in thin, soft crepes. Just heavenly. The restaurant is located about 10 minutes uphill walk from the waterfront with wonderful views of the Beagle Channel.
White warehou ceviche- a bit different than any of the ceviches i had ever had, sourish but refreshing
King crab in papillote sauce, creamy and spicy. Would love some bread to soak up all the sauces.
Paper wrapped patagonia seabass in creamy sauce- simple, tender and melt in your mouth deliciousness.
                                           Orange sorbet to finish off our lunch.

Natural steamed king crab at La Cantina Fuegina de Freddy. Sweet, juicy and not too salty with just a little butter and lemon. $80 usd for the whole crab and we were stuffed with just the crab and a salad. Steamed king crab is the best way to enjoy its natural flavors. Any other way of eating the crabs spoils its sweet flavors.

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