Punta Arenas

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. 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 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), although the Clipper class ships still used the Drake Passage around Cape Horn in order to have enough space for navigational position manoeuvres. Today, in terms of its maritime importance it 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 and Transfers

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, by a 12hr bus trip from Ushuaia also or a flight from Puerto Williams (Chilean territory opposite Tierra del Fuego and the other side of the Beagle Channel to Ushuaia) or even a long ferry boat trip also from Puerto Williams.

What is the average temperature in Punta Arenas?

Punta Arenas Places of Interests

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.

The 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 in Punta Arenas

Try to bring LAYERS of breathable clothes that can be taken off or put on easily to adapt to any change in weather and as you heat up and cool down on a trek. Cotton undershirts are NOT recommended – see below.

Ideally clothes such as:

Over your body skin: an under vest (long sleeved if possible) made, ideally, from synthetic fibres so it dries quickly. If very cold weather (ie early spring, winter months or autumn) then thermal underwear made from synthetic fibres. The reason for synthetic fibres is 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. Cotton does not dry quickly, whereas synthetic material will dry more quickly.

Over your under vest: a breathable top such as a fleece.

Over your fleece: a waterproof windbreaker over jacket.

For your legs: trekking pants, resistant to rain and wind, but made from a breathable material otherwise you will sweat. 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 synthetic socks. Waterproof trekking boots with ankle support and none-slip sole. If new make sure you break them in prior to using them on a trek.

For your hands: gloves. Close to glaciers it can be very cold.

For your head: a warm hat (not a jockey cap), sunglasses and sun-protection cream and a headband to keep your ears warm when not using the hat.

For your personal use: a 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. Take with you during the trek extra water and snacks. 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.



Punta Arenas Map

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Today & 5 Day Forecast (C°)

Punta Arenas
Light Rain
06:2920:28 -03
Feels like: 2°C
Wind: 22km/h N
Humidity: 77%
Pressure: 1009.1mbar
UV index: 1


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