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Punta Arenas, Chile

Your departure point for Antarctica

All of our trips depart from the city of Punta Arenas, at the southern tip of Chile. Please arrive in Punta Arenas at least two full days prior to your scheduled departure to allow time for equipment checks and a logistics and environmental briefing. These final checks are important to ensure you are well prepared for your Antarctic adventure. Arriving early also provides a buffer in case you miss a flight connection or have lost luggage. We collect your luggage and load the aircraft one day prior to your scheduled departure, then 'stand-by' for suitable weather for our flight.

Expect to spend a few extra days in Punta Arenas as weather delays are common. Below you will find information about our Punta Arenas office, the city and its attractions and hotels.

Our Punta Arenas Team and Office

Our Punta Arenas office operates seasonally and provides support for our Antarctic operations. Our knowledgeable and bi-lingual staff are always happy to help. We will welcome you to Punta Arenas, provide an orientation to your Antarctica adventure, stay in touch until you board the aircraft to Antarctica, and be there to welcome you on your return. More about Our Team.

The Southernmost City on Earth

Punta Arenas (pop. 120,000) is located at the southern tip of mainland Chile. Windswept, spectacular countryside surrounds the city. Fjords and glaciers lie to the west, grasslands to the east, and overhead the skies are ever-changing. Tierra del Fuego, the land of fire, lies just across the legendary Magellan Straits. The city is an eclectic mix of colonial architecture and colorful metal rooftops; modern stores and street vendors; windswept trees and wide avenues. Spanish is spoken, though early settlers came from many countries including Croatia, Scotland and Germany.

Hotels

Punta Arenas offers a range of accommodation from basic hostels to full service hotels. Book early as you will be traveling in high season and keep in mind that you may need to extend your stay. Our recommended hotels go 'the extra mile' to accommodate ANI guests who need to extend reservations due to flight delays. All of these hotels are located in the city center. Our Salt Lake City office will be happy to make reservations for you at no charge.

Local Attractions

Fort Bulnes, the Sara Braun mansion and other museums tell stories of turn-of-the-century settlers, wool barons and indigenous peoples. Magellanic penguins peer from their nest burrows on the shores of Ottway Sound. Spectacular views await the avid hiker atop the local ski hill. And don't miss the breathtaking glaciers and granite towers of nearby Torres del Paine National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Local tour companies offer tours with English speaking guides ranging from several hours to several days. For those with more urban interests, you can take in a movie; check your email at one of many internet cafes; get a workout at the climbing gym; shop for Chilean wines and souvenirs at artisan stalls and stores or dance the night away at the discos. Just remember that your flight may depart early in the morning!

Gateway to Antarctica

Punta Arenas has a long association with Antarctica, from early whalers and maritime navigation to the great explorers Amundsen, Scott, Shackleton and Byrd. A new historic walking circuit preserves these memories and provides a great half-day activity. Read more...

Photos from Flickr:
Downtown Punta Arenas
Jose Nogueira hotel
Punta Arenas Cathedral
Plaza de Armas, Punta Arenas city center
Magellan's statue
Kissing the native's toe for a safe return
Street market
Rooftops and cruiseship
A painted house
The old...
...and the new, Costanera and Dreams hotel
United States Antarctic Program Icebreakers in Port
Street musicians
Public art on the Costanera
Clothing and equipment check
Punta Arenas briefing
Punta Arenas briefing
Weighing luggage
Luggage pick up
Kids at the lookout, Cerro de la Cruz
Hiking the ski hill
On the chairlift
Wreck in the harbor, Magellan Straits
Having fun by the water
ANI warehouse in Punta Arenas
Loading the ANI aircraft
Airport arrival
The departure lounge
Thumbs up for departure
Boarding ANI's Ilyushin for Antarctica