Punta Arenas (Chile)

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Travel Guide South America Chile Punta Arenas



Penguins - Punta Arenas

Penguins - Punta Arenas

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Punta Arenas is the capital of the Magallanes y la Antártica Chilena Region, located on the Brunswick Peninsula, and was founded in the 17th century by Englishman J. Byron who gave it the name of Sandy Point. With a population of around 120,000 it is the largest settlement on the Strait of Magellan and is located 1,418 kilometres from the coast of Antarctica. The history and economic growth of the city is based on maritime commerce, oil extraction, and sheep breeding.



Sights and Activities

  • A 10-minute walk from the Plaza de Armas, the Hill of the Cross viewpoint (Cerro de la Cruz) gives a panoramic view of the city.
  • Austral Brewery (Cerveceria Austral), Patagonia 508, ☎ +56 061 245727 - Come learn and enjoy the traditional production process and a beer tasting session at the southernmost brewery in the world. Call ahead for tour times and availability (minimum 2 people). Lasts 60-90 minutes and tastings are generous with their pours.
  • Regional Museum, with historical artifacts and part of the Braun-Menéndez Mansion
  • Museo del Recuerdo, Avenida Bulnes 01890, ☎ +56 061 207056. 8:30am-11:00am, 2:30pm-6:00pm M-F. Houses an outstanding collection of old steam engines, horsecarts, cars, historic houses furnished in the 1870s and farm implements.
  • Visit the numerous lighthouses in and outside of the city, such as Faro San Isidro and Faro Punta Dungeness.
  • The Shepherds' monument is a traditional monument located on Avenida Bulnes 11 blocks away from the Plaza de Armas. It is one of the many traditional places of the city.
  • Maggiorino Borgatello Museum, Avenida Bulnes 336, ☎ +56 061 221001. 10:00am-12:30pm, 3:00pm-6:00pm Tu-Su. A Salesian Society museum of natural history and pre-Colombian ethnic groups.
  • Punta Arenas Cemetery, ☎ +56 061 212777, fax: +56 061 218418, e-mail: cementeriomunicipal@puntaarenas.cl. 7:30am-8:00pm. Famous for its magnificent mausoleums, architecture, and shaped pine trees, the municipal cemetery dates back to 1840's and is blessed with the remains of many local aristocratic families, as well as English and Croatian immigrants.
  • Museo Nao Victoria, Km 7.5 Norte (In Sector Humedal de Tres Puentes), ☎ +56 09 96400772, e-mail: info@naovictoria.cl. 9:00am-7:00pm Daily. A nautically-themed museum that hosts replicas of the Nao Victoria, James Caird, Schooner Ancud and is building the first ever replica of the HMS Beagle. To arrive take the bus with destination Río Seco from the corner of Chiloé and Ignacio Carrera Pinto in town.




Punta Arenas has a cool moderate climate with relatively little variations regarding temperature during the year. January is the warmest month with average daytime temperatures around 14 °C, while July is the coldest with temperatures just above zero during the day and just below zero at night. Precipitation is evenly distributed throughout the year, with March to May being somewhat wetter. In general though, the annual amount is low, under 500mm. Winds are a bigger annoyance, and a day without wind is very uncommon.

Avg Max14.7 °C14.4 °C12.8 °C9.8 °C6.4 °C4.2 °C3.7 °C5.3 °C7.9 °C10.6 °C12.5 °C14.1 °C
Avg Min6.5 °C6.2 °C5 °C3.2 °C1 °C-0.7 °C-1.1 °C-0.1 °C1 °C2.6 °C4.4 °C5.7 °C
Rainfall38.9 mm27.8 mm29.6 mm36 mm41.6 mm28.2 mm30.2 mm30.2 mm24.2 mm28.7 mm31.7 mm28.6 mm
Rain Days1514151414912111091114



Getting There

By Plane

Presidente Carlos Ibáñez del Campo International Airport (PUQ) offers some connections. LAN flies to/from Santiago, Puerto Montt, Ushuaia, El Calafate, Rio Gallegos, Porvenir and Stanley, Falkland Islands. Aerovias DAP serves a couple of the same cities, and Puerto Williams and Antarctica as well. PLUNA serves Montevideo.

By Bus

Despite its designation as a regional capital, there is no centralized bus station in Punta Arenas. Bookings should be made at the offices of the bus companies. There are frequent departures to Ushuaia, Argentina, that will take you to the city in about 11 hours.
Turibus and Quielen Bus have departures to Punta Arenas from Osorno crossing through Argentina. The trip takes about 36 hours, but it largely depends on how quickly you get through the two border crossings. There are multiple departures and arrivals daily to and from Puerto Natales.

By Boat

Cruise ships visit it often, especially in the austral summer from December to March. Ferries depart daily to the port of Porvenir, the gateway to Tierra del Fuego.



Getting Around

The city is built around its main square "Plaza de Armas" where the imposing monument of Hernando de Magallanes is located. There is also a monument of a Magellan native, or Ona, that according to local legend if a tourist touches his foot it will return once again to the city. Another local legend to come back to the city is to eat Magellan Barberries (calafate), similar to blueberries.

Many of the main public buildings such as the town hall or the Union Club (Club de la Union) are found around Plaza de Armas. In general, Punta Arenas is compact and walkable, but it can get really windy. You will only need transportation for lengthier trips outside of it. For these trips, you can ask for a cab (taxi), a minivan (minibus), or a collective taxi (colectivo).




Punta Arenas has all types of lodging, from inexpensive backpackers hostels with shared everything, international chain hotels and unique boutique and design hotels. Beds fill up in the high season during austral summer (around Christmas, New Year's and early January), so book early.


You can use the form below to search for availability (Travellerspoint receives a commission for bookings made through the form)





Keep Connected


There are cybercafes in every major and midsize city and at all tourist destinations. Some libraries are in a program called Biblioredes, with free computers and Internet. Wifi is getting more and more common. They're usually in metro stations, airports, malls, cafes, public buildings and several public spaces. Check for the ones that say gratis - for free. McDonald's and Starbucks are chains which almost always have free wifi.


See also International Telephone Calls

The country calling code to Chile is: 56. To make an international call from Chile, the code is: 00. Emergency phone numbers include 131 (Ambulance), 132 (Fire) and 133 (Police).

Public phones located on streets are very likely to be tampered or vandalized, so it's better to use a phone located inside a commerce or a station. Prepaid cards for mobile phones and public phones are sold at most newspaper kiosks, supermarkets, gas stations, pharmacies and phone dealers. Mobile GSM networks are ubiquitous in all major cities and most of the territory of central and southern Chile. A basic prepaid cellular phone usually costs about 15,000 pesos, most frequently charged with 10,000 pesos worth of prepaid minutes. No ID is required to buy a prepaid phone. GSM SIM cards from ENTEL, Movistar or Claro are usually available for 5,000 pesos, but without credit, so you'll need to buy some prepaid minutes to be able to call. Money can be charged into a cellphone from some pharmacies (Ahumada, Cruz Verde and Salco Brand) on the counter and in cash, or by using a credit card through an automated service operator, with directions in Spanish or English.


Correos de Chile is the national postal service, and although relatively slow it is reliable with post offices throughout the country. On the website you can find more information about prices to send letters, postcards and parcels, both domestically as well as internationally. Post offices are generally open Monday to Friday from 9:00am to 6:00pm and Saturday until 2:00pm, although there are sometimes longer opening hours in the bigger central post offices and shorter ones in small places. Ask around. If you want to send packages internationally, you might consider companies like DHL, TNT or UPS, which are fast, reliable and usually competitively priced as well.


Quick Facts


  • Latitude: -53.147949
  • Longitude: -70.930321

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