Surrounding Areas & Patagonia
If you are so in love with nature as we are in Punta Arenas, prepare your camera, the surrounding region will seem so fascinating that you won’t stop pressing the button.
Fuerte Bulnes and Puerto del Hambre
Fort Bulnes was a Chilean Fort located along the Strait of Magellan, 62 kilometers south of Punta Arenas and just a few kilometers from Cape Froward. It was founded in October 30, 1843 on the rocky hill of Santa Ana, by command of the President Manuel Bulnes Prieto. It was destroyed a few years later, leaving the place in a state of neglect.
Today in the place, there is a reconstruction of the original fort, preserving the spirit of the first inhabitants of this southern region. This is a highly visited tourism attraction which is very close to the San Juan River, that has an excellent spot to fish and hike.
Magdalena and Marta Islands
This wildlife area was declared National Park and designated Natural Monument since 1982. It aims to protect the birds’ fauna of the zone, preserving one of the largest penguin colonies in Chile, with an estimated population of 60.000 penguin couples. The visiting season to this beautiful island begins in November and ends on the first half of March. The trips are made by boat from the Tres Puentes terminal in Punta Arenas, and for the more adventurous tourist, in lighters outboards motor boats, from “Cabo Negro”, Cape Black Sector.
The ecosystem that is created by this two islands makes essential to visit both, while Marta Island is home to more than 1,000 sea lions, cormorants, skuas, southern terns, and antarctic palomin. Magdalena Island allows you to interact with one of the largest colony of Magellanic penguins, more than 15.000 birds.
Near the city, on top of Mount Fenton it is located the Club Andino winter resort of Punta Arenas, Cerro Mirador, one of the few ski centers in the world with an ocean view and a wonderful sight of the city and its surroundings. From its summit it´s possible see the island of Tierra del Fuego, Darwin´s mountain range and part of the Otway Sound. Regularly visited by tourists of various nationalities, it´s one of the most fantastic nature outlooks of the regional landscapes, making possible activities in winter and summer.
In winter, for those who enjoy skiing, fourteen different tracks are available, which are distributed among forests and paths, providing the good conditions for all skill levels. The snow here has a special body cause of the effect of low temperatures and wind, giving a unique and attractive aspect for this sport. To access the summit, from where you can head to virtually all the ski slopes as to the different outlooks, places where in the summer is possible to practice Mountainbike, Trekking and Canopy, the center counts with a Poma two-seat chairlift of 1200 meters extension.
This mount is known for the ascension done by Charles Darwin, father of the evolution theory who explored these lands in 1834, aboard the HMS Beagle (captained by Robert FitzRoy) and followed by the HMS Adventure. This was already the second trip done by these boats into the southern lands. In May of that year, Darwin explored the Strait of Magellan for 20 days; the ship anchored in “Puerto del Hambre” and the explorers ascended Mount Tarn (located about 18 kilometers south-west) "... The jungle was so thick that we had to consult the compass all the time...". After this, Darwin continued his journey towards the center of the country.
To be Reached, it’s necessary a 4x4 vehicle and drive along the Strait of Magellan until the end of the road, from this point a hike by the side of the sea shore is needed before heading uphill through the forests of Canelos, Ñirres and other native species. After this 4 hours hike, the summit can be reach with its spectacular views of the Strait of Magellan, Tierra del Fuego. Darwin Mountain Range, and island Dawson, an absolutely unforgettable sight.
San Isidro Lighthouse
At Cape San Isidro it’s located one of the most iconic lighthouses in Patagonia. San Isidro Lighthouse was built in 1904 as part of the plan to illuminate the channels, started in the early twentieth century, some of the most remarkable are the Evangelists, Dungeness Point and Punta Delgada.
Located 75 kilometers south of the city of Punta Arenas, on the southeast coast of the Brunswick Peninsula, Cape San Isidro is a landscape of mountains and a great diversity of species and habitats: subantarctic Coigüe forests and Canelos, wetlands, alpine areas, glacial valleys, rivers and lakes. The landscape includes vast southern forests, the Strait of Magellan and a marvelous view of Tierra del Fuego.
To get there, it´s needed to hike from Punta San Juan 3 to 4 hours, or book a 30 minutes boat trip by the Strait of Magellan, been common the sightings of dolphins and various bird species typical of circumpolar marine environments.
Formerly called Morro de Santa Agueda, it is the southernmost point of the American landmass. It is located 30 km southwest of Fort Bulnes and 90 km southwest of Punta Arenas. It was the English corsair Thomas Cavendish, who in January 1587 named the place after the extremely hostile climate with strong winds and rain that he found. The name means brave, hostile or uncontrollable. In the summit it was built a large metal cross, called Cross of the Seas, in honor of Jean Paul II Pope visit to Chile in 1987. Although it was first built in 1913, and rebuild several times thanks to the harsh weather conditions. The cross indicates the last place in America continental landmass, Cape Froward appears as one of the most attractive places with its southern ecological biodiversity an Its good scenery for sports practices and a nature delight tourism.
Pali-Aike National Park
The Pali-Aike National Park is a protected area in Magallanes covering the Chilean side of the Pali Aike volcanic field. It is visited mainly by volcanologists, geophysicists, archaeologists and by those who like trekking or want to explore its heights. One of its main attractions is a large area that covers most of the park with basaltic lava, establishing its geological characteristics and the life that has developed.
Highlighted by the protection of wildlife species like the guanaco, gray fox, patagonian skunk and puma. Among the birds, the caracara, kestrel and queltehue, and in between the flora species some shrubs like murtilla, rosemary, mata gris, mata negra and calafate.
It´s located 196 kilometers northeast of Punta Arenas. It can be accessed by the CH-255 international road, driving 28 km from Punta Delgada village. The main road has 168 km. of concrete and 28 km. of gravel.
Torres del Paine National Park
Torres del Paine National Park is one of the largest and most important parks in the country. It is located 112 km. north of Puerto Natales and 312 km. from Punta Arenas. It is one of the eleven protected areas in the Region of Magallanes and Chilean Antarctica (along with other four national parks, three national reserves and three national monuments). It presents a variety of natural environments: mountains (among which the complex of Cerro Paine, whose main summit reaches 3050 meters, Torres del Paine and the horns), valleys, rivers (as the Paine river), lakes (the most remarkable are the Grey, Pehoé, Toro, Nordenskjold and Sarmiento), glaciers (Grey, Pingo, Tyndall and Geikie, belonging to the Southern Patagonian Ice Field).
Francisco Coloane Marine Park
Enjoy the privilege of sailing through the Strait of Magellan in search of the sea giants, humpback whales, known for their love for pirouettes and a complex sounds language.
Over a 100 humpback whales have been register in this area, which are fairly easy to be seen, usually in groups, but still the chances of sightings depends on them. They might want to wait until the last minute of your stay to jump and lift their huge bodies, 17 meters long and 40 tonnes, leaving everyone stunned with their show, or just swim calmly and breathing just a few meters from your boat.
King Penguin Park
This private park is located on the island of Tierra del Fuego, by Bahia Inutil or “Useless Bay”, Chilean Patagonia, specifically at the 14 km. of Y-85 road (approximate distance), inside a property that belong to the Estancia San Clemente.
Historically, these penguins have been found in different parts of the southern coast, but only in Useless Bay they gather in large groups. To protect them and allow restricted visits to those who want to enjoy with their beauty, it was necessary to establish a management and conservation plan. Following this process, livestock was pull out, a reinforced perimeter fence was set and a path for the observation of this species was implemented. In addition, a monitoring program is run counting the king penguins population and studying their behavior in the presence of tourists. It was established that the observations path should not have more than 20 people simultaneously, with groups of up to 10-12 guests, a rotation system of visitors organize this. People should not approach over 20m from the Penguins.
Cruises to Antarctica
La Antártica chilena se ubica a mil 250 km al sur de Punta Arenas (990 km del extremo sur del Chile continental) y abarca una superficie de un millón 250 mil km². El turismo se ha consolidado mediante viajes programados ya sea por navegaciones que incluyen Puerto Williams, Cabo de Hornos y el Mar de Drake, o bien en forma aérea desde Punta Arenas, con la opción de combinar con un crucero para recorrer los principales atractivos antárticos. El vuelo cruzando el mar de Drake toma poco menos de dos horas, aterrizando en la Base Frei en la Isla Rey Jorge (Islas Shetland del Sur).Descubrir, los hielos antárticos que son muy distintos a los glaciares patagónicos, son algunos de sus atractivos. Otro son los lobos marinos y pingüinos.