Punta Arenas

Photo of Punta Arenas

About Punta Arenas

Perched on the extreme south of Chile stands Punta Arenas, a sprawling metropolis only 1450km from Antarctica - the ideal holiday destination for nature lovers seeking adventure. Founded in 1848 after a failed settlement in Fuerte Bulnes, it is the largest settlement on the Strait of Magellan and is home to colonies of penguins, fascinating and immersive museums and several indigenous tribes. Whether you're hiking through nature reserves, spotting whales from Carlos III Island or drinking beer in the southermost brewery on the planet, you will find yourself kissing the feet of the Statue of the Native - which, as legend has it - will ensure that you return again. Check out our collection of the best places to stay in Punta Arenas to find out why.

At the centre of the main square stands the Statue of the Native. It is said that if you kiss its feet, you will be fated to return again. Centred around this statue are the grand palaces and townhouses built by the founders in the late 19th century, caked in grandeur and elegance; to the east is the harbourside, where you can watch people fresh from their travels to the South Pole walk off their ships and head for the harbourside bars, eager to exchange stories with fellow travellers. Due to its extreme southern position, there is a duty-free zone called the Zona Franca, where you can buy a huge variety of international goods available at unbelievably deflated prices.

There are a great many museums in Punta Arenas. The Nao Victoria Museum boasts life-size replicas of the very ships used to circumnavigate the globe, using immersive and interactive multimedia displays to liven the experience for visitors. The Braun-Menendez Museum is where you go to soak in local history - from the original tribes that lived in the region to the founders who displaced them - and also boasts some beautiful artworks from the last few hundred years. After a heavy day of sightseeing, be sure to check out the Austral Brewery, the most southermost brewery on earth, that provides tastings and tours for visitors.

People tend to come to Punta Arenas for the extraordinary natural world sitting at the city's feet. You can kayak to to Magdalena Island and see the penguins, or head 70km north of the city to see the springtime penguin colony of Seno Otway. Hiring a boat and gliding out to Carlos III Island to spot whales should also be high on your priority list. If you're a fan of hiking, be sure to trek through the Tierra del Fuego, where the indigenous tribes of the Kawesqar and Selk'nam people live; for beautiful walking spots, look no further than the Reserva Nacional Magallanes, only 5km outside of town and full of utterly spellbinding scenery.

Not to miss

  • Kayak out to the penguin colony on Magdalena Island!
  • Go hiking through the Reserva Nacional Magallanes.
  • Immerse yourself in naval history at the Nao Victoria Museum!
  • Drink beer in the Austral Brewery, the southermost brewery in the world.
  • Kiss the feet of the Statue of the Native!
  • Check out the duty-free zone, Zona Franca.
  • Go whale-spotting on Carlos III Island!
  • Head out to Seno Otway and walk amongst the penguins!

Punta Arenas is the quintessential base for an adventure holiday, whether you're hiking, sailing, kayaking to islands of penguins or talking to Antarctic explorers fresh from their travels. The best places to stay in Punta Arenas hold that tradition of adventure in high regard.

The best places to stay in Punta Arenas

Chic boutique

  • La Yegua Loca: a charming property with magnificent views, offering rooms decorated in rustic-chic styles, fitted with wood-panelled walls, antiques and objet d'art, inspired by Patagonian ranches. Dine at the superb restaurant or explore the town from this centrally located base. 

For an apartment or villa

  • Our partner Booking.com has a wide range of villas and apartments in the nearby area. 

Travel information

  • During the winter, it snows a great deal; during the summertime, you should expect wind, rain and sunshine in a single sitting. During the summer, (from November to February) the temperature ranges between 6 and 16 degrees. 
  • Fly from Buenos Aires to Ushaia, from where you can take a flight to Punta Arenas. 
  • If you want to rent a car, contact our partner Rentalcars

Still not sure? 

Best Hotels in Punta Arenas

  • La Yegua Loca 8 rooms from £105

    Punta Arenas

    A boutique hotel with magnificent views. Rooms, inspired by Patagonian ranches, are filled with antique furniture and memorabilia set against wood panelled walls. Feast on delicious regional dishes in the restaurant and find easy access to both city attractions and the surrounding countryside.

    Active Holiday  -  The countryside beyond the city provides excellent terrain for adventure pursuits.
    Local exploring  -  Boasting an enviable location within the city near "Cerro de la Cruz".
    Full of character
    Views  -  Great views from hotel
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