I was in two minds about visiting Ushuaia and solely because of the expensive bus tickets (Why else would you not want to go to a new place?) and of course the cost of staying for a day or two in Ushuaia itself was way over my budget. I spoke to a lot of people and eventually decided to go as I really wanted to go there (For no good reason though). Antarctica was too much but I could make it to Ushuaia. Where did Antarctica come into the picture you ask?
Well, Ushuaia is the closest town from Antarctica and upon knowing this I really wanted to go there. It’s also the cheapest way to reach Antarctica. There are many companies offering a trip to Antarctica from Ushuaia. It was one of the plans before I finalized on 5 countries in South America (This plan changed too on the road though).
The bus ticket turned out to be cheaper than my last two long bus rides (ARS 1050) so I decided to go for it and put an end to my confusion. My friends had gifted me a trip to any place I really wanted to go. I used that money to buy my ticket.
The bus was at 3 a.m. from El Calafate. I was not worried at all as I have good ability to stay up all night and take flights or buses at odd hours to save some money.
I reached bus terminal at around midnight. My friend had accompanied me from the hostel but left soon, as we have had a long day and he wanted to catch up on his sleep.
I positioned myself to take a nap. By positioning, I mean both my bags were latched to me in a way that I would know of any fidgeting with them even while I was sleeping. That’s some core Science usage I know.
I woke up multiple times to check the time. When I couldn’t hear anything, I told myself the bus is late. It must be coming from El Chaltén. Usually, in every bus terminal, they make an announcement when the bus comes but this was a really small terminal. I did not expect things to be any different, only they were.
I woke up again at around 5 a.m. and I immediately knew I’ve missed my bus. The buses in Argentina cannot be that late. I was too mad at myself. I just brushed my teeth and left the bus station to start hitchhiking. There was no way I was not going to Ushuaia after spending that much money (esp., because it was my friends hard- earned money). Also, I knew the bus was going to stop at Rio Gallegos for about an hour and depart from there at 9 a.m. Rio Gallegos is about 3.5 hours from El Calafate.
I got my first ride pretty quick (Within 20 minutes of leaving the terminal) but the second ride took quite long (About an hour). It was a deserted road with hardly any vehicles passing. I eventually got a ride in a mini bus. I reached Rio Gallegos at around 9:40 a.m. I had missed my bus again. The ticket operator offered me a second ticket for half the price for next day but I refused. I neither wanted to spend more money on reaching Ushuaia nor did I want to spend another hour in that middle of nowhere place ‘Rio Gallegos’.
I started hitchhiking again. It took me two rides to just get out of the city.
Hitchhiking tip: Get out of the city first thing to get a ride.
The 5th car that stopped was one I had not even put my thumb out for as I could see it was full. There was a family inside. They asked me where are am I headed. I replied, ‘Ushuaia’. They responded with ‘We too, come on in’. Can you believe that? Over 550 km away from the place, I get a ride directly to the final destination. I felt blessed. Soon after I joined them, I started raining really bad. That reminds me why I didn’t hitchhike instead of opting for the bus. Because the weather had been really bad and the forecasts said it was going to rain for a couple of more days.
At around 9 p.m. I was in Ushuaia. Almost the time when the bus was going to reach. Soon, I found a hostel as well which was another blessing as most of the hostels were full owing to last minute cancellation of a lot of flights.
I was really hungry but had nothing to cook, Went to the kitchen to make myself some sandwiches. As I took the first bite off my cheese sandwich and made a face, a guy approached me with a smile and invited me to join their table and share the extra food they had. It didn’t take much to notice, I was not enjoying my food at all. I thanked them with all my heart for the food after the long day that I’ve had. They were all ears to hear my story and I was happy to be among travelers again.
Do you have any interesting story about reaching a place you really wanted to? Where maybe the journey became more important than the place itself?
10 thoughts on “How I hitchhiked my way to the end of the world – Ushuaia”
Awesome post. Quite a journey you had. Kudos to your grit determination!
Thank you 🙂 It was quite a journey.
It was quite a daring task. End of the day that is what life is. Venturing the unknowns into the dark. Keep enjoying.
That’s true. Everything in life comes with a bit of risk.
You enjoy your trip as well 🙂
Hi just stumbled onto your blog and its the inspiration I needed. Im heading to Argentina in a month. . An impulsive cheap flight. So with not much time my budget is tiny. Planning to hitch & camp (found a good camp app for Argentina) so how safe was it solo hitchhiking and easy to get rides??? Any top spots u recommend??? My rough plan is far south to Valdez over to Barioloche up to Tilcara via Mendoza. Any tips be much appreciated. And ill continue reading some more
Hey, Thanks for reading the posts. I’m glad they could help. Argentina is a very expensive country but if hitchhike, cook your meals, and camp it could actually be the cheapest. I found Argentina to be extremely safe for hitchhiking. Met lot of people who did it but yeah didn’t meet any solo female traveler doing it apart from me. Some route are difficult to hitchhike because of lack of vehicle frequency there like Ruta 40. You have to be patient but rides always came through. I see you are not going to El Calafate, the route between Bariloche and El Calafate would be one the most difficult route to hitchhike. I was told my many people not to hitchhike in the north coz it’s more dangerous. I had to at times because I couldn’t wait for some buses. I was fine. But the buses there are very cheap compared to rest of Argentina, So you really need not hitchhike there. My tips would be – Get out of the city first thing to start hitchhiking, Stop at a place where there’s enough place for a car to stop ahead of you, Start really early in the morning, Carry snacks, Try for trucks (they always stop). Let me know if you have more questions. I would love to help.
Thanks for the tips. Yes as I got closer to leaving ill let you know otherwise ill keep following your fabulous story. I love the blogging world to see other girls out there solo travelling and getting off the beaten track. Thank you
Yeah, It’s still the clean forum I feel. Everything else is getting more pretentious with each day.
Good luck with planning 🙂 You would have a great time there! With your experience of traveling, you’re going to be good.
Wow, you are so brave! What an amazing journey.
Thank you so much. Motivating words like these always help 🙂