Martial Glacier Shore Excursion – On Our Own
For my second visit to Ushuaia, I chose something less typical. We did our own Martial Glacier Shore Excursion. We caught a cab beside the Visitor Information Center at the pier. They didn’t speak English, but the name of the glacier and a US $10 make an international language. The ride was about 15 minutes to the base of Martial Glacier trail. The trail overlooks the city below. The chairlift to the base of the small glacier was not operating this day. We weren’t sure if that was because of holidays or not.
Martial Glacier Shore Excursion – Hiking
The lack of chairlift made it a 2 hour round trip to reach the ice surface. The hike was steep and the scenery was beautiful. A trail wound through trees along a glacial stream alongside the chairlift towers. Above the tree line we eventually hiked over patches of ice. At the junction of two glacial valleys, we stopped because hiking boots were necessary to ford a small creek cutting through the ice. Several locals continued up both valleys. One couple attempted to slide down the ice surface, but the surface was too soft to keep them moving.
On the way back, cabs were waiting at the base of the trail. We easily returned to the port for $10 US. The cab drivers only spoke Spanish, but the flash of a $10 bill was all that was necessary. In town we walked along the main tourist street and also down to the waterfront street of Maripu to see the Malvinas memorial.
After lunch on shipboard, I walked back downtown and visited the Yamana Museum. This small three room display of aboriginal life was overpriced at $10 US per person. They had an interesting 20 minute video of natives building shelters. The Yamana made bow and arrows from trees and guanaco sinew. A few harpoons and arrow heads were on display. The Yamana were one of 4 tribes in Tierra del Fuego and each tribe looked genetically different and had very different hair styles. The tribes often did not wear clothes because of the extremely wet conditions. Instead they coated themselves in grease while outside or huddled by fires in their brush shelters. These tribes have only a handful of documented descendants. The museum is a heartfelt attempt to preserve the memory of these unique people.
Next stop on the Oceania Marina itinerary, Puerto Montt Shore Excursion