This beautiful city is located on the shores of the Strait of Magellan, just a few miles from Cape Froward, the southernmost point of the South American mainland. It’s one of Chile’s most important ports, and from its docks, boats set sail to Puerto Williams, Cape Horn, Antarctica, and other destinations. Its European-influenced architecture, its museums, and its cemetery tell the story of the city’s golden age, when the Strait of Magellan was the main route connecting the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans, before the Panama Canal opened in 1914.
Punta Arenas was the ancestral territory of the Aonikenk people, the Kawésqar people along the coastlines, and the Selknam people to the south, in Tierra del Fuego. In 1843, the history of the area changed dramatically, when the Chilean government took control of the Strait of Magellan and established a military presence with the construction of Fort Bulnes. In 1848, the city of Punta Arenas was incorporated. In 1877, 300 sheep were brought to the Islas Malvinas, fostering Punta Arenas’s role as a stronghold of wool and meat exports. The gold rush of the 1890s attracted more settlers, including people from Croatia, Spain, England, and Chiloé, all hoping to strike it rich. During World War I, the city welcomed European refugees.
Punta Arenas has a wide variety of offerings for tourists, including cafés, restaurants, a casino, shopping centers, various museums, and travel agencies, along with large hotels and small lodging establishments with personalized service. For more information, visit:
Punta Arenas is located 153 miles from Puerto Natales; 1,356 miles from Puerto Montt; and 1,920 miles from Santiago de Chile. You can get there from Puerto Natales, via Route 9, or from Argentina, through the Dorotea Pass, the Casas Viejas Pass, the Río Don Guillermo Pass near Cerro Castillo, the Integración Austral Pass, or the San Sebastián Pass near Tierra del Fuego.
Various bus connections are available to and from Punta Arenas. The main routes are Punta Arenas–Puerto Natales (Buses Fernández, Buses Pacheco, and Bus Sur), Punta Arenas–Ushuaia (Buses Pacheco, with a connection via Buses Líder), Punta Arenas Río–Gallegos (Buses Barría Ghisoni, El Pingüino), Punta Arenas–Osorno–Puerto Montt–Ancud–Castro (Queilen Bus), Punta Arenas–Osorno (Turibus), and Punta Arenas–Puerto Montt (Pullman Bus).
Various ferries leave from Punta Arenas and nearby areas to set out for Tierra del Fuego. You can check schedules for ferries crossing the Strait of Magellan and arriving at Porvenir at the following website: http://www.tabsa.cl/portal/index.php/es/servicios/3-cruce-p-arenas-porvenir. You can also check schedules for the ferry between Punta Delgada and Cerro Sombrero at: http://www.tabsa.cl/portal/index.php/es/servicios/2-cruce-primera-angostura.
Ferries are also available between Punta Arenas and Puerto Williams, a voyage of around 32 hours. Find out more at: http://www.tabsa.cl/portal/index.php/es/horarios/12-horarios-p-arenas-williams.
Finally, various cruise ships make the trip between Punta Arenas and Ushuaia and offer trips to and from Punta Arenas to visit Alberto de Agostini National Park and Cape Horn. Find out more at: (https://www.australis.com/site/).
Declared the Eighth Wonder of the World and Unesco Biosphere Reserve, the Paine massif is known as one of the most beautiful areas on the planet.
The prolific bird life found in this park includes carancho, kestrel, queltehue, caiquén, ibis, eaglet, black eagle with nest, peregrine falcon and ñandú.
Kawésqar National Park is one of the largest parks in the world and the second-largest in Chile.
This remote park protects several fox species, sea leopards, dolphins, whales, sea lions, elephant seals, austral dolphins and Chilean dolphins, in addition to 49 bird species.
The largest national park in Chile and one of the largest in the world, with 26% of the park in the Aysén region and the remaining 74% in the region of Magallanes.
This remote park protects leopard seals, dolphins, whales, sea lions, elephant seals, otters, austral and Chilean dolphins.
Immense plains, fjords, channels and unexplored mountains make up this unique territory and biosphere reserve that has been part of the ancestral route of Selknam and Yaghan people.
Address: Plaza Benjamín Muñoz Gamero s/n.
Phone: (+56) 61) 2200610
The Sernatur (National Tourism Service) office is located at Monseñor José Fagnano 643.
In June, the community celebrates the winter solstice, and in July, they hold a Winter Carnival and the Patagonian Folkloric Festival.
In Villa Tehuelches, 62 miles south of Punta Arenas, the community holds a Shearing Festival in January. Also in January, you can attend the pilgrimage to the Virgin of Montserrat.
Each summer, in Punta Arenas, locals hold a festival celebrating traditions from Chiloé, including shows and demonstrations that celebrate its gastronomy, art, and music.
In Cerro Sombrero, Tierra del Fuego, the community holds a rural Shepherd Festival.
In the San Gregorio community, locals hold a celebration of their town with equestrian shows, traditional games, and various other activities.
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