Punta Arenas

Established in 1848, Punta Arenas is the capital of the Magallan Province in southern Chilean Patagonia. It is believed that the town was named 'Sandy Point' by a British sea captain called John Byron, who sailed to Patagonia and claimed to have seen giants inhabiting the land. The name was later changed to the Spanish Punta Arenas. Find out how to get from Ushuaia to Punta Arenas.

Gateway to Torres del Paine

Many travellers visiting Torres del Paine National Park fly to Punta Arenas airport (Carlos Ibáñez del Campo International (PUQ)), which lies around 13 miles north of Punta Arenas and serves Chilean Patagonia. The main airlines operating here are LAN Chile and Sky Airline, which offer regular flights from Santiago and Puerto Montt. Once in Punta Arenas, travellers then take the 3-hour bus journey directly to Puerto Natales, a small town just outside Torres del Paine. Puerto Natales is known for its beautiful fjord, the Seno Ultima Esperanza which is perfect for kayaking.

Punta Arenas is a good place to relax and prepare for your W Trek or Full Circuit trek in Torres del Paine with a reasonable range of hotels and restaurants.

Adventure Cruises

As a major sea port, Punta Arenas also acts as a departure point for Patagonia cruises.  There are several options, including:

  1. Cruises through the Chilean fjords between Punta Arenas and are a fantastic way of either arriving at the trekking heart of Patagonia, or of departing for the north after a W Trek or Full Circuit trek
  2. Cruises to Ushuaia, Tierra del Fuego and Cape Horn offer an incredible way of exploring the Magellan Straits sailed by Darwin and getting up close to Magellanic penguins, hanging glaciers and the wild and remote landscape loved by adventurous trekkers.

Accommodation

It is common when travelling through Punta Arenas to need overnight accommodation, either due to the timing of flights and cruises or simply to break up your journey.  We have shortlisted a selection of recommended hotels to make it easier for you to find the place that best fits your needs and budget.

Map of Punta Arenas

Nearby landmarks

Trips that visit Punta Arenas

Patagonian Peaks and Plains

Travel in a small group with an expert tour leader from Santiago all the way down through central Chile to Tierra del Fuego and back up to Buenos Aires. Experience some of Patagonia's best trekking in Torres del Paine National…

  • 20 Days
  • $6,279
South America - Southern Explorer

This fantastic, privately guided trip takes you through stunning Southern Patagonia, staying in comfortable hotels along the way. You'll visit all the spectacular, iconic sights while hiking through Torres del Paine National Park, getting up close to the immense Perito…

  • 10 Days
  • $6,517
Patagonian Odyssey

An upmarket cultural and scenic group tour adventure from Santiago to Buenos Aires. Along the way visit the stunning landscapes of Torres del Paine, the dynamic Perito Moreno Glacier and Ushuaia in the Tierra del Fuego National Park. Always accompanied…

  • 14 Days
  • $6,325
South America - Wild Patagonia

An epic, in-depth small group tour travelling the length of Patagonia in a kitted-out truck which will take you to places other tourist don't get to experience. Stay in comfortable hotels, visit wineries, volcanic lake districts, estancias, vast plains and…

  • 27 Days
  • $11,059