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Strait of Magellan

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A Destination for 21st Century Explorers

The tales of the brave men and women who have inhabited the Strait of Magellan come to life at Fuerte Bulnes. Your first stop should be this historical reconstruction of the fort where Chile established its first settlement in Patagonia, taking possession of the Strait of Magellan and the land around it in 1843. Puerto Hambre, where Spanish conquistadors failed to set up a permanent outpost, is located nearby.

If you're looking for company and are lucky enough to visit the area between October and March, head to Isla Magdalena (a national monument about 31km from Punta Arenas), which is home to Chile's largest colony of Magellanic penguins. Then arrange a sailing trip through Francisco Coloane Marine Park, the only place in the Southern hemisphere where humpback whales can be found feeding outside of Antarctica.

San Isidro, one of the eight lighthouses that have helped prevent shipwrecks and guide navigators through the strait for decades, is now home to a comfortable inn. This is the perfect jumping off point for those who plan to climb Mount Tarn, which was immortalized by adventurer and scientist Charles Darwin. From here you can also take a kayaking excursion along the coasts that whalers used to work. (They have long since left the area because of the moratorium on whale hunting.)

If you still have a little energy, put your trekking boots to the test on the trails of the Brunswick Peninsula, which will take you all the way to Cape Froward, the southernmost point in South America. High above it stands the Cross of the Seas, which can be reached after a 42km trek through beaches, forests, bogs and lonely mountain landscapes.

The Strait of Magellan is a great place for whale watching, penguin watching or hunting for shipwreck remains.

 

Featured Destinations of Southern Patagonia

aAntarctica

bStrait of Magellan
c   Punta Arenas

d   Tierra del Fuego
e   Torres del Paine National Park

fPuerto Natales

 

Tours you can do

Hiking Torres del Paine

The Mylodon Cave
Dientes de Navarino

Magdalena Island
Marino Francisco Coloane Park

Puerto Edén
Última Esperanza - Mariano Glacier


Cruises to Puerto Williams and Cape Horn

 

Tips

01

San Juan River Scuba Diving Punta Dugenes
There's no need to limit yourself to organized tours. If you're looking for a fishing spot or a day-trip destination, take Route 9 from Punta Arenas to Fuerte Bulnes (at Kilometer 55) and turn off on the road to the San Juan River. Scuba diving in the sandy depths of the Strait of Magellan will allow you to spot shipwreck remains that are not visible from land. If you leave from Punta Arenas, you can imagine the time when it was the only spot where travelers could cross over from the Pacific to the Atlantic Ocean. The Punta Dugenes Lighthouse, the easternmost point in continental Chile, marks the place where the Atlantic Ocean enters the Strait of Magellan. It is located at Kilometer 92 of Route Y-545, about 272 km from Punta Arenas to the northeast.

02

Caleta Río Seco and Barranco Amarillo  What to Bring
Caleta Río Seco and Barranco Amarillo offer opportunities to kayak and observe the Strait's austral dolphins, coastal fauna and a wide variety of seabirds. The starting point for this excursion is the Tres Puentes sector, which is about 6km from Punta Arenas. Make sure you are prepared for cold weather, warm weather and rain. Walking boots are essential, as are a waterproof jacket, coat, sunhat, winter hat, sun block, and mosquito repellent.

 

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