Blogs from Punta Arenas, Magallanes, Chile, South America


South America » Chile » Magallanes » Punta Arenas April 13th 2014

I'd come to one of those mythical places that conjures up images of adventure and a palpable sense of history! Punto Arenas, the capital of the Magellanes and Chilean Antarctica Region, is the southern-most point on continental South America, and sits on the Straits of Magellan with a view across to Tierra del Fuego. What a thrill! Upon arrival, I immediately headed to the waterfront to see these wonders. Not only was it amazing to sense all of this, but also the endless storms of Puerto Natales had given way to magnificent clouds, a fiery sunset, and Patagonia's famed four seasons in a day--I felt free, renewed and ready for exploration! And the city was full of treasures to discover. The city was big, 130,000 people--bigger than my hometown and the largest I'd been in for ... read more
Straits of Magellan
victory marking peace treaty between old enemies Chile & Argentina
cemetery hedges into infinity--loved the wayward ones

South America » Chile » Magallanes » Punta Arenas March 6th 2014

Long bus rides all worked smoothly despite the usual confused border crossings (out one, in the other, exit here, enter there, scan there, don't bother there, fill in these forms but you don't need that one, give that one there, this one here, that one's just for decoration etc etc). Evening arrival in PA leaves little chance for anything beyond a wee stroll around town before a good night's rest in a decent bed. Another sunny morning is with me as I type, the last bits being packed up, the short trip out to the airport and then three flights north, north east, north north east will land me back under the grey skies of Heathrow. Feels like a bit of a short dipping of the toe into South American trekking but it's been wonderful. The ... read more

South America » Chile » Magallanes » Punta Arenas March 4th 2014

I am writing this blog from the ferry on the way back from Isla Magdalena, an island in the middle of the Strait of Magellan that is home to a colony of penguins. The penguins are the main reason I came this far south (although I also wanted to see the Strait and gaze across at Tierra del Fuego). The two-hour boat ride to and from the island was great. I anticipated a cold, wet, windy ride, but the temps are in the 50's, there is no rain, and winds are mild (for this area of the world). Best of all the water is calm. I saw penguins almost immediately after the boat left the dock. They were out in the strait looking for fish. (See photo) Their numbers increased as we got closer to the ... read more

South America » Chile » Magallanes » Punta Arenas March 3rd 2014

The Academy Awards were shown here last night, but they were tape-delayed by 30 minutes and dubbed in Spanish! Of course I couldn't understand what was said, but it was an interesting sight to see the celebrities on the red carpet "speaking" a foreign language. This morning I walked around downtown Punta Arenas. It was a thrill to stand on the shores of the Strait of Magellan and look over to Tierra del Fuego. (See photo with cormorants and large ship) The town square has a statue dedicated to Magellan and legend has it that rubbing the foot of the Indian brings good luck. That's why his foot is so shiny. (See photo) I visited a couple of small local museums that are probably more interesting if you are, in fact, local. After lunch I walked ... read more

South America » Chile » Magallanes » Punta Arenas March 2nd 2014

I had originally planned to take it easy this morning because I had so much time until my flight, but I found I just couldn't do that. Instead I thought up a scheme to go see a museum that I had read about that is located west of the town center. The airport is also west of town and I calculated that I had enough time to make it if I used taxis. It worked out just about as I had planned and I got to see the Museum of Memory and Human Rights. Its theme is the coup of 1973 that put General Pinochet in power and the human rights violations that occurred under his regime. I remember this event because the coup was a source of outrage at the University of Michigan where I ... read more


South America » Chile » Magallanes » Punta Arenas February 22nd 2014

Long, long, long flights down bring the wanderer to the edge of the Magellan strait - the end of the world feeling is close. More to come some other time but lazy breakfast this morning before a long bus ride to Puerto Natales.... read more

South America » Chile » Magallanes » Punta Arenas December 7th 2013

December 7th, Saturday Punta Arenas. Rain and more rain. What is it about some animals that make them cuter than others??? Baby anything are cute. Well, except snakes and alligators--actually most reptiles come to really think on it. We think penguins fall into the cute category. Is it because they stand upright? Waddle funny? Look at you like they are really seeing you? Look like they are wearing miniature tuxes? Is it their little flipper arms or how they walk single file one following the other? All the above? Or is it just good press with movies like “March of the Penguins” or “Happy Feet.” Whatever it is about them, before we left home, we wanted to make sure we went to see one of the Magellen penguin colonies out of Punta Arenas. To be really ... read more
1312-160 The Otway Bay penguin trails
1312-161 Where the penguins live
1312-162 Looking into their burrow

South America » Chile » Magallanes » Punta Arenas April 22nd 2013

I am finally getting around to writing about the trip a couple friends and I took to Patagonia a little less than 2 weeks ago. It is funny though, because just this past weekend we took a trip to Buenos Aires, Argentina! But for my sanity, I am going to keep this blog in chronological order, and talk about this trip first. Then, hopefully in a couple days, I will “catch up” and post about the trip to Buenos Aires. So we left on a Wednesday night (April 10th) to go to Santiago and catch a plane to Punta Arenas. We briefly considered taking a bus, but it would have been about 30 hours each way, which, considering the time we had, didn’t seem to make much sense. So we flew and arrived in Punta Arenas ... read more
I caught the sun rising!
what a cutie!
Milodon Cave

South America » Chile » Magallanes » Punta Arenas April 20th 2013

12th April 2013, 5am start to the day catching the bus from Ushuaia to Punta Arenas a lot of which was on unpaved roads, 11 1/2 hours later including one boarder crossing and one ferry we arrived. Punta Arenas is a nice seaside town undergoing a huge amount of development at present. Every where in the down town and sea front area is being invested in, new paving, statues, benches, road surfacing, it is a nice town anyway with lots of cafes, restaurants, museums and churches, it would be interesting to see it once all the improvements have been made. We spent a day hiking to the Reserva Forestal Magallanes which is 8km from Punta Arenas, we were very lucky with the weather bright sunshine and not too much wind, then after leaving the reserve a ... read more
Punta Arenas
Reserva Forestal Magellanes
Reserva Forestal Magallanes

South America » Chile » Magallanes » Punta Arenas April 1st 2013

Ce n’est pas un poisson d’avril mais tous les bus de 10h pour Punta Arenas (à 3h de Puerto Natales) sont complets, donc le gars de l’auberge nous suggère l’auto-stop (les parents, ça se fait bien et c’est sûr au Chili), affirmant que nous n’aurons pas de souci : 2 filles, beau temps, voie passante. Je suis dubitative car c’est quand même lundi de Pâques, mais en fait, même pas un jour férié ici. Il nous imprime le panneau ‘Punta Arenas’ et c’est parti, nous nous dirigeons vers le point stratégique qu’il nous avait conseillé et effectivement même pas 2 min plus tard, nous voilà embarquées dans un pick-up flambant neuf avec deux Chiliens (dont un qui parle anglais, ouf) qui vont à l’aéroport. La route est encore une fois superbe. Nous avons même le temps ... read more
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