Porvenir is the main city of Tierra del Fuego––the largest island in South America––and was long home to several ethnic groups, including the Selknam, who were excellent warriors, experienced hunters, experts in trail-finding, and among the continent’s tallest native peoples, with an average height of 5 feet, 11 inches. Another group, the Haush people, lived in the Mitre Peninsula. The Haush were expert climbers and, at nighttime, used leather ropes to sneak along the tall cliffs and catch sleeping birds by surprise. Finally, the Yámanas people rowed along the coastlines and in the channels. The Yámanas also were responsible for creating the only cave paintings that have been discovered in Tierra del Fuego.

Porvenir was founded in June 20, 1894, and the town’s first inhabitants––mostly immigrants from Croatia, Yugoslavia, and Chiloé––came to the area during the gold rush. The Tierra del Fuego Exploitation Society founded large cattle ranches in the area, now declared National Historical Monuments. More recently, Tierra del Fuego’s economy has been linked to the development of the oil industry.

Lodging, Food, and Activities

Porvenir’s tourist offerings include hotels, restaurants, and basic services. For more information, go to:

Region

Porvenir

Province

Tierra del Fuego

Population

5.465

Climate and Rainfall

-

Nearest National Park(s)

Alberto de Agostini National Park

Parque Nacional Yendegaia

Cabo de Hornos National Park

Pali Aike National Park

Don’t Miss

  • Visit the Selknam Plaza, which features several concrete sculptures by local artist Richard Yasic.
  • Immerse yourself in the Baquedano range and explore the Gold Route, a 71-mile route with a beautiful view of the Strait of Magellan. The route helps to tell the story of the prospectors who came to the island searching for gold.
  • Visit the Fernando Cordero Rusque Museum, which features interesting archeological and anthropological exhibits.
  • Go to the municipal cemetery, where you’ll find the settlers’ mausoleums.
  • Walk to the plaza de armas (town square) and the San Francisco de Sales Church, which was built at the end of the 19th century.
  • Visit the Banderas Plaza, the Croata Park, the Del Recuerdo Park, and the Mirador Hill, for beautiful views of the city and the bay.
  • Visit the lighthouse, which is located 5 miles from Porvenir, in the Chilota Bay sector, and has gorgeous views of the Strait of Magellan.
  • Relax in Caleta María, where you can see Cape Froward, the Boquerón Massif, and Mount Sarmiento.
  • Travel 4 miles north of Porvenir to the Laguna de Los Cisnes Natural Monument, where you’ll find flamingo colonies and the Serrano and Deseada Lagoons.
  • Take the historical and architectural tours, where you can learn about the first buildings in the city, dating back to 1910.
  • Travel 70 miles south of Porvenir to Pingüino Rey Park, where you can appreciate––from a distance––the only colony of this species of penguin in all South America.
  • Travel 63 miles south of Porvenir to visit the old Caleta Josefina ranch, which was founded in 1883 by the Tierra del Fuego Exploitation Society. Some buildings have been conserved. In the area, you can also visit the Onaisin Cemetery, which has been declared a National Monument, along with Port Nuevo.

How to get

You can rent a car in Punta Arenas and cross from Tres Puentes to Porvenir in a ferry that runs Tuesdays through Sundays. Remember to check the schedule and reserve your spot beforehand at www.tabsa.cl

See here map of the province of Tierra del Fuego

Pullman buses run daily between Punta Arenas and Cerro Sombrero. At Cerro Sombrero, you can take one of the local buses to Porvenir. They run Mondays through Fridays.

Ferries run from Tres Puentes––3 miles from Punta Arenas––to Chilota Bay. The route takes around 2 hours.

You can also cross at Punta Delgada, which is located 105 miles from Punta Arenas along Route CH-225. The ferry takes around 20 minute and docks at Cerro Sombrero. From Cerro Sombrero, you’ll need to drive 75 miles on Route Y-65 to arrive at Porvenir.

Dap Airlines offers 15-minute flights from Punta Arenas to Porvenir, Mondays through Saturdays (http://dapairline.com)

Tips

  • See here map of the province of Tierra del Fuego
  • The median temperature in Porvenir is 43.5 degrees Fahrenheit during the year, with a low of 30 degrees Fahrenheit and a high of 80 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • During high season, there are additional ferries running to Porvenir, with two options for the return trip. Check schedules at: http://www.tabsa.cl/portal/index.php/es/servicios/3-cruce-p-arenas-porvenir.
  • There is a pharmacy.
  • Remember to tank gas in Porvenir before exploring the island.
  • Pingüino Rey Park is open Tuesdays through Sundays, 11:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., and you’ll need to organize your visit in advance at: www.parquepinguinorey.cl.
  • The Porvenir Aerodrome is located 4 miles from the town center.
  • We suggest bringing binoculars to help you take in Tierra del Fuego’s wide variety of flora and fauna.
  • If you’re traveling in winter, remember that the sun sets around 4:00 p.m. during the shortest days of the year.
  • Bring comfortable, warm clothing.
  • There’s a Municipal Library and a Chilexpress office in town.
  • The Fernando Cordero Rusque Museum is open from Monday through Thursday 8:00 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Fridays from 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and Saturdays and Sundays from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. and 3:00 p.m. to 5:00 p.m. The entry fee is $500 CLP.

Basic Services

  • Gas Station
  • ATM
  • Bank
  • Hospital
  • Auto Repair Shop
  • Bike Repair Shop
  • Cell Service
  • Police Station
  • Visitor’s Center
  • Aerodrome

Visitor’s Center

Important Dates

Asado más grande de Tierra del Fuego
The third week of February, the community holds its «Biggest Grill-Out in Tierra del Fuego» Festival, where Chileans and Argentinians compete to prepare the best «cordero al palo» (Patagonian style spit-roasted lamb).

Aniversario de Porvenir
Porvenir celebrates its anniversary in May.

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