Destination guide: Punta Arenas

Discover Punta Arenas

Otway Sound

70 kilometers from Punta Arenas, you'll find some of the world's most important penguin colonies here, with more than 60,000 Magellanic penguin colonies. The penguins that come to the area to nest and emigrate four months after the birth of their young are a beautiful sight for tourists and scientists alike.

The Otway Sound is to the north of the city and is easily accessed by taking the Ruta 9 highway northbound and turning left at the marker for kilometer 19. Apart from penguins, you can also see animals such as foxes and rabbits. Tours are offered every day between 16:00 and 20:00 and summer is the best time to visit.

Cerro Mirador Ski Resort

Only 9 kilometers from Punta Arenas, this is the only ski resort in the world with a panoramic view of the sea, since it's 600 meters above sea level in the Magellanic Nature Reserve, occupying the slopes and top of Fenton Mountain.

Its 12 runs are narrow and difficult, since they snake through trees and skiers talk of its "snow powder", since the texture of the snow there is finer due to the wind.

Mirador Hill also has a double ski lift 1,200 meters long, a slope 300 meters long and a cable 150 meters long.

If you want, you can stay here overnight, as well as enjoy its cafeteria, ski school and equipment and snow motorbike hire.

Duty-Free Zone

If you're going to choose your next holiday destination based on where your money will go further, Punta Arenas is one of the best options, since it has a Duty-Free Zone, which is an area where products can be imported without having to pay tax on them. This means you can find all kinds of things at a significantly lower price than in the rest of the country.

This area is north of Punta Arenas and has wholesale shops and a large, two level mall. You can visit it from Monday to Saturday from 10:00 to 12.30 and 15:00 to 20:00.

Bulnes Fort

This fortress is 62 kilometers. south of Punta Arenas on the shores of the Strait of Magellan. Built using wood and sod, it's aim was to prevent foreign countries from taking over the area and it could only be accessed by a schooner built and sent south by the Mayor of Chiloe, Domingo Espineira Riesco and anchoring on May 22, 1843 at Punta Santa Ana, two kilometers from what is known today as Puerto del Hambre.

If you visit this fascinating national monument, you can also go to the museum that recounts its history and the adventures and challenges surrounding it.

Torres del Paine National Park

This is one of the biggest and most important of the country's parks, as well as being the third most visited, especially by European tourists. Why is it so popular? Created on May 13, 1959, this area covers more than 200,000 hectares and belongs to the Chilean National System of Protected Wild Area. It is home to a variety of different natural environments, from mountains, valleys and forests to rivers, lakes and glaciers.

Torres del Paine is 112 kilometers north of Puerto Natales and 312 kilometers. from Punta Arenas. It was declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1978. Among its main attractions is the Paine Hill complex, with its peak 3,050 meters above sea level, the Grey, Pehoe, Nordenskjold and Sarmiento lakes, the Grey, Pingo, Tyndall and Geikie glaciers and the Paine Horns.

Travel tips

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