If you’re heading to Ushuaia, Argentina, spending at least a half day on the Beagle Channel is a must. There are many species of birds as well as sea lions to be seen and some outstanding views of Ushuaia. And there are many different companies offering boat tours of the Beagle Channel. However, there is only one who offers the option to take you out in a sailboat – Tres Marias Excursiones.
Why choose a sailing tour? I chose this one simply because it was different. All the tours are offering the same views, birds and sea lions…but experiencing it from a sailboat is a very different experience. Until I took this tour I had never been sailing. So, I was very excited about this experience!
For this post, I’ll share what to expect, how to dress, and my honest thoughts on the adventure. I’ll also be happy to answer any questions you have in the comments section. Enjoy!
What to Expect When Sailing The Beagle Channel
Because there is only one company offering the sailboat experience, I suspect most experiences will be similar to mine….You’ll start the day meeting at Tres Marias Excursiones. (It’s less windy and cold if you go in the morning – FYI.) Tres Marias Excursiones also had mate out for us to sip while we waited for the rest of our group to arrive. (Click here if you’ve never heard of mate!)
You’ll then be asked to pay for your port tax before heading to the docks. (This costs 20 pesos a person – smaller bills are appreciated.) Then, you’ll head to your sailboat, where the captain and his mate will help you climb onto the sailboat. (Rain gear is also provided if your clothes aren’t waterproof…life jackets are also provided.)
You’ll be asked to get situated and sit down. And then… you’re off! Check out the first few moments of our sailing trip in the video below.
You’ll sail for a couple hours and admire the views…as well as see several bird colonies and a sea lion colony. (Click on the photos below, to make them full-sized.)
You’ll then arrive at Bridges Island for a short trek. You’ll get to see even more different species of birds, some fabulous views of Ushuaia (weather permitting) and your captain will explain the different types of plants that grow on the island and even let you eat some of the berries growing on the island.
FYI – If you’re like me, though, and not a big fan of heights or climbing rocks…there’s going to be a slightly scary moment where you need to climb out of the sailboat and up some rocks to get to Bridges Island. The captain was there to help and make sure everyone was safe, but if you’re a big chicken like me, just be mentally prepared for that, haha.
Bridges Island photos
After your trek around Bridges Island, you’ll head back to the sailboat and head inside for snacks and hot coffee and tea. It’s up to you if you want to stay inside or head back out for more views. However, we were all freezing by this point and stayed inside the sailboat until we got back to Ushuaia!
What to Wear
Which leads me to the next part of this post…wear the warmest clothes you have along for this trip! It’s going to be cold, windy and you’ll likely get splashed at some point, so wear water/wind resistant clothing. (But again, rain gear is also provided as well as life jackets.)
I did not dress warm enough for this sailing adventure. I only had along my windbreaker for a jacket, a winter coat would’ve been better. I survived, but I wasn’t as comfortable as my husband was in his winter coat. Otherwise, I was happy with what I wore. Here is what I would suggest to wear.
My Honest Thoughts on the Experience
I am very happy we chose to do this sailing tour! It was a unique way to experience the Beagle Channel and it was a “first” for me as I had never been on a sailboat before. The crew was amazing and very helpful and nice throughout the 4-5 hour tour. (Be sure to leave them a tip!)
However, that being said, I don’t think I ever need to go sailing again. It’s just not for me. So, if you already know you’re not the biggest fan of sailing, opt for a boat tour instead. You’ll be seeing the same views, just from the comfort of a heated boat tour! I also wouldn’t say this was the *best* part of Ushuaia. I loved seeing the penguins and hiking in Tierra del Fuego National Park. This was great for us because we had the time, but if we were on a shorter time schedule, this would’ve been the activity I would’ve chose not to do (hiking and penguins were way cooler to me).
The thoughts above were in no way a reflection of the tour company, though! They were fantastic!
*Click here to book online (specify whether you want the sailing or boating option, though) or click here for the Tres Marias Excursiones website. (We had purchased our tickets right from the tourist dock when we arrived in Ushuaia, though. It’s up to you whether you book in advance or purchase in person. I think either way would work fine.)
Have you ever been sailing? Or would you like to try it one day? Let me know in the comments!
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