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Things to do in Punta Arenas

Things to do in  Punta Arenas

Welcome to Punta Arenas

Situated just north of the tip of South America, Punta Arenas lures eager young travelers, rugged backpackers, and laidback cruise-goers for adventure, sightseeing, and the Patagonian wilderness awaiting outside city limits. The capital of Chile’s Magallanes region, Punta Arenas often serves as a convenient jumping-off point for adventure, offering travelers easy access to services such as ATMs and Wi-Fi before they hit the road to Puerto Natales (three hours away), Tierra del Fuego, and Torres del Paine National Park. Shore excursions and transfers accommodate travelers who want to remain on the move, but for those who wish to linger nearby, local attractions abound. Hop on a boat to watch for whales, or take a ferry across the Strait of Magellan to Marta Island and Magdalena Island to see a penguin colony along with thousands of Cormorants, Austral seagulls, Antarctic pigeons, dolphins, and more. Or, stick around the city to explore the collection of 19th-century Victorian mansions and humble abodes that paint the town red—and just about every other color. A handful of museums catalogue local natural and maritime history, while another chapter of Chile’s colonial history is on display at Fort Bulnes (Fuerte Bulnes), where visitors can see an accurate replica of the original 19th-century village.

Top 10 attractions in Punta Arenas

#1
Nao Victoria Museum (Museo Nao Victoria)

Nao Victoria Museum (Museo Nao Victoria)

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Visitors to the Nao Victoria Museum can travel back in time and experience the real-life thrill of a 16th-century sailing experience. Opened in 2011, this destination is celebrated by locals for promoting national identity and preserving much of what makes this area so unique. Visitors can wander through four real-life replicas of famous ships: the Nao Victoria, James Caird, HMS Beagle and Schooner Ancud—boats that played an important role in the discovery of Magallanes. Guides are included in the cost of admission, which makes for rich storytelling while travelers explore the ships.More
#2
Magallanes Regional Museum (Braun-Menendez Palace)

Magallanes Regional Museum (Braun-Menendez Palace)

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This elegant and well-preserved residence was once home to Braun Menendez—an intrepid pioneer who called Punta Arenas home. Just beyond the ornate iron gates travelers will find an incredible array of artifacts that explore the rich history and cultural diversity of the Magallanes region. From lush tapestries and shimmering hardwood floors to handcrafted furniture and beautiful statues, the Magallanes Regional Museum showcases how European influences made their way to South America.The palace is divided into three major areas, and travelers can venture through collections of artifacts brought by the family from Europe, or delve into an array of maps and photographs that explain the region’s history. And a visit to the restored servants’ quarters showcases the day-to-day routines from the Braun Menendez family’s earliest days.More
#3
Fort Bulnes (Fuerte Bulnes)

Fort Bulnes (Fuerte Bulnes)

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Visitors to Fort Bulnes, located atop an unforgiving hillside, will surely take note of the unprecedented lengths colonizers went to in order to stake their claim on such inhospitable land.Ancient shipwrecks that line the coastal route between this popular destination and Punta Arenas serve as a reminder of just how treacherous travel could be. While the fort’s museum, which explores the colonization history in Southern Chile and replicas of a historic church, jail, post office and stables are definitely worth the trip, visitors agree that it’s the epic views from scenic trails and the ancient watchtower that prove to be most memorable.More
#4
Punta Arenas Municipal Cemetery

Punta Arenas Municipal Cemetery

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Opened in 1894, the Punta Arenas Municipal Cemetery is known as the final resting place for some of the area’s most famous historical figures. Relevant families—like the Menendez-Behetys—even have their own chapels here. The massive iron gate stationed at the cemetery’s main entrance was donated by Sara Braun, a wealthy businesswoman, back in 1919, and local legend says it has remained closed and locked since the day it was completed at Sara’s request. While the grounds were originally reserved for bodies of British colonialists, it also includes those of famous German, French, Norwegian and Chilean residents as well.Punta Arenas Municipal Cemetery covers about 10 acres (four hectares) of city land, making it one of the most expansive burial grounds in the region. Visits are often included in city tours, and the cemetery’s main office has an incredible electronic database where travelers can search for individuals by name to find the location of specific plots.More
#5
Plaza Muñoz Gamero

Plaza Muñoz Gamero

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This historic town square is among the most popular destinations in the Magallanes Region because of its unmistakable energy and close proximity to some of Punta Arenas’ major attractions. Travelers can easily walk from Plaza Munoz Gamero to Casa Braun-Menendez, the Sociedad Menendez Behety and the local cathedral, and many visitors agree that the best handmade crafts in town can be found here.Walking the plaza takes only a few minutes, but most visitors gather at park benches or relax in the shade of trees to take in the sights and sounds of local life. Local folklore states kissing the statue of Magellan’s feet is good luck, so visitors looking to change their fortune should be sure to do so before leaving the plaza. A central information center also offers travelers maps and recommendations, making this a perfect first stop on a trip to Punta Arenas.More
#6
Maggiorino Borgatello Salesian Museum (Museo Salesian)

Maggiorino Borgatello Salesian Museum (Museo Salesian)

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This 1,700-square-foot mecca of Patagonia heritage covers an entire history, culture and tradition in just four floors. Travelers can explore the well-organized galleries created by Salesian missionaries back in the late 1800s and learn about the rich ethnology, archaeology, wildlife and diversity of the region.Visitors rave about the Cave of the Hands replica, which is displayed in a room dedicated to Southern Patagonia, and many applaud the museum’s honest handling of colonists, too. The Salesians made every effort to preserve artifacts from the Ona, Tehuelche, Alacalufe and Yamana people, while also explaining the impact of European colonists on local traditions and the role of pioneers in helping to create modern day Punta Arenas.More
#7
King George Island (Isla Rey Jorge)

King George Island (Isla Rey Jorge)

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King George Island is the largest of South Shetland Islands, and its scenic bays, which include Maxwell, Admiralty and King George Bays, are home to unique wildlife, like elephant and leopard seals and a variety of species of penguins.Its protected fjords and diverse flora and fauna make the island one of the region’s premier research stations for bio-diversity, and although these scientists who come from around the world are the only human inhabitants on this unique island, there’s still some draw for travelers venturing to the area’s icy depths. The Arctowski lighthouse is known for being the southernmost lighthouse in the world, and every summer intrepid runners venture to the island for the Antarctic marathon.More
#8
Tres Puentes Wetland (Humedal Tres Puentes)

Tres Puentes Wetland (Humedal Tres Puentes)

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Outdoor-loving travelers and visitors in search of some of Chile's most prized birds love the natural wonder of Tres Puentes Wetland. More than 50 species of aquatic birds, including the Chiloe Wigeon and White-tufted grebe, reside in this epic stretch of land near the northern part of Punta Arenas. And while wandering the lush landscape armed with a camera and a bird book ranks high on travelers’ lists of favorite activities at Tres Puentes, wetland tours by bike are also a popular choice for visitors on the move.More
#9
Magdalena Island (Isla Magdalena)

Magdalena Island (Isla Magdalena)

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When Magellan passed through his eponymous strait bound for Chile for the first time, he cruised past the tiny Magdalena Island (Isla Magdalena). Today, travelers make it a point to stop at this scenic island just northeast of Punta Arenas to explore the rocky shores and observe the huge colony of Magellanic penguins at their critical breeding site.More
#10
Strait of Magellan

Strait of Magellan

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Unforgiving winds, rugged coastline, and narrow passages made the Strait of Magellan one of the most deadly channels for early explorers of South America. Luckily, modern cruise ship technology means today’s travelers can safely cross the strait for a scenic voyage past rocky fjords, forested islands, and glaciers that spill into the sea.More

Recent reviews from experiences in Punta Arenas

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A personalized travel experience of great value
Al_Joan, Mar 2020
Punta Arenas & Parque del Estrecho Private Shore Excursion
Your love of your city and country was very apparent and we hope to visit again to explore the environs of Punta Arenas.
star-4
Whistle-stop tour of Punta Arenas
keith_C, Mar 2020
Full-Day Punta Arenas and Magellan Strait Tour
The journey to our first stop took around 30 to 45 minutes, we spotted dolphins and Eduardo told us there was a good chance to see whales as they were in the area at this time of the year.
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Great Tour
EDWARD_J, Mar 2020
Punta Arenas & Parque del Estrecho Private Shore Excursion
Gerardo spoke perfect english was spot on in his history he was friendly and helpful if you port in PUNTA ARENAS this perfect tour for one day
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Amazing Bike Tour!
LVINICHENKO18, Feb 2020
Mountain Bike Adventure in Punta Arenas
The guides also spoke outstanding English, meaning they could answer any question you have about the country, life in Chile, and Punta Arenas itself.
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Punta Arenas Overview
melrose223, Jan 2020
Full-Day Punta Arenas and Magellan Strait Tour
We were able to visit many different sites and explore at our own pace.
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Perfect if you have little time in Punta Arenas
PalomaBK, Oct 2019
Torres del Paine & Tierra del Fuego ( king penguis)
The guides on both tours spoke Spanish and English.
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Our tour guide Marcella was great...
Arlita B, Feb 2018
Punta Arenas Private City Tour Shore Excursion
In the tour description we were supposed to see the Punta Arenas National Monument Cemetery, its architecture and mausoleum and walking thru the perfect lined tall cypress trees but we did not see these.
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Brilliant day tour
Alison_B, Mar 2020
Punta Arenas & Parque del Estrecho Private Shore Excursion
We had a city tour of Punta Arenas including the cemetery and a visit to Vittoria museum to see replicas of the Beagle, Ancud and Vittoria.
star-5
South America at Its Best
CnG, Mar 2020
Punta Arenas & Parque del Estrecho Private Shore Excursion
This was at the top of our list of favorite activities in South America!
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Fabulous trip; wonderful guide
suekelly80, Oct 2018
Full-Day Punta Arenas and Magellan Strait Tour
The Museum of the Strait at the entrance to the Park is small but highly recommended; the exhibits are labelled in English and Spanish.
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Great Value for the Money!
drlindajthompson, Feb 2020
Punta Arenas & Parque del Estrecho Private Shore Excursion
We had adequate time to visit all of the main sights in Punta Arenas as well as the Parque.
Frequently Asked Questions
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