Destination guide: Punta Arenas

Useful information about Punta Arenas



Gastronomy is one of Punta Arenas' strengths. You can enjoy a wide variety of fish and shellfish in any of the town's restaurants, given its privileged position opposite the ocean. This includes hake, sea bass, conger eel, oysters, king crab, smoked salmon and snails. The latter are particularly delicious al pilpil - in other words- sautéed in olive oil, garlic and chili.

If you want to try other delicacies though, apart from fish and shellfish, you can always order the culinary delight that is classic Patagonian grilled lamb, as well as original dishes such as guanaco or rhea stew.

As far as typical drinks are concerned, ona-crema is generally used to raise body temperature and is made from a mixture of coffee liqueur, cognac and whipped cream. There's also the well-know mate and other drinks made from calafate and rhubarb, both of which are grown in the region.



Chile's official currency is the chilean peso (CLP) but it isn't divided into cents. Bills come in denominations of 20,000; 10,000; 5,000; 2,000 or 1,000 pesos and coins in 1, 5, 10, 50, 100 or 500 pesos



Bear in mind that in Punta Arenas - and in the rest of Chile - products and services include a Value Added Tax (known as IVA), equivalent to 19% of the cost of what is being purchased. Foreigners, however, are exempt from paying this tax in hotels on presentation of their ID.


Official language

The official language spoken in Punta Arenas and throughout Chile is Spanish.


Time zone

On your flight to Punta Arenas or to other places in continental Chile, you'll have to change your watch to GMT -4.


Electric current

In Chile, the voltage used is 220 V/50hz, but if any of your electrical appliances use a different voltage, you can always find adaptors in specialist shops throughout the country.


Travel tips

Out for drinks in South America
Gastronomic variety in the southern side of the world
Out to party in South America