Beneath the Martial range’s serrated spires, on the Beagle Channel’s north shore, the city of Ushuaia is both an end (the virtual terminus of the world’s southernmost highway) and a beginning (the gateway to Antarctica). The surrounding countryside attracts activities-oriented visitors for hiking, mountain biking, fishing, and skiing. In the summer season, the city gets hundreds of thousands of visitors, many of them merely day-trippers from the hundreds of cruise ships that anchor here.
After more than two decades of economic growth and physical sprawl, the provincial capital is both declining and improving. On the one hand, the duty-free manufacturing, fishing, and tourist boom that transformed a onetime penal colony and naval base into a bustling city has weakened. On the other, it has spruced up the waterfront and restored historic buildings, some of them becoming hotels or B&Bs.
The streets are cleaner (though Avenida San Martín is tourist-trap ugly) and there are more parks, plazas, and green spaces. Still, Ushuaia has particulate pollution problems because high winds kick up dust in its unpaved newer neighborhoods.
Ushuaia has air links to Buenos Aires  and intermediate points, and improving overland transportation from mainland Argentina and from Chile. Maritime transportation is either tenuous or expensive.
By Air: Aerolíneas Argentinas (Maipú 823, tel. 02901/42-1218), Chilean carrier LAN, and LADE (Avenida San Martín 564, Local 5, tel. 02901/42-1123) service Ushuaia by air. For Puerto Williams , across the Beagle Channel in Chile, it may be possible to arrange a private charter through the Aeroclub Ushuaia (tel. 02901/42-1717 or 02901/42-1892, www.aeroclubushuaia.org.ar ).
By Bus: At the foot of Juana Fadul, a new parking area now serves as a bus station, even though companies have their offices elsewhere. Lider (Gobernador Paz 921, tel. 02901/43-6421), Transportes Montiel (Deloqui 110, tel. 02901/42-1366), and Tecni-Austral (represented by Tolkar Turismo, Roca 157, tel. 02901/43-1408) are your best options for getting around by bus.
By Sea: The Chilean cruisers MV Mare Australis and MV Via Australis offer luxury sightseeing cruises to Puerto Williams, Cape Horn, and through the fjords of Chilean Tierra del Fuego to Punta Arenas ; while not intended as simple transportation, they can serve that purpose for those who can afford them. These cruises are usually booked far in advance, but on occasion—normally just before Christmas—it may be possible to make on-the-spot arrangements.
Ushuaia Boating (Godoy 190, tel. 02901/43-6193, www.ushuaiaboating.com.ar ) occasionally shuttles passengers across the channel to Puerto Navarino and then overland to Puerto Williams (2 hours; US$130 pp, US$240 round-trip).