"Everything that could swim in the way of a boat was out to meet us."
Sir Ernest Shackleton. On arriving in Punta Arenas from Elephant Island by the Chilean naval vessel Yelcho.
If the word 'history' makes your eyelids droop, then think again...A new historic walking circuit in Punta Arenas, Chile brings to life the stories of Antarctic explorers and the role of Punta Arenas as Gateway to Antarctica. The commemorative plaques read like a who's who of Antarctic exploration, featuring the exploits of such greats as de Gerlache, Amundsen, Scott, Charcot, Shackleton and Byrd. To date 10 plaques have been installed. The circuit is located in the downtown core, within easy walking distance of hotels and provides a great morning or afternoon activity.
The historic circuit is being developed by the Chilean Antarctic Institute (Inach) as a way to highlight diverse Punta Arenas locations linked to Antarctic history and explorers and to preserve the memory of these heroic actions and people. The project aims to strengthen the Antarctic identity of Chile's southernmost region and, in particular, the fundamental role of Punta Arenas as a strategic gateway to the white continent.
For Shackleton Fans
Shackleton fans will want to include a visit to the Museo Naval y Marítimo (Pedro Montt 981) for an in-depth account of the Chilean mission that rescued Sir Ernest Shackleton's crew from Elephant Island, Antarctica. Or perhaps even take a jaunt out to Rio Seco, about 5 miles (8km) north of the city, to see the historic jetty where Shackleton eventually landed, after his epic boat journey to South Georgia.