Walking in Punta Arenas
Starting at Plaza Muñoz Gamero, which was declared a typical zone in 1991. In the city center, there is a bronze sculpture, which was unveiled in 1920 and represents the navigator Ferdinand Magellan. The sculpture of the conqueror stands on a Selknam image to which, according to a local legend, you have to kiss the foot to return to Punta Arenas.
Around this main block there were built the residences of the most prestigious families in the region, which promoted economic development and forged their fortunes around maritime trade and sheep stockbreeding. The luxurious palaces Braun Menéndez, Montes, Stubenrauch and Blanchard were erected around 1892 and still keep their striking architectural designs.
Palacio Sara Braun: It was declared a National Monument and its construction is from between 1894 and 1905. It is fully restored and you can see furniture and styles of the time. Today it houses the Club de la Union.
If we walk north on Colon Avenue to Arauco, we arrive at Cerro de la Cruz, where there is a panoramic view of the city, its colored roofs, Monte Sarmiento, the south area of the Brunswick Peninsula, the Strait of Magellan and even Tierra del Fuego.
We go down again on Colon avenure to the waterfront, to the south there are ancient ship hulls, including Lord Lonsdale British frigate with a sign that reads: “Tribute to the sailors of all nationalities who crossed the sea and made possible a better knowledge and colonization of the region” Continuing along the waterfront, we got to the Maria Behety park, where you can have picnic and find land gaps that become ice rinks in winter.
Going up Independence Avenue towards the Mirador hill, you can both find the place where the ski runs and find an breathtaking place to see the urban landscape and the sea.
Iglesia Catedral (former church of the Salesians) The first temple, destroyed in 1892, was built entirely of wood. Nine years later, another church was built on bricks and dedicated to the Sacred Heart, which is now the cathedral church of the diocese.
Zona Franca : It is located in the northern sector of the city, next to the Central Campus of the University of Magallanes. There you can find imported goods that are sold tax-free. It is divided into an area of retail outlets, comprising 53 hectares, and a two-level shopping mall where you can find electronics, photography and perfumery stores.
Instituto de la Patagonia: It is a research center, that belongs to the University of Magallanes that covers scientific and technological fields. There, you can get information about science, culture and Patagonian techniques. It has a library, a botanical garden, museum and laboratories.
Teatro Municipal de Punta Arenas It is located in Magallanes street where the first outpost of Punta Arenas took place in 1848. The building was donated by Jose Menendez.
Braun Menéndez Regional Museum
This museum is located in the Braun Menéndez Palace, which is a National Monument. Since February 1983 it works as “Regional Museum of Magallanes” that has furniture and things that are part of the contemporary history of the region.
Maggiorino Borgatello Salesian Museum
Located on # 374 Bulnes Avenue, next to the Shrine of Maria Auxiliadora, this museum is the most important in the area. It has a comprehensive collection of species from the region and the Ona culture. Also, there are on display several samples of the Antarctica. It was created in 1893 by the Salesians and is maintained by voluntary contributions from the community.
Naval y Maritime Museum of Punta Arenas
It is located in #981 Pedro Montt street, near the Military Museum. It keeps a historical record of the Armed Forces of Chile in the process of colonization of the territory of Magallanes and Chilean Antarctica.
Nao Victoria museum
It is located 7.5 km north of Route Y-565 site 2ª. It is possible to access it through the public transport that takes you to Rio Seco. It displays a scale replica of the first ship to circumnavigate the world: Ferdinand Magellan’s Nao Victoria. From 1st October 2011 it has been added a scale replica of ‘James Caird’ used by Ernest Shackleton during his ill-fated Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition in Bergantin Endurance.
Memorial museum (Museo del Recuerdo)
The Memorial Museum is part of the Instituto de la Patagonia. (Part from the University of Magallanes.) It constitutes an example of heritage buildings and machinery, including old machinery and tools, which are part of an open museum. It has a high call and regional identity, with a significant number of foreign visitors per year, especially in the seasons of spring, summer and fall. It has 8 wooden heritage buildings, 40 vehicles and transport things, machines, incontables tools, associated mainly to the work of livestock and oil which have a priceless ancient history.
You can take excursions to the main attractions in the region. The resources are mostly natural beauty that can be visited by land, sea and air.
You can travel the roads leading to the Seno Otway (70 km north), a place with tourist and scientific attraction that houses the Penguin, with an estimated population of about 6,000 individuals of the species as Aptenodytes Forsteri Magellan, Spheniscus magellanicus, Adelie Penguin, Aptenodytes patagonicus.
The road to the area of Rio Verde and Seno Skyring is attractive to both fans of fishing and people who like to do something different once in a while. There, it is possible to observe a variety of wildlife, specially rheas, condors, swans and flamingos. This beautiful rural landscape has a varied offer of agro-tourism.
At the South of Punta Arenas, you can follow the central coast of the Brunswick peninsula on its historic route par excellence. On that route, explorers, conquerors, native peoples, settlers and pioneers went through. The same path leads to places like Puerto de Hambre and Fort Bulnes, which are full of illustrious reminiscences. At Puerto de Hambre, the Spanish captain Sarmiento de Gamboa decided to found in March 1584, the city of Rey Don Felipe. This attempt to colonize had a tragic end: all the inhabitants died of starvation. The lack of fresh water, food supplies and the harsh weather wrote a tragic end to those people’s dreams of imposingness. Years later, the English corsair Thomas Cavendish arrived at the place and, finding only the remains of the former colony, renamed the place with the name it bears today. Nowadays, only the grim name lasts for a place that was paradoxically a dream in its beginning.
In May 1843, it was organized an expedition which sailed from Chiloé under the command of Captain Juan Williams. On board the historic Goleta Ancud (schooner Ancud), 23 crew members, including two women, undertook their adventure into the sea. The mission was to take possession of the Strait of Magellan. Finally, in October of the same year, on the rocky hill of Santa Ana, Williams founded a fort that was called Bulnes, in honor of the President of the Republic of Chile, Don Manuel Bulnes, who had entrusted the task. Upon the strikes of an axe, the fort was built with native forest timber. The same causes which at Puerto del Hambre ended with the life of its inhabitants, made this expedition members migrate to the land where it is located these days Punta Arenas. Today, the fort is a replica of the historic fort, the one that give shelter to the first children of the region.