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 town 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, and around this are the grand palaces and townhouses built by the town's founders in the late 19th century. 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 cheap 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 for a lively experience. The Braun-Menendez Museum is where you go to learn about 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. 

People tend to come to Punta Arenas for the extraordinary natural world sitting at its 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 town and full of utterly spellbinding scenery.

What Not to miss

  • Kayak out to the penguin colony on Magdalena Island or drive up to Seno Otway and walk amongst them
  • Go hiking through the Reserva Nacional Magallanes.
  • Immerse yourself in naval history at the Nao Victoria Museum!
  • Enjoy a beer in the Austral Brewery, the southermost brewery in the world. Tasting and tours can also be arranged.
  • Kiss the feet of the Statue of the Native!
  • Check out the duty-free zone, Zona Franca.
  • Go whale-spotting on Carlos III Island

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. But if you want to guarantee a room in one of the best places to stay in Punta Arenas, do your homework and book well ahead - this is a suprisingly popular destination!

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 style, with wood-panelled walls, antiques and objets d'art.. 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, if you think that you'd prefer a self-catering option.

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

  • Hotel Rey Don Felipe Punta Arenas 45 rooms from CA$147

    This four-star hotel is located in the southernmost city in the world, Punta Arenas, in Chile. Guestrooms are spacious and comfortable, with plush carpets and high-quality linens; book a suite for living space and a spa bath. Dine in the gourmet restaurant or book into the spa; a chic city hotel.

    Local exploring  -  This hotel is a great base for local exploring in the region, including the Torres del Paine National Park and the Patagonia
    City Style  -  Located in a property that reflects the tradition of the Magallanes Province, this hotel has lots of local city style
    Romantic Break  -  Couples love the romantic rooms at this hotel; book a luxury suite for a private spa bath
    Traditional
    Check Availability
  • La Yegua Loca Punta Arenas 8 rooms from CA$180

    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
    Check Availability
  • Hotel Jose Nogueira Punta Arenas 22 rooms from CA$253

    An elegant neoclassical hotel in central Punta Arenas offering plush and spacious rooms. The Pergola Restaurant offers fine local delicacies in a gorgeous setting surrounded by grapevines whilst the Shackleton Bar is the perfect place to relax and boasts an impressive selection of wines.

    Romantic Break  -  This elegant hotel, the former residence of royalty makes for a perfect romantic getaway
    Business meetings  -  Hotel Jose Nogueira offers a range of small and large meeting rooms in palatial decor
    Great walks  -  Punta Arenas serves as a great base from which to explore Patagonia with a wealth of great walking trails and natural beauty
    Sights nearby  -  Explore the sights of Punta Arenas from this central location just off the plaza
    Check Availability