Punta Arenas is the capital city of the southernmost Region of Chile XII Region de Magallanes y la Antartica Chilena in Spanish. It is the largest city south of the 46th parallel south.
Located on the Brunswick Peninsula north of the Strait of Magellan, Punta Arenas was originally established by the Chilean government in 1848 as a tiny penal colony to assert sovereignty over the Strait. During the remainder of the 1800s, Punta Arenas grew in size and importance due to the increasing maritime traffic and trade traveling to the west coasts of South and North America. This period of growth also resulted from the waves of European immigrants, mainly from Croatia and Russia attracted to the gold rush and sheep farming boom in the 1880s and early 1900s. The largest sheep company, controlling 10,000 square kilometers in Chile and Argentina, was based in Punta Arenas, and its owners lived there. Punta Arenas is among the largest cities in the entire Patagonian Region. In 2012, it had a population of 127,454. It is roughly 1,418.4 km (881 miles) from the coast of Antarctica.
Punta Arenas has been one of only two free ports in Chile, the other one being Iquique, in the country’s far north. (Note that Punta Arenas itself is not a “free port”, but rather outside the city; there is a small “zona franca” where certain products can be imported into the country under a reduced-tax regimen.)
The Magallanes region is considered part of Chilean Patagonia. Magallanes is Spanish for Magellan, and was named for Ferdinand Magellan, the Portuguese explorer sailing for Spain. While circumnavigating the earth for Spain, he passed close to the present site of Punta Arenas in 1520. The 500 Anniversary of the Magellan Strait will be celebrated during 2020 year.
By 2006 the economy of Punta Arenas and the region had diversified. Chile’s principal oil reserves are close by, along with some low-grade coal. Agricultural production, including sheep and cattle, continues to play a significant role.
Tourism has contributed to the city’s economy and steady growth. Tourist destinations include the Cathedral and other notable churches, the city cemetery, and the statute of Magellan. Some cruise ships to Antarctica depart from Punta Arenas’s port, which also serves as a hub for many cruise lines that travel along the channels and fjords of the region.
A scheduled ferry service connects Punta Arenas with the main island of Tierra del Fuego, and a less frequent ferry runs to the Chilean town of Puerto Williams.
University of Magallanes (UMAG) is located in the southern Chilean city of Punta Arenas. It is part of the Chilean Traditional Universities. The University of Magallanes was established in 1981 during the neoliberal reforms of Chile’s military regime as the successor of Universidad Técnica del Estado’s Punta Arenas section. Universidad Técnica del Estado had established the Punta Arenas section in 1961. The University of Magallanes has campuses in Punta Arenas and Puerto Natales as well as a university center in Puerto Williams.
The city has sea, land, and air connections.
Carlos Ibáñez del Campo airport is located 20 kilometers from the city center. Rental car services and custom office services are available in the building (there is no duty-free shop in the terminal, despite the representations of tourist literature). Airlines serving the airport include LATAM Chile, Sky Airline and JetSmart Airline, as well as charter flights. The civilian airport and the military airport make up the larger complex.
By road, a connection to other regions of Chile requires passing through Argentine territory.
By sea, several cruises and ferries can take visitors to the city, although the costs are higher because they include stops at tourist sites along the route.
The official Hotel of the event will be …. (coming soon).
There are some Museums in Punta Arenas. Below you can find some brief information about these institutions, but more extended information you could find here in Spanish.
- Museum of Remembrance
This museum exhibit carriages, machinery, tools and other elements that express the way of life and activity of the time of the pioneers in the historical development of Magellan.
- Military Museum
This construction dates from 1921. It exhibits the contribution of the army in the region from the settlement in Fuerte Bulnes to the foundation of the city of Punta Arenas.
- Braun-Menendez Regional Museum
The Magallanes Historical Museum, inaugurated in February 1983, in the magnificent setting of the Braun-Menéndez Palace in Punta Arenas, gathers an important collection of objects that bear witness to man’s passing through the region.
- Museum Maggiorino Borgatello
The museum was created in 1893 by the Salesian missionaries. It is very complete in all its sections. There are samples of ethnology, mineralogy, flora and fauna and history of petroleum; it also has works of the missionaries, indigenous crafts, fossils and petrified animals, tools used by the aborigines and photographs of them.
- Nao Victoria Museum
Main article: Museo Nao Victoria (Chile)
This museum exhibits a full-size replica of the first ship ever to circumnavigate the world: Ferdinand Magellan’s Nao Victoria. Since October 2011, the museum has added a full-size replica of the James Caird, used by Ernest Shackleton during his Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expeditionwith the Endurance. The museum is located 7.5 km north on Route Y-565 to Rio Seco.[
National Parks in Magellan Region.
Some National Parks are located in our region looking for the conservation and protection of our country’s natural and cultural heritage.
- Magellan National Reserve
The Magallanes unit is located in the Region of Magallanes and Chilean Antarctica, on the Brunswick Peninsula, 5 kms west of Punta Arenas, up to the physical limit of the Rio Grande. It was created on February 13, 1932 by Decree No. 1093. The unit stands out for the protection of fauna species such as the puma, juarjual duck, white owl and culpeo fox. As for flora, the Magellanic deciduous forest predominates, being represented by the lenga, the coigüe de Magallanes and the ñirre. Its main trails are: Sendero de Chile, called “Bocatoma”. Another trail for people with reduced mobility and a last trail that is purely of flora.
- Laguna Parrillar National Park
The Laguna Parrillar unit is located in the Region of Magallanes and Chilean Antarctica, commune of Punta Arenas. It was created on April 22, 1977 by Supreme Decree No. 245 of the Ministry of Agriculture. The unit stands out for the protection of fauna species such as the huemul, puma, black woodpecker, peuquito and concón. As for flora, there is the forest of lenga and coigüe de Magallanes. It is possible to observe shrubs such as calafate and michay, as well as several species of orchids, mosses and lichens. There is a self-guided family excursion trail of 1,800 meters, which starts in the recreational area.
- Pali Aike National Park
The Pali Aike unit is located in the Region of Magallanes and Chilean Antarctica, 196 kms northeast of Punta Arenas. It was created on October 23, 1970, by Supreme Decree No. 378. The unit stands out for the protection of fauna species such as the guanaco, gray fox, Patagonian chingue and puma. Among the birds, the carancho, kestrel and queltehue. From the flora we can distinguish shrub species such as the murtilla, romerillo, mata gris, mata negra and calafate.
- Los Pingüinos Natural Monument: Magdalena Island
The Los Pingüinos unit is located in the Region of Magallanes and Chilean Antarctica. It is formed by the islands Magdalena and Marta, 35 kms northeast of Punta Arenas. It was created on August 22, 1966, by Decree No. 207. The unit stands out for the protection of fauna species such as the Magellanic penguin and imperial cormorant. At the southwest end of the island there are sea lions of one hair and two hairs. In terms of flora, vegetation is scarce. However, in the sections free of penguins and southern gulls some grasses have been established.
- Bernardo O’Higgins National Park
Bernardo O’Higgins is Chile’s largest park––and one of the largest in the world. Around a quarter of the park lies in the Aysén region, with the rest in Magallanes. The park’s central feature are its 49 glaciers, part of Chile’s Southern Icefields. They form part of the third-longest expanse of continental ice on the planet, after the Antarctic and Greenland. The most famous of these glaciers is Pío XI, the largest glacier in the southern hemisphere and the only one in the region that is not receding. The park is also known as a habitat for Huemules (South Andean Deer), South American Fur Seals, and South American Sea Lions. Travel by boat is the best way explore the beauty of these landscapes, ancestral home of the Kawésqar people.
- Torres del Paine National Park
Declared the Eighth Wonder of the World and a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, the Paine Massif is known as one of the most beautiful mountains on the planet. Formed around 12 million years ago, this geologic work of art is a magnet for trekking and climbing aficionados, making it the third most-visited park in Chile. The trekking circuits––known as the O and the W––are on the short list of must-visit treks from around the world. These hikes offer visitors turquoise lakes, pristine glaciers, gorgeous forests, and striking pampas, and are home to species including the Puma, Huemul (South Andean Deer), Ñandú, and Guanaco. Grey Glacier is a glacier located in the western part of Torres del Paine National Park, which is part of the Southern Ice Fields. It is a mass of ice 6 kilometers wide and more than 30 meters high divided into two fronts. In 1996 it had a total surface of 270 km² and a length of 28 kilometers.
- Milodón Cave Natural Monument
The Cave of the Milodon is an impressive crevice located on the slope of Benitez Hill. A huge cavern more than 200 meters deep, 80 wide and 30 high. As impressive as its dimensions are the stories it contains. More than 15,000 years ago large extinct animals such as the mylodon or jaguar stayed in it. Probably, it was the scene of hunting for the first inhabitants of Patagonia. Today, archeology and paleontology reveal the secrets of these humans and animals.
Other information about interest places around Punta Arenas can be reach here (https://chile.travel/en/where-to-go/patagonia-and-antartica/punta-arenas)