Ships anchor off the coast. The tender pier is at the Puerto del Estrecho, in the city center.
Printable map to take along.
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The best spot to gain an introduction to Punta Arenas is the Cerro La Cruz promontory, which provides breathtaking views of the city's orderly streets, colorful tin roofs, and the strait beyond. Among the city's most interesting attractions are the Museo Salesiano de Mayonino Borgatello, started by an order of Italian missionaries, and the Centro Cultural Braun-Menendèz, housed in the mansion of one of the city's most prosperous families. The museum provides visitors with an extraordinary and eclectic introduction to virtually every aspect of the region. Its collection, accumulated by the missionaries during their extensive travels in the area, is composed of artifacts of all sorts-from ceramics to rare animal species The Centro Cultural is equally engaging, offering an intimate glimpse of the life of a prosperous Punto Arenas trading family. Furnished with fine European antiques, Italian marble floors, and grand ceiling frescos, this grand mansion gives a good indication of the economic stature of Punto Arenas before the Panama Canal was completed.
Punta Arenas, with a population of 110,000, is the capital of the Magellanic and Antarctic Region XII, and it is Patagonia’s most important city, founded where the forest meets the steppe.
Downtown Punta Arenas is compact enough to explore on foot, but taxis are plentiful and you can hail one off the street. Travel anywhere within the city limits will not cost more than $9; always confirm the fare with your driver before getting in the car.
From Punta Arenas, it is an easy day trip to the pinguineros, the nearby penguin settlements and the Parque Nacional Torres del Paine, which provides the perfect introduction to Chilean Antarctica.
It pays to compare your cruise line shore excursions here.
This is the jumping off point for many tours to Antarctica. Many tour operators run conventional city tours and trips to the penguin colonies, as well as short visits and multiday, all-inclusive trekking excursions to Torres del Paine National Park.
Stores are scattered along all the main streets in the downtown area with the bulk of them located on Magallanes, a street that runs adjacent to the Plaza Munoz Gamero in the center of town. On port days, weather permitting, the locals display their wares at a craft fair in the Plaza. There is also a duty-free shopping area called Zona Franca on Av. Manuel Bulnes at the north edge of town, near the Museo Del Recuerdo.
Credit Card acceptance is considerably reduced in small towns and communities, for which reason when visiting these it is recommended you take with you cash in local currency: the Chilean peso. 1 USD = 712 CLP. This will prevent any unpleasant surprises.
Spanish is Chile's official language
The cruise terminal of Punta Arenas has several computer stations, ranging in price from $1 to $2 for 30 minutes, depending on the time of day.
Ambulance service: 131 Fire Brigade: 132 Carabineros (Chilean police): 133 Drug Enforcement: 135 Andean Mountain Rescue Squad: 136 Sea Rescue: 137
Business and trade establishments in Chile are generally open to the public from Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m., with a 60 minute lunch break at 1 p.m. Saturday timetable is 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. In malls, the timetable is Monday through Sunday from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Holidays in Chile
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