Punta Arenas is the largest southern city of Chile and the Americas. It is really enchanting, and is a great base for further travels.
Here you can get a cruise to Antartica, you can fly in from other major cities in Chile, get buses towards Torres del Paine and catch tours to penguin colonies (October-March is the best time to see penguins).
Punta Arenas is a really amazing town, that is quite physically isolated from the rest of the world. It is often a stop along the way to further adventures (which is why I went), however it’s also a destination in its own right.
The town has a picturesque coastal walk, with views to the Strait of Magellan. The town itself is beautifully made, with old buildings and cosy cafes. I spent an extra week here, just visiting all the local eateries.
Some favourite places were:
- La Marmita
- La Chocolatta
Top Things to Do
- Explore the town & EAT! See the Plaza de Armas & Palacio Sara Braun
- Coastal walk
- Visit the cemetery (sounds grim, but actually peaceful and interesting to visit)
- Cerro de La Cruz lookout over the town
- Tours to the nearby penguin colony
- Use this as a base to get a bus to Puerto Natales, and then Torres del Paine National Park
How to get there
Fly in. Driving is difficult due to all the glaciers and lakes on the Chilean side, you need to do a big detour via Argentina to arrive by land.
Perks of the town
From here you can get buses to Puerto Natales, which is the town closest to Torres del Paine National Park. Buses leave regularly.