Top 21 Things To Do In Punta Arenas, Chile - Updated 2024

things to do in Punta-Arenas Chile
| 9 min read

Located at the tip of the southernmost region of Chile, the picturesque city of Punta Arenas has played a key role in seafaring history, which is reflected in many of its landmarks. Today the booming city attracts visitors with its charming atmosphere, vibrant culture, and rich history. Punta Arenas is situated off the Strait of Magellan, which connects the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, and is known as the gateway to Antarctica. It is also an excellent base to explore the plentiful natural wonders of Patagonia. Plan a summer visit when the weather is warm and welcoming, and enjoy the beauty of the city and the coast walking around its Main Square and boardwalk. There’s no dearth of fun destinations in and around this city. Read on know the best things to do in Punta Arenas, Chile.

1. Admire ship replicas at Nao Victoria Museum

Museo Nao Victoria
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Juanmatassi used under CC BY-SA 3.0

This unique open museum features exact replicas of some ships that have secured a significant place in maritime history - Ferdinand Magellan’s Nao Victoria carrack which was the first vessel to go around the Earth, James Caird, a lifeboat of the Endurance which undertook the 1916 Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition, the Ancud the ship that claimed the Strait of Magellan for Chile in 1843 and HMS Beagle, a British Navy exploration ship. You can walk within each of these ships and see how they were constructed and operated. The museum also features related artefacts such as antique weapons, sailing instruments, and documents.

Museo Nao Victoria

Address: Punta Arenas, Magallanes y la Antártica Chilena Region

Opening hours: 9am - 6pm (daily)

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2. Stroll down Costanera and enjoy the coastal views

Punta Arenas, costanera
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Draceane used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Costanera is a long boardwalk in Punta Arenas that goes along the coast. You walk or bike down it, taking in interesting sights such as old piers, broken down docks, and colourful murals on buildings on the path. As you walk you’ll also be able to feast your eyes on the blue waters of the Magellan Straits and perhaps even catch a glimpse of Tierra del Feugo. Bird-watching is popular here as you are likely to come across different birds from seagulls to cormorants and if you are lucky you may even see dolphins and sea lions.


Address: Av. Costanera del Estrecho de Magallanes, Punta Arenas

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3. Spend an evening at Plaza Armas Punta Arenas

Plaza de armas de Punta Arenas
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Pablo Navarro used under CC BY-SA 3.0

This central square of Puntas Arenas is a delight with beautiful shaded avenues, a historic landmark, bars, cafes, and hotels. Its charming ambience makes it a wonderful place to hang out (there’s even free WiFi). Evenings will see local musicians performing in the square and stalls selling souvenirs. Don’t forget to check out the large Magellan statue that’s the main attraction here.

Plaza Armas Punta Arenas

Address: Plaza Benjamín Muñoz Gamero, Punta Arenas, Región de Magallanes y de la Antártica Chilena, Chile

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

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4. See a slice of Chile's rural life captured by Monument to the Ovejero

Monumento al Ovejero. Punta Arenas
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Chaparroandrea used under CC BY-SA 3.0

The Ovejero Sheep Herder Monument is a tribute to the rural traditions of Chile’s Magallanes region. This gigantic sculpture piece is spread over about 100 ft (30 m) and features several life-size sculptures. It primarily depicts a shepherd with a horse and sheepdog, herding sheep. The intricate work on the monument will give you a vivid picture of life in the hills for these workers. Since it is close to Cemetery of Punta Arenas, you can easily pair these two landmarks in a visit.

Monument to the Ovejero

Address: Avenida Presidente Manuel Bulnes, Punta Arenas

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5. Go for a hike inside Magallanes National Reserve (from USD 300.0)

Just 20 minutes outside the city of Punta Arenas is the natural reserve, Reserva Forestal Magallanes. This forest has numerous hiking trails that’ll put you in the middle of this beautiful lush greenscape - enjoy vistas of the woods, the cityscapes of Punta Arenas, and of course the beautiful Strait of Magellan. The knowledgeable guide leading you will offer fascinating insight about the wildlife and plant life of the reserver as well as the city. The trek is usually relaxed and easy. and will give you ample time to soak in the beauty of the landscapes.

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Punta Arenas Small-Group Half-Day Patagonia Forest Hike

Duration: 4 to 5 hours

21 reviews

6. Admire the majestic Hernando De Magallanes Monument

Monumento a Hernando de Magallanes
Source: Photo by user Javier mansilla g. used under CC BY-SA 3.0

This monument honours the legendary explorer Ferdinand Magellan who’s made extensive contributions to world maritime history. A major landmark of the city it sits in the main square the Plaza de Armas. The sculpture features Magellan in the centre with statues of indigenous people Ona and Tehuelches at the side. It is believed that if you touch the toe of the Ona statue you will safely come back to Patagonia/Punta Arenas.

Monumento a Hernando de Magallanes

Address: Plaza de Armas, Punta Arenas

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

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7. Get to know all about Chile's indigenous history at Maggiorino Borgatello Museum (from USD 179.0)

This full-day tour will take you through all the top must-see attractions of Punta Arenas. Led by a knowledgable guide you will visit the historic sites like Fort Bulnes and major city landmarks and also get to enjoy stunning views. You will also visit key museums. The Maggiorino Borgatello Museum, in particular, is fascinating since it is the only one dedicated to history and culture of indigenous tribes of Chile. Spread over several floors, the museum covers a large variety of topics ranging from natural history, cultural artefacts like craft items, tools, as well as documents that throw light on the ancient history of this land.

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Punta Arenas & Parque del Estrecho Value Shore Excursion

Duration: 6 to 8 hours

105 reviews

8. Book an exhilarating experience with Tours Punta Arenas (from USD 200.0)

There’s a lot to explore within and beyond Punta Arenas. You can go discovering the wonders of Torres del Paine, trekking in Magellean Forest Reserve, or viewing the king penguins of Tierra del Fuego. Check out Tours Punta Arenas for their range of experiences that can give you a comfortable and convenient options to explore all that the region can offer.

Tours Punta Arenas

Address: Riding Club 0618, Punta Arenas

Website: Tours Punta Arenas

Opening hours: Mon - Fri: 24 hours; Sat: 10am - 7pm; Sun: 10am - 3pm

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Full-Day Punta Arenas and Magellan Strait Tour

Duration: 5 hours 55 minutes

44 reviews

9. Take in the sweeping views from Cerro de la Cruz

Punta Arenas, Cerro de la Cruz
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Draceane used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Make the short climb uphill from the Plaza de Armas to the viewpoint of Cerro de la Cruz on the Cross Hill. This observation deck offers amazing views of the colourful city of Punta Arenas, the bay in the horizon, and the Patagonia mountains in the distance. Sunset is a particularly awesome time to be here. The path up has several small stores selling knick-knacks and trinkets. There’s also a small Anglican Church if you want to stop by.

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10. Enjoy some skiing fun at Club Andino

Reserva Nacional Magallanes 01
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Natalia Reyes Esc... used under CC BY-SA 4.0

This small skiing resort located a short distance away from Punta Arenas within the Magallanes Forest Reserve is a great option for a different experience - here you can enjoy not only skiing but also views of the city, the snowcapped mountains around, plus if you are lucky, of the Atlantic Ocean, as well! Take the ski lift to the top of the mountain for the views and then follow a well-marked trail to go downhill, enjoying the pure fresh mountain air and the peaceful serenity.

Club Andino Centro de Ski

Address: Cerro Mirador, Punta Arenas

Website: Club Andino Centro de Ski

Opening hours: Tue - Sun: 10am - 6pm (closed on Mon)

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11. Have a rocking evening at Dreams Casino Punta Arenas

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

At this hotel-cum-casino located close to the centre of the city, you can spend a chilled out evening trying your hand gambling or heading to the Sky Bar where you can enjoy spectacular views of the city and the strait, along with great cocktails. The hotel also hosts fun events like dance fests, concerts, and live performances so there’s plenty of exciting options in this entertainment hot spot.

Dreams Casino Punta Arenas

Address: O'Higgins 1235, Hotel Dreams del Estrecho, Punta Arenas

Website: Dreams Casino Punta Arenas

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

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12. Check out the picturesque and poignant Lord Lonsdale Shipwreck

Lord lonsdale shipwreck, Punta Arenas
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Deensel used under CC BY 2.0

The abandoned ruins of the ship Lord Lonsdale remind us of the dangers that seafarers undertook while exploring the seas in the yesteryears. Lord Lonsdale was a frigate ship that left Hamburg, Germany in 1909 for Mexico. On reaching Stanley Harbour in the Falkland Islands, the ship caught fire and with no other option, the crew sank it. Although it is not fully understood how the shipwreck landed up on the shores of Punta Arenas, today it is a historic curiosity and offers a wonderful photo op.

Lord Lonsdale Shipwreck

Address: 21 de Mayo 2715, Punta Arenas, Región de Magallanes y de la Antártica Chilena, Chile

Openong hours: 24 hours (daily)

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13. Be awed by the life-like figurines of prehistoric animals at Maria Behety Park

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

This green space with charming views of the sea is a wonderful place to relax with your family. With ample greenery, Maria Behaty Park has many walking paths and trails going across the park, its woodlands, and a serene lake/lagoon. It also has a large play area for kids, that has a very popular feature - several full-scale figures of extinct prehistoric animals like dinosaurs.

Parque María Behety

Address: Punta Arenas, Magallanes y la Antártica Chilena Region

Website: Parque María Behety

Opening hours: 10am - 9pm (daily)

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14. Discover the story behind the Gulet Ancud Crew Monument

Monumento Goleta Ancud
Source: Photo by user Ppn87 used under CC BY-SA 4.0

This striking, large monument on Costanera Avenue commemorates the possession of the Strait of Magellan by Chile. Created by sculptor Guillermo Merino Pedrero the sculpture is a replica of schooner Ancud and features in it key elements of the Chilean culture - mythical beings Pincoya and Millalobo, three livestock animals, along with the ship’s crew.

Monumento A Tripulantes Galeta Ancud

Address: Av. Costanera del Estrecho de Magallanes y & Av. Cristobal Colon, Punta Arenas

Website: Monumento A Tripulantes Galeta Ancud

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

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15. Gain a better understanding of Chiliean arts at La Galeria

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

If you enjoy exploring local arts and crafts when you travel, then be sure to plan a visit to the chic La Galeria. Here you’ll find high-end authentic Chilean handmade jewellery, art pieces, and objet d'art created by local artists. The owner is often around to give you a better understanding of the cultural nuances of the items you see around. It’s a perfect place to buy keepsakes, souvenirs, and gifts!

La Galeria: Tienda de Arte y Diseno

Address: Avenida Cristobal Colon 511, Punta Arenas

Website: La Galeria: Tienda de Arte y Diseno

Opening hours: Mon - Thu: 10am - 1pm, 3pm - 8pm; Fri - Sat: 3pm - 8pm (closed on Sun)

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16. Walk amid penguins at Los Pingüinos Natural Monument

Pinguinos de Magallanes Monumento Natural Islotes de Puñihuil 17
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Natalia Reyes Esc... used under CC BY-SA 4.0

Take a cruise to the middle of the Strait of Magellan to walk among thousands of penguins in their natural habitat. Home to over 120,000 Magellanic penguins, Los Pingüinos Natural Monument is an incredible experience where you are given an opportunity to walk around on Magdalena Island where the birds migrate to find their mate and breed between September and March every year. Located around 35 km (22 mi) outside of Punta Arenas, you will need to go on a ferry ride (which can be a little bumpy) to the island where you are given an hour to get the closest you can to penguins!

Los Pingüinos Natural Monument

Address: Punta Arenas, Magallanes y la Antártica Chilena Region

Website: Los Pingüinos Natural Monument

Opening hours: 2pm - 7pm (daily)

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17. Appreciate the old-word structures of Bulnes Fort

Fuerte Bulnes
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user LBM1948 used under CC BY-SA 4.0

At this historical site is a reconstruction of Chile’s first-ever settlement which took place in 1843 on the shores of the Magellan Strait. Bulnes Fort was constructed on the rocky hill of Punta Santa Ana to protect the Strait of Magellan and ward off attacks. However, it fell to disuse in later years and was abandoned. Today log houses have been reconstructed to recreate the first settlement and includes barracks, chapel, jail and post office. Apart from the historic buildings, you can also appreciate here the O’Higgins Lighthouse, vistas of the Magellan Strait, and local wildlife.

Fuerte Bulne

Address: Punta Arenas, Magallanes y la Antártica Chilena Region

Website: Fuerte Bulne

Opening hours: 9:30am - 6pm (daily)

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18. Taste authentic Chiliean dishes at La Marmita

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

La Marmita is counted among the must-visit restaurants of Punta Arenas. Housed inside a charming old-style building, this brightly coloured restaurant with cosy interiors and friendly, attentive staff offers traditional Chilean cuisine. Make sure to try their seafood options such as king crab, and also their beef bourguignon and ceviche, as well as their house drinks and cocktails. Keep in mind though that the eatery only accepts cash.

La Marmita

Address: Plaza Francisco Sampaio 678, Punta Arenas

Website: La Marmita

Opening hours: Mon - Sat: 12:30pm - 11:30pm (closed on Sun)

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19. Dig into somes pizza and craft beer at Bar Bulnes Punta Arenas

Editor's Note: Photo taken from the establishment's official social account

Craving for some pizza and craft beer? Then Bar Bulnes should be your destination! With a dive-like casual atmosphere, this bar is a cool hang-out spot after a day of sightseeing. Though yummy, pizzas may taste a little different from what you may be used to and are sold by length! Very popular with locals, the bar is always busy so getting a table can be challenging at times!

Bar Bulnes Punta Arenas

Address: Av. Pdte. Manuel Bulnes 408, Punta Arenas

Opening hours: Mon - Thu: 5pm - 3:30am; Fri - Sat: 5pm - 4:30am; Sun: 5pm - 2am

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20. Admire the opulent exhibits of Magallanes Regional Museum

Editor's Note: There's no photo available at the time of writing

Located inside the Braun-Menendez mansion, this museum showcases the life of the nobility and the wealthy in the Magellan age. Going through its many well-restored rooms you will find authentic furniture, furnishings, and object d’ art of that era, giving you a glimpse of local history, too. Another part of the museum contains a brief collection of exhibits that cover the history of the Patagonia region and its ancient history.

Museo Regional De Magallanes

Address: Magallanes 949, Punta Arenas

Website: Museo Regional De Magallanes

Opening hours: Wed - Mon: 10:30am - 2pm (closed on Tue)

Price: Free admission

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21. Get spooked on a Punta Arenas ghost walk (from USD 27.0)

Get a cool introduction to this intriguing city by going on a ghost tour that’ll cover a few of Punta Arenas’ most infamous haunted hot spots. A guide will take you to some of the city’s significant historical sites and monuments, and share insights while offering you an opportunity to enjoy spectacular views of the city. It is a great way to understand the city, its history and its psyche.

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Punta Arenas Ghost Walk

Duration: 2 hours 30 minutes

A facinating trip to the southermost city of Americas

Punta arenas
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user [Unknown] used under CC BY-SA 2.5

With this list of things to do in Punta Arenas, Chile, you will cover its top highlights. In addition to this, be sure to visit the very popular duty-free shopping area called “Zona Franca” where you can find products from across the world available for purchase tax-free. Another tip to keep in mind is that while the city of Punta Arenas is small and is walkable, it can get really windy so be ready!

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Any must-sees we missed? Tell us about them in the comments section or write a post here to help out fellow travelers!
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Writing and travelling both bring joy to Sowmya's life. Her favourite destination so far is Bhutan - a land of incredible beauty! And her favourite style of travelling is solo backpacking!...Read more

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