Punta Arenas, Patagonia, Chile
We can arrange Torres del Paine itineraries that include a logistical rest night in Punta Arenas, as well as visits to penguin colonies and whale watching.
This is also the start and end port for the Australis Cruise which we offer.
About Punta Arenas Patagonia Travel Destination
Where is Punta Arenas Located?
Punta Arenas is accessible by a 4hr flight from Santiago, often with a short stop-over in Puerto Montt. It is the southern-most city of the American continent. It is situated on the northern bank of the Straits of Magellan, opposite Tierra del Fuego, and is a relatively clean, modern city with an unusual history based on maritime trade, sheep ranching, coal mining and more recently petroleum extraction.
The architecture around the central plaza area hails from a European style, which of course is the result of the early European settlers who colonized the area.
A Brief History About Punta Arenas
Punta Arenas, meaning sandy point, was officially founded in 1848 when the population from the previous-established settlement at Fort Bulnes was relocated to its current position. Prior to the opening of the Panama Canal in 1914 Punta Arenas was a vital and major sea port for shipping coming from Europe to the western side of the Americas via the Strait of Magellan (a natural sea passage between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans avoiding the need to circumnavigate around Cape Horn). However, the Clipper class ships still used the Drake Passage around Cape Horn in order to have enough space for navigation positional maneuvers. Today, in terms of its maritime importance Punta Arenas is a key stop over for large cruise ships and also the departure point for maritime cruises to Tierra del Fuego, Ushuaia and Antarctica.
Punta Arenas Arrivals & Transfers
When Arriving to Punta Arenas
Arrivals to Punta Arenas are usually from Santiago on a flight that takes about 4hrs if direct and 4.5hrs if there has been a stop off at Puerto Montt.
The other ways to get here are by way of the Australis Cruise ship from Ushuaia in Argentina. Also by a 12hr bus trip from Ushuaia in Argentina. From Puerto Williams (Chilean territory opposite Tierra del Fuego and the other side of the Beagle Channel to Ushuaia) there is a 2hr flight or even a 2 night ferry boat trip also from Puerto Williams.
Places of Interest
Punta Arenas Places of Interest
The area around the main plaza has some historic architectural interest, as some of the buildings have a similar look and style found in some northern European countries.
Should you have the time a city tour will usually include a visit to the Bulnes Fort because it is the “birth place” of Punta Arenas, although it is a quite a basic to look at. It is the location of the first settlement until the population moved to where the city is now. Further south west of Punta Arenas is Point Froward – the southern-most point of continental South America, marked with a nearby lighthouse.
In this part of the world the forests still come down and meet the beaches. Then there is the actual Magellan Stretch which, of course, is of incredible historic importance because it became the main water way for ships to navigate between the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
However, perhaps the main “things” of interest are the various types of marine life that can been seen at close quarters. Magellan penguins can be seen on Santa Magdalena island (home to thousands of penguins); King Rey penguins can be seen via a long full day trip over to Tierra del Fuego and Hump-back whales can be seen in the Francisco Coloane Marine Park.
Clothes to Wear
Suggested Clothes to Bring for Patagonia
Note: There is a full illustration below.
You should try to bring LAYERS of breathable clothes that can be taken off or put on easily. The reason for this is to be able to adapt to any change in weather and as you heat up and cool down on a trek. For example, cotton undershirts are NOT recommended – see below.
Ideally Pack Clothes Such as:
Top Part of Your Body
An under vest (long sleeved if possible) made, ideally, from synthetic fibres so it dries quickly. Moreover, if very cold weather (ie early spring, winter months or autumn) then thermal underwear made from synthetic fibres. Most importantly, we suggest synthetic fibres because when you are walking several hours you will build up a sweat and your under garments will get wet, this then gets cold when you stop and will make you cold unless the wet material dries quickly. For example, cotton does not dry quickly, whereas synthetic material will dry more quickly.
Over Your Under Vest
A breathable top. For example a fleece, or polar top.
Over Your Fleece / Polar Top
Idealy a waterproof, windbreaker over jacket.
For Your Legs
Trekking pants, resistant to rain and wind. However, these should be made from a breathable material otherwise you will sweat. Moreover, jeans are NOT good as they can get wet and not dry.
Over Your Trekking Pants
Waterproof shell pants to go over your trekking pants in the event of heavy rain.
For Your Feet
Wool or MUCH BETTER – synthetic socks. Most importantly, waterproof trekking boots with ankle support and none-slip sole. However, if new make sure you break them in prior to using them on a trek.
Over Your Hands
Gloves. For example, close to glaciers it can be very cold.
For Your Head
A warm hat (not a jockey cap), sunglasses and sun-protection cream. Also, bring a headband to keep your ears warm when not using the hat.
For Your Personal Use
Ideally a small back pack for food, water and clothes.
For Your Safety
A battery-operated torch for when power is out or if you are arriving to a refugio in the dark. Most importantly, take with you during the trek extra water and snacks. Above all, prepare for all weather conditions and dress for the outdoors. Do NOT go off the trail because if you have the slightest incident such as twisting an ankle, you may not be found.
Average Temperatures in TDP during the year
Summer (Dec – Jan – Feb) Max + 23.5°c / Min + 0.8°c.
Today & 5 Day Forecast (C°)
Torres del Paine National Park
If you would like for us to create a custom-built itinerary for you, email us…
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Please supply us with as much information as you can about where you want to go, what you want to do, what you want to experience and how much money you want to spend (or do not want to spend!). How many people, what type of beds (matrimonial, twin, single etc.)
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