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GO Puerto Natales Chile +56 (61) 2411 800
Punta Arenas City
Punta Arenas
Punta Arenas
Punta Arenas is one of the southernmost cities on earth. Situated at about 54 degrees south, only Ushuaia in Argentina is further south.

The City straddles the Strait of Magellan and was founded in 1849 to reinforce Chilean sovereignty over this important trade route. At first, its prosperity rose and fell with that trade: rising with the California Gold Rush and falling with the opening of the Panama Canal. Later, at the beginning of the twentieth century, the city reached even greater prosperity as the centre of Chile's international wool trade. During this time, there was a catastrophic decline in the indigenous population, namely the Onas and Yaganes.

Today it is an important trading centre for wool ands, mutton, timber and fish and the supply centre for the oil industry on the nearby archipelago of Tierra del Fuego. It is also the starting point for excursions to some of the most spectacular scenery in the world. Population in 1998 was 125,631. 

Strait of Magellan
Discovered in 1520 by the Portuguese navigator Hernando de Magallanes, the Strait of Magellan curves from east to west between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans. It is 583 kms long an its width varies from 3 kms to 40 kms. This strait gained importance because of its strategic location as an international shipping route. Today its importance also lies in its history and marine life.

On Foot
These sites can be visited independently or on a city tour organised by a local tour operator. Prices on request.

The Cerro de la Cruz offers breathtaking views of the city. Take Senoret street to Colon avenue, turn left and walk uphill for two blocks. From there, Tierra del Fuego can also be seen as well as Monte Sarmiento and the southern part of the Brunswick Peninsula. Wrecks of old sailing ships are visible in the distance.

Continue on the city's main streets and avenues to the Plaza Munoz Gamero, which features a monument to Magellan. Here opulent mansions, the homes at one time of pioneers who settled here and made fortunes in the wool and livestock industries. Costanera Avenue offers beautiful views of the strait and the bustling activity of the harbour. 

Along the streets of the city you can see many monuments: the shepherd which represents the workers' struggle as well as the dog, the horse and the sheep that made the region rich. Proceed to the cemetery where the tombs of pioneers have been exceptionally well preserved among well kept gardens and Cypress stands.

Free Zone
Take a taxi to the Zona Franca on the outskirts of the city to find stores selling electrical equipment and other items at good prices. There are also supermarkets (Abu Gosch) selling English and American chocolates and sweets.

Museo Salesiano de Mayonino Borgatello
Bulnes Avenue #374
Founded by an order of Italian missionaries and the Centro Cultural Braun-Menendez and housed in the mansion of one of the city's most prosperous families, this museum provides visitors with an eclectic introduction to virtually every aspect of the region and documents its history as well as the lives of the Yagane, Ona and Alacalufe peoples.

The Centro Cultural
Furnished with fine European antiques, Italian marble floors and grand ceiling frescos, this grand mansion reflects the economic stature of Punta Arenas before the Panama Canal was completed. It offers insights into the lives of a prosperous Punta Arenas trading family.

Municipal Theatre
This theatre sits on the site where the first port in Punta Arenas was built in 1848. The building was donated to the city by Jose Menendez, a pioneering businessmen.

The Cemetery
This cemetery is interesting because of the huge mausoleums built years ago by the area's wealthy families. Jose Menendez has one of the most imposing mausoleums. It is a smaller version of the Victor Manuel monument in Rome. The cemetery also contains a memorial to the indigenous people of the region.

The Patagonian Institute
Bulnes Avenue #01890
This interesting scientific and technological research centre has a library, a botanical garden a handicraft store and the Museo Del Recuerdo (old time museum), with a collection of restored carriages, machines and tools used in pioneering times. There is also a maritime exhibit, a preserved garage and an example of a typical house from colonial times. The institute is located on the edge of town, 3.5 kms north of Route 9.

City Centre
Around the Plaza de Armas are government buildings, the Club de la Union and mansions with turrets, beautiful roofs, glassed-in sunrooms and well kept gardens with huge araucaria trees (monkey puzzle trees). The Plaza itself is full of huge, old trees and in the centre is the Monumento a Hernando de Magallanes. Note that the toes of one of the bronze Indians is polished and shiny. Local legend states that everyone who touches these toes will return to Punta Arenas someday, making the statue a favourite with tourists and local inhabitants alike.

Exploring with an organised tour company
For clients joining one of our scheduled or custom trips, we would be happy to make reservations on your behalf for any of the tours listed below. Please ask for details.

Clients not joining one of our trips should contact the local travel specialist who's details appear below.

Fuerte Bulnes and Port Famine
Both of these sites are located about 60 kms south of Punta Arenas. They are interesting primarily for their historical significance. Puerto del Hambre was an early Spanish settlement along the Strait of Magellan, and Fuerte Bulnes established Chilean authority over the region. To reach these sites, you can either hire a car or take an organised excursion (half-day trip).

Otway Inlet Penguin Colony
The penguin colony is located 65 kms north of Punta Arenas on Seno Otway (Otway inlet) along the northwest of the Brunswick Peninsula. The cute burrowing Magellanic penguins return annually to this spot between October and March to lay eggs and raise their young. At the site you can wander along the well planned trails to the middle of a natural reserve filled with penguin burrows. This provides a good opportunity to see the comic antics of these delightful and defenceless creatures close up (half day trip).

Magdalena Island
This island and its neighbouring islet Marta is home to tens of thousands of Magellanic penguins, cormorants, other birds and sea lions. Both islands make up the Monumento Natural Los Pinguinos found 25 nautical miles north of Punta Arenas. The estimated population of the penguins on these two islands is more than 50,000 penguin pairs. The boat trip to Isla Magdalena offers contrasting views to the west and east of the strait.

On the west coast can be seen the Tres Puentes area, the village of Rio Seco and other small settlements along the shore. Industrial centres and oil production centres can be seen in the distance, such as Bahia Laredo and Cabo Negro. Towards the east, the coast of Tierra del Fuego looms flat and long. In front of Isla Magdalena can be seen the deep Bahia Gente Grande (large people bay), named by Pedro Sarmiento de Gamboa four centuries ago in reference to the tall indigenous Onas. Prices and schedule on request.

Tour to Tierrra del Fuego
From Punta Arenas the Strait of Magellan can be crossed by ferry. The trip takes around three hours, its destination the legendary Tierra del Fuego. The crossing provides views of Punta Arenas and the surrounding mountains. Lunch is provided. A visit to the Provincial Museum gives an insight into Tierra del Fuego's previous inhabitants, the Onas, as well as the pioneering Croatians and people from Chiloe, an island to the north of Punta Arenas. The tour goes as far as Bahia Inutil, visiting Laguna Barrosa, Los Canelos campground and the Pecaran pass. The return to Punta Arenas is by air on a regular flight which takes about 20 minutes. Please inquire for prices, availability and scheduling.

Australis Boat Cruise
With a range of three, four or seven-night packages from October to April each year, these cruises pass through the Strait of Magellan and the Beagle Channel between Chile and Argentina. Scenic highlights include wild fjords, deserted bays, towering glaciers and remote islands housing seals, penguins and other exotic wildlife. This boat travels between Punta Arenas and the Argentine city of Ushuiaia in Tierra del Fuego. Land excursions with lectures on the region's flora, fauna, geography and history take place during the cruise. The Mare Australis sails as far as the legendary Cape Horn, the last headland before arriving at Antartica and the place where the Pacific and Atlantic Oceans meet. Please contact us for more information, prices and availability.

Arriving Cruise Ship Passengers:
For specialist local travel advice and day trips, please contact:
Francesca Baldecchi on
Telephone: (0)61 269699

Punta Arenas has hotels to suit every taste and budget. We are happy to reserve any hotel for clients joining one of our scheduled or custom trips. We simply add the cost of the room to your final trip invoice which keeps things simple and reduces money transfer fees and uncertainty.

Below is a list of those we like. Prices range from US$35 per head for a room at the popular and comfortable Hostal Calafate to a suite at a top hotel for over US$200.

Contact us for up to date prices

Hotel Isla Rey Jorge
21 de Mayo # 1243 Tel +56 (61) 248220
Elegant, traditional English-style hotel situated in historic building. Good facilities in each of its 25 rooms. Also offers the popular 'El Galeon' bar serving regional and international food. Restaurant, the Farmer, reputed to be very good.

Hotel Jose Nogueira
Bories # 959 Tel +56 (61) 711000
Opulent and luxurious hotel centrally located in one of the town's finest and most historic mansions. All 22 rooms are different with fine decorations and en suite facilities. Two dining rooms and all the facilities expected of a first-class hotel. 

Hotel Rey Don Felipe
Armando Sanhueza #965 Tel +56 (61) 295000
Centrally located hotel with 22 spacious rooms all of which have phone, internet WI-FI, TV. Laundry available and this hotel also has a gym.

Hotel Plaza
Jose Nogueira #1116 Tel +56 (61) 241300
Situated adjacent to the Plaza de Armas, this comfortable hotel has good sized rooms and a central location. This hotel has 26 rooms and a restaurant serving meals. All rooms have en suite facilities, a phone, internet Wi-Fi and a TV.

Hotel Chalet Chapital
Armando Sanhueza #974 Tel +56 (61) 730100
Centrally located this is a cozy and comfortable hotel. It has 11 rooms a helpful front desk and small restaurant serving breakfast. All rooms have en suite facilities, shower w/hydro massage, laundry, internet WI-FI, phone and TV. Excellent value.

Hotel Oro Fueguino
Fagnano #356 Tel +56 (61) 249401
Central and warm hostal, offering comfortable accommodation (some en suites) and great value. 13 rooms available.

Hostal Terra Sur
O'Higgins #723 Tel +56 (61) 225618
Centrally located, comfortable small hotel have 8 rooms available with private and shared bathrooms. Excellent value

Hostal Art Nouveau
Lautaro Navarro #762 Tel +56 (61) 228112
Comfortable small hotel, centrally located, all the rooms have private bathrooms, TV and wifi internet.

Hotel Tierra del Fuego
Avenida Colon #716 Tel +56 (61) 226600
Good comfortable central hotel with added bonus of a good Pub downstairs (Pub 1900, see below). Friendly with good English-speaking front desk. Large rooms, some with kitchenettes. Nice light dining room.

Hotel Ilaia
Ignacio Carrera Pinto #351 Tel +56 (61) 223592
Small design hotel with just four rooms available, all of them with private bath, Ilaia Nature & Yoga is the perfect place for resting and relaxing.

Hotel Cabo de Hornos
Plaza Munoz Gamero #1039 Tel +56 (61) 715000
Large traditional European-style, recently reconstructed, situated in front of Plaza de Armas. Good facilities and location.

Hostal Carpa Manzano
Lautaro Navarro #336 Tel +56 (61) 710744
Hotel recently renovated, offer warm welcome and very good service.

Hostal Calafate
Magallanes #671 Tel +56 (61) 710100
Recently moved to a new central location this hostal is excellent value. It has 20 spacious and comfy rooms, with various room types available from hostal style to private with en suite facilities.

Hotel Boutique LaColet
Arauco #786 Tel +56 (61) 222045
European style house located in a quiet and safe residential area and close to the city centre offers an exclusive panoramic view of the city. It has 8 bedrooms all with private bathroom, cable TV, phone, heating, WIFI and security box.

La Marmita
Plaza Sampaio #678 Tel +56 (61) 222056
Marmita serves regional seafood and meat dishes with local ingredients, warm atmosphere and unique menu. Their pisco sours are highly recommended. Very good value.

Mejicana #202, 2nd floor Tel +56 (61) 227369
Centrally located, great set of menus and on Wednesdays its all-you-can-eat-pasta.

Puerto Viejo
O'Higgins #1166 Tel +56 (61) 225103
New restaurant centrally located in the old port.

La Luna
O'Higgins #1017 Tel +56 (61) 228555
Good quality food and reasonable prices, friendly and welcoming staff.

Kiosco Roca
Roca #875 Tel +56 (61) 223436
Small, informal eaterie which has been trading since 1932. Very important with locals and known for serving the best 'choripanes' with banana milk - really, try it. Open: Monday ? Friday 9am to 6 pm and Saturday until 1 pm.

Santino Pub and Restaurant
Colon # 657 Tel +56 (61) 710882
Good sandwiches and beers. Bar is a popular local meeting place.

Sotito's Bar
O'Higgins #1138 Tel +56 (61) 221061
Punta Arenas's most popular local restaurant. Good value

LanChile offices
Lautaro Navarro 999,
Tel 600 526 2000

Tourist Information Office Sernatur
Magallanes #960
Tel +56 (61) 248790

Casas de Cambio
/ Money changers are on every block as are local travel agencies for booking local tours and excursions. Local currency can be obtained at any money changer, hotel or bank. The best currency to use is US dollars as they are also widely accepted in hotels, restaurants and shops. Local currency can also be obtained from ATMs if you have a pin number.

There is an excellent internet cafe in the Hostal Calafate situated in the centre of town at Magallanes 922. International call centres are also widely available. For local calls, purchase a phonecard from either a CTC or an Entel call centre.

Hotels will provide maps of the city and local information. They can also order taxis, which in Punta Arenas are generally safe and reliable. Taxis can also be hailed in the street if the light on top is lit. They all run on meters except for longer trips when the fare should be agreed before the journey.

Taxis from the airport are available as are transfer minibuses, which are usually cheaper. The journey time from the airport is about 15 minutes and the taxi fare is normally around US$25 to US$30. Transfers in a group minibus can be as little as US$7 per person. BlueGreen can also arrange private transfers on request.
Local Hospitality
Rub the toe and return