USHUAIA, the provincial capital and hub of tourism for the whole of Tierra del Fuego, lies in the far south of Isla Grande. Dramatically situated between the mountains – amongst them Cerro Martial and Monte Olivia – and the sea, the town tumbles, rather chaotically, down the hillside to the encircling arm of land that protects its bay from the southwesterly winds and occasional thrashing storms of the icy Beagle Channel. Ushuaia is primarily a convenient base for exploring the rugged beauty of the lands that border the channel, a historically important sea passage, but be warned that it exploits tourism to the full – prices can be high, but services are usually of a correspondingly good standard. Puerto Williams lies just across the channel, on the southern (Chilean) side of the straits, and there are other trips, too: to historic Estancia Harberton, and to Bahía Lapataia in Parque Nacional Tierra del Fuego. In winter, there's decent skiing in the Sierra Alvear region north of town; this area, along with neighbouring Sierra Valdivieso and Chile's Isla Navarino, are also the places to head for if you're looking for physically challenging trekking.
Every year on June 21 – the longest night of the year – the Bajada de Las Antorchas takes place, with the darkness celebrated by a torchlit ski descent of Cerro Martial's slopes, traditionally opening the season. Daylight lasts from about 9am till 4pm at this time of year. In mid-November, the town hosts the Ushuaia Jazz Festival, and between Christmas and New Year the municipality organizes various events, including live concerts, often with nationally famous bands.