Exploring the Chilean Patagonia, Punta Arenas, is definitely a unique experience. The World’s southernmost city is home to fishermen, business people, and sheep farmers, and all outdoor enthusiasts love this place. The spectacular views of the remote icy continent of Antarctica are accessible and so are the Chilean fjords. The endless contrasts and the beautiful scenaries are some of our planet’s most impressive!
Punta Arenas is a capital city of the Magellan’s and Chilean Antarctic region in Brunswick Peninsula. It is said to be the southernmost city on earth and it is ranging from Cordillera del Paine in the North to Cape Horn in the South. The Magellan’s region is known to be the Chilean Patagonia with really unique nature to explore. Punta Arenas is about 1418 km from the coast of Antarctica, so if you want to hear the ice cracking and breaking, take a boat ride!
Punta Arenas has been called the city of red roofs, because of the metal red colored roofs that used to be so characteristic to this city. Nowadays, the image is more colorful. One of the most important harbors in Chile is located in Punta Arenas and you can find some interesting stuff about the naval history of the city in the museum of Museum Naval y Marítimo.
The Plaza de Armas, also called Plaza Muñoz Gamero, is the center of the city. Most of the accommodation options are nearby this Plaza. You’ll be able to find some really nice restaurants with good Chilean food; try some centolla – King crab and other regional fresh fish dishes, you won’t be disappointed. There’s also better nightlife than you would expect, so get ready for barhopping.
Mirador Cerro de la Cruz is not far away from the main square. There’s a great view to the city and in the horizon you can see the island Tierra del Fuego, Mount Sarmiento and the south area of Brunswick peninsula.
Check out the Monumento Natural Los Pingüinos where a colony of 50 000 breeding pairs live! To see this magnificent site, you’ll have to get on a ferry boat to Isla Magdalena in the Sound of Magellan. This is definitely a paradise for wildlife lovers. And are you hungry for penguin sites? Head to Seno de Otway located about 70km from Punta Arenas to see even more penguin breeding grounds.
The Alberto De Agostini National Park is one of the largest protected areas in the country. This area with glaciers and fjords includes the Darwin Mountain Range and the Beagle Channel. You can sail along the channel and watch the shimmering glaciers inlets. Pampa Guanaco is another site to see in the park offering a treat for those interested in fishing. There’s plenty of wildlife to be observed in the park; you’ll see some sea lions rubbing shoulders with elephant seals and sea otters, called “chungungos”. Flora is diverse and e.g. the cinnamon trees grow on the steep cliffs.
Punta Reserva Forestal Magallanes is great for outdoor enthusiast (like the whole country itself!). It offers a nice variety of mountain-biking and trekking trails. You can hike all the way up to the Cerro Mirador also called Mt Fenton and you won’t be disappointed by the opening views, which are superb. In case you don’t feel like walking, you can take a chairlift to the top. You can take a horse riding trip to Mount Fenton. This is also for beginners!
For those who are eager for more adventures there’s a variety of things to do. Here’s one idea: from Puerto Natales you travel to Torres del Paine National Park where you make your journey to the Grey Glacier. This is a real natural wonder and walking on the glacier is an unforgettable sensation; the panoramic views won’t leave you cold! During this expedition, you’ll be using some ice axes for ice climbing as you make your way on the cracking ice walls. There’s good hiking trail network in Torres del Paine but for the longer hikes you need to bring a tent and carry all food with you. Torres del Paine itself is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a destination to many travelers. Make sure you’ll have at least a couple of days to spend in this tremendous park.
Punta Arenas is often a jumping-off point for Antarctic expeditions so you’ll definitely hear some exciting travel stories in pubs… beware, you might end up making this ultimate journey as well!
And don’t miss an opportunity to visit a Chilean sheep farm. On many of these 'estancias' you can also try your riding skills with the 'gauchos'.
January and February are the busiest summer months, while July and August are colder wintertime.
Punta Arenas is easy to navigate by walking around. The taxis are a bit more expensive than local busses, but much faster. Renting a car might also be a convenient way to move around.
There is no specific central bus station in the city. Instead all the bus companies have their own places. You can travel by bus to El Calafate, Coyhaique (takes a whole day), Puerto Montt (over a day’s trip), Río Gallegos, Puerto Natales, Ushuaia and Río Grande.
It’s possible to fly between Santiago and Punta Arenas. There are also flights to Falkland Islands, Porvenir, Puerto Williams, Ushuaia, Río Grande. You can also sail to Tierra del Fuego and Porvenir.
When packing your backpack, note the heavily changing weather in Chile and Punta Arenas, as it is fluctuating from extremely cold wind to burning sunlight.
Locate the perfect hostel, the best and cheapest flight and exciting adventures here.