The only place in the world where the waters of the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans meet, Cape Horn’s history is steeped in the legends of hundreds of sailors who set out upon its waters in search of the planet’s southernmost point. The park is home to a surprising diversity of marine birds, among them the Southern Giant Petrel, and also provides a habitat for sub-Antarctic forests, which grow short and squat to adapt to the gale-force winds. The park is located in the Wolaston Archipelago, in the Hermite Islands complex, and was declared a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve. This designation also protects 7,331,706 acres of sea, making it the first protected wild area in Chile that includes both land and marine ecosystems.

Can’t Miss

  • Take in the vastness of the Drake Sea, which can be crossed in a voyage of 2 days that ends in the Antarctic.
  • Visit the statue of the «Albatros Errante,» sculpted in 1992 to memorialize the men who lost their lives attempting to reach Cape Horn. Since the beginning of recorded maritime history, there have been more than 700 shipwrecks in the area.
  • Visit the Hornos Lighthouse, the Mayor’s Office, and its small chapel.
  • The Pirámide peak is the highest point in the park, at 1,332 feet above sea level.

Open

October to April

Area

155,906 acres

Climate

Rainy and cold temperate climate

Rainfall

24 inches annually

Ecosystem

Peat bogs and Cape Horn cold desert

Founded

April 26, 1945

“Mother rock, father ice, your weeping rests in the snowdrifts and each star perches on your white peak, lighting the path of silence”,

Rubén Patagonia.

Flora

The park is home to the southernmost forest on the planet, featuring one-of-a-kind sub-Antarctic forests, a habitat for species such as Canelos, Coigües, and Ñirres, which grow sturdy and squat to adapt to winds of up to 93 miles/hour. Peat bogs also cover a large portion of the island’s surface. Over 400 species of Moss and 300 species of Liverworts can be found in the park––a plant world in miniature that helps make Cape Horn a renowned icon of biodiversity.

Fauna

One of the park’s most emblematic inhabitants is the Albatross, its largest flying species, with an adult wingspan that can reach up to 11.5 feet. The park is also home to Southern Giant Petrels, Magellanic Penguins, and a large diversity of marine fauna, including Southern Elephant Seals, Southern Right Whales, Peale’s Dolphins, Chilean Dolphins, Chungungos (Marine Otters), and bird species such as the Fío Fío (White-Crested Elaenia).

Culture

The Yámanas people were the world’s southernmost inhabitants, fishermen and gatherers who sailed the Beagle Channel to the north, the Brecknock Peninsula to the west, and Cape Horn to the south. They rowed in 16-foot-long canoes made from Coigüe bark, with sails made from the skin of sea lions. The watercraft were sturdy enough that they could light fires while aboard. The women dived in the cold waters, hunting for urchins and crabs. The Yámanas people also had a rich language: in 1933, the missionary Thomas Bridges published a Yámana-English dictionary, which contained more than 30,000 words. Orundellico, or Jemmy Button, was a Yáman man who sailed with Fitz Roy and Charles Darwin.

infrastructure

  • Bathrooms
  • Lodging
  • Camping
  • Restaurants
  • Information Center
  • Trails
  • Trekking Circuits
  • Picnic Area

How to Get There

There is no land access to the park.

Cabo de Hornos National Park is a 12-hour voyage from Puerto Williams. The archipelago has only two authorized ports (Puerto Maxwell in the Hermite Islands and Caleta Martial on Isla Herschel) and only certain types of boats are permitted to dock.

In Punta Arenas, cruises are available, taking passengers to and from Cape Horn in a round-trip visit that lasts 7 days, during which you’ll visit part of the park.

LATAM and Sky Airlines offer daily flights to Punta Arenas. From Punta Arenas, you can take a ferry (www.tabsa.cl) or a flight on DAP Airlines to reach Puerto Williams, the city closest to the park. You can get to Cape Horn from Puerto Williams via private flight or by boat, the latter a voyage of roughly 12 hours.

Trails

Faro de Hornos Trail

  • Difficulty

    Low

  • Duration

    1 hour (out and back)

  • Distance

    2,395 feet (one way)

  • Open

    October to April

This trail begins at the pier and ends at the mayor’s office and the Monument to the Sailor.

Starting Point: Pier

Tips

  • Strong winds are common on the island and can reach up to 93 miles/hour. Bring a windbreaker, sunglasses with cords, and a well-fitted hat.
  • The rainiest month is March, during which there is an average rainfall of 5.4 inches.
  • We suggest bringing a small magnifying glass to enjoy the «miniature forests» and get an up-close view of the diverse species of Moss and Lichen.
  • The average yearly temperature is between 41 and 45 degrees F.
  • From October to April, expedition cruises are available from Punta Arenas to Ushuaia. The cruises dock in Cape Horn, weather permitting. There are also voyages available from Punta Arenas, a trip of 7 days total (http://www.australis.com/mp/).

Suggested trips

Copyright 2018 Ruta de los Parques de la Patagonia

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