Jump to: navigation, search

Welcome to Punta Arenas!

Skyline of Punta Arenas
City view from Cerro de la Cruz
Club Andino Ski Center
View of the sea from Club Andino
Sara Braun's palace
Punta Arenas main square
Sky view of Punta Arenas
Punta Arenas is also called "The middle point of Chile"
Arial view of Punta Arenas
Strait of Magellan dawn
Punta Arenas cementery
Romanche Glacier at Beagle Channel
Cordillera Darwin at Tierra del Fuego
Torres del Paine National Park at Chilean Pagatonia
Aurora Australis, very rare and more likely to be seen in June
Magellanic Penguins at Seno Otway
Tierra del Fuego

Main Page of IFMSA-Chile: Chile

Hello future exchange student and welcome to the southern city available in IFMSA for incomings students... Punta Arenas!. Yes, it is southern than Australia, New Zealand, any city available in Argentina or whatever other country you could imagine. He hope you like our snowy, windy, cold city, the pinguins and all the extreme calm and the pure air of Patagonia.

About Punta Arenas

Punta Arenas (literally in Spanish: "Sands Point" although real English speakers might know this as "Sandy Point") is the southernmost continental city in the world, and is considered the historic capital of Patagonia, as it is situated on the banks of the Strait of Magellan. It is this strategic location that eventually allowed for the colonization of these lands, transforming Punta Arenas into the chief port of the Patagonia region, and one of the most important ports in the world, up until the construction of the Panama Canal. It has a population of around 131,000

The city was founded on December 18th, 1848 primarily as a penal colony; co-inhabited by condemned prisoners, soldiers and civilians. Subsequently, during the early years of Punta Arenas there was some bloodshed and disorder, pointedly: the revolt of Change (1851) and the Revolt of the Artillery (1877). The latter revolt was an important movement that effectuated the end of the penal colony, which coincided with economic growth in the region.

In the early years of the city, the economu was based on the selling and trading of precious skins. This much sought after merchandise, was traded with the native Tehuelches, as well as the ships that passed through the Strait, forming a type of commerce that remained unchanged, until the arrival of European immigrants in the XIX century.

I was during this period that farming began, and eventually developed into the base of commercial activity. Thanks to this, some residents began to amass large fortunes. Becasuse of the boom in the cattle farming, or white gold, the Strait of Magellan grew to be the key waterway between the Pacific and Atlantic, and thus Punta Arenas transformed into the most important city in the Southern American region.

The economic boom ended abruptly due the construction of the Panama Canal and the beginning of World War I, which affected farming as much as it affected the passing of ships through the Strait. Later, the discovery of pretoleum would finally restore some of the economic strenght.

Today the economy is based on various industries, though the most important are: agriculture, commercial fishing, hydrocarbon mining and tourism.


Punta Arenas has an ocean-moderated climate. The seasonal temperature in Punta Arenas is greatly moderated by its proximity to the ocean, with average lows in July near −1 °C (30 °F) and highs in January of 14 °C (57 °F). This is not to say that it is known for stable constant temperatures, only small variability with season. Rainfall is most plentiful between April and May, and snow season goes all through Chilean winter (June until September). The average temperature does not descend below -1 °C (34 °F) except with the appearance of "polar waves" temperatures can drop to below -10°C (14 °F). Among Chileans the city is also known for its strong winds (up to 130 km/hour). Winds tend to be strongest during the summer; city officials have put up ropes between buildings in the downtown area to assist pedestrians with managing the strong downdrafts created in the area.

How to get here

By plane

Here we have Presidente Ibañez airport (IATA :PUQ). Is on the outskirts of the city with numerous connections to Puerto Montt and Santiago de Chile. Planes are met by taxis and transfer buses making it easy to transfer to downtown Punta Arenas in no more than a 15 minute ride.


By bus

There is not direct overland connection between Santiago de Chile and Punta Arenas- Certain sections of the highway require border crossings in and out of Argentina. The distance can be travelled in bus, via public buses that connect through various cities in Chile.

By ship

It is feasible to get to Punta Arenas by way of ship on one of many companies.

Local Transportation

Punta Arenas concentrates a large automobile park - more than 200 000 cars, so the faster and more frequent service is cab service, covering the various stations of the city, taking routes through strategic points such as the financial district and downtown, hospitals and clinics, points of commerce, universities and colleges, as well as for home routes . After bidding the year 2009, which sought to improve, expand and organize a fleet of micro -buses , which prior to this , was virtually nonexistent in the regional capital , the company Gasco Magallanes , proposes an ambitious and innovative plan urban transport , called " Movigas " which consists of a system of micro -buses , south manufacturing Korean , and engines with advanced technology , running on CNG (Compressed Natural Gas ) , complying with standards Euro V , so since 2010 , Punta Arenas has the international quality system .


Hospitals for Professional Exchange

Hospital Clínico Magallanes


Social Program

  • Punta Arenas city tour
  • International dinner
  • Torres del Paine trip
  • Seno otway tour
  • "Club Andino" Ski center in winter months
  • Trip to Tierra del Fuego

Get around the city


  • Port area.
  • La Cruz Hill (Cerro de la Cruz viewpoint) gives a panoramic view of the city. It is a 10 minute walk from Plaza de Armas.
  • Austral Brewery. The southernmost brewery in the world, where you can enjoy the traditional production process and a beer tasting session. It's located at 508 Patagonia St.
  • Regional Museum, with historical artifacts and part of the Braun-Menéndez Mansion.
  • Museo del Recuerdo, with an outstanding collection of old steam engines, horsecarts, cars, historic houses furnished in the 1875s style and farm implements.
  • Patagonian faros.
  • Sight walles on Carlos III Island.
  • The Sheperd's monument is a traditional monument located in Bulnes Av. 11 blocks away from Plaza de Armas. It is one of the many traditional places of the city.
  • Maggiorino Borgatello Museum, a Salesian Society museum of natural history and pre-Hispanic ethnic groups.
  • Punta Arenas Cemetery, dates back to 1840's, with many local aristocratic families, English and Croatian inmigrants. It's famous for its magnificent mausoleums, architectural construction and shaped pine trees.
  • Nao Victoria Museum, is a brand new museum, aiming to rebuild the most important ships for the discovery and the colonazation of the territories along the Stait of Magellan. It hosts 3 replicas: Nao Victoria (Magellan's ship), James Caird (Shackleton's lifeboat) and Schooner Ancud (first boat to send settlers from Chile to the Strait of Magellan). Recently the museum announced the building of the 4th ship, the HMS Beagle. You can visit the construction site and even help out if you wish to.

Out of town:

  • The "Seno Otway" penguin colony north of Punta Arenas is a place where each spring hundreds of Magellanic Penguins come home to their birth place to breed. Many travel agencies offer day trips from Punta Arenas that leave you very little time at the colony, so it's best if you have your own car.
  • There's also a bigger colony of penguins on Isla Magdalena. This island is reachable by ferries and company "Austral Trans Broom" sells tickets at the port (which is 10-15 minutes to city center by car). Tickets can be reserved the same day and are sold 30-45 minutes before departure. Reservation is not obligatory but most hotels can do a reservation for you. The total tour takes 5 hours: 2 hours there, 1 hour on the island and 2 hours back. There's No additional fee for to enter the island, just the ferry ticket.
  • Rey Jorge Island Natural Sea Park (whale observation).
  • Fuerte Bulnes, a historical reconstruction of the site where Chile took possesion of the Magellan Strait.
  • Torres del Paine National Park, near Puerto Natales.
  • Seno Skyring
  • Puerto del Hambre, an early Spanish colony which failed and under the name of Port Famine became a Royal Navy base. It was here that Captain Pringle Stokes, the captain of HMS Beagle, shot himself in his cabin due to severe depression and temporary command was given to Lieutenant W.G. Skyring. Stokes' fatal depression was attributed to the boring nature of the local geography.
  • Fauna Patagónica "Estancia Lolita," a beautiful place for watching different species of native animals and birds.
  • Visit Pali Aike National Park.


Ski, Torres del Paine Trekking, visit Porvenir (by ferry) or Puerto Natales (by bus).


There’s a small open market ("feria") for tourist type merchandise downtown. You can find department stores, supermarkets and many shops (like Timberland and The North face) in Bories Street.

There is a large outlet mall in the outskirts of the city, called "Zona Franca", a duty free zone, with hypermarkets, perfume, clothing and outdoor stores. Recently opened, also in the outskirts of the city, Mall Espacio Urbano Pionero (Pioneer Urban Space Mall) offers 3 department stores (Falabella, Ripley and La Polar), food court, shopping stores and "Lider" hypermarket.

  • Open Market. Muñoz Gamero Main Square, Downtown.
  • Commerce. Bories St, Downtown.
  • Zona Franca Outlet Mall. Km 3 1/2 Norte, Bulnes Av.
  • Espacio Urbano Pionero Mall. 01110, Eduardo Frei Av.


  • Dino's Pizza. 557, Bories St. Locally famous pizza and sandwich restaurant. Try the delicious ruibarb juice or a "Barros Luco" (a beef and cheese sandwich).
  • Kiosko Roca. Presidente Julio Roca Blvd. cnr Lautaro Navarro Street. A very small place near the Main Square. Here you can eat "choripanes", a small sandwich filled with chorizo paste and home-made mayonnaise and "leche con plátano" a milk beverage with the addition of bananas. The food is so good that the place is full almost all day.
  • "La Chocolatta" 852 Bories St. A grandma-style café, very cozy and usually full, serves a big variety of homemade chocolates, ice-creams, tea, and coffe.
  • La luna (The moon). 1017, O'Higgins St. Special CuIsPartOfe made with fresh regional products. Its specialties are seafood and lamb.
  • Puerto Viejo Seafood and Grill. 1166, O'Higgins St. . Fresh and savory food focusing on fish and seafood, and a variety of grill dishes that includes the famous Magellian lamb.
  • Hotel Cabo de Hornos (Cape Horn Hotel) Bar/Lounge & Restaurant: 1039, Muñoz Gamero Square (Main Square St.). In the bar, try the famous Chilean wine, while you enjoy the warmth of a fireplace. In the restaurant, you will find the best local products prepared with the greatest delicacy. Or, if you prefer, you can enjoy international cuIsPartOfe of the highest level, prepared with variations each day to create a superb and ample menu designed to satisfy the most demanding palate.
  • El Remezón Restaurant. 1469, 21 de mayo St. Magellian Ethnic Food in a warm environment.
  • The city is also known for the number of Cafés that you can find, for example:
  • Cyrano Café. Bulnes St. with Maipú St. Enjoy a faboulous "Twinnings" teapot or one of its varieties of coffee or chocolate drinks with some local pastries. In spite of the bad spelling of this review, this place actually has good coffee and wi-fi access.
  • Santo Remedio. 040, Bulnes St. Local Pastries. It becomes a pub in the evening, with good "tablas" and "picoteos".
  • "La Marmita" has trendy decor, awesome food, and an all around great atmosphere. An awesome place to relax with friends or family after a day of activity. Great find in a city like PA. Great choice for veggies.
  • "Jekus A restaurant/pub with good service and creatively decorated inside with beautiful wood carvings. They also have a good selection of wines and beers. Unfortunately the food is boring with soup from packets not quite disolved yet and basic meat and potatos mains.


  • "1900 Pub" In the centre of the city, its a small place nearby the Tierra Del Fuego Hotel.
  • "Bull Blood" Nice environment, with great drinks and food. It has a small dance hall and karaoke all night.
  • "Kamikaze Club and Madero Pub" Japanese WWII-themed nightclub may be unusual but makes for an entertaining evening. Mixture of Western / Latin and Reggaton music, played into the early hours and attended by enthusiastic locals and tourists alike. . On top of it, you can find the "Madero Pub", with karaoke and live music.
  • "Notre Dame" A nice place to have a drink with friends, this place gets busy every day after about 12pm. Karaoke on the main floor Friday and Saturday nights
  • "Olijoe Pub" A traditional local venue, it has a big bar made of wood from the signature regional tree called "lenga".
  • "Santino Bar e Cucina" With a stunning decor, it offers quality Italian food and good drinks. Live Music on Saturdays.

Go Around

  • 'Antarctica'. Believe it or not, from Punta Arenas is possible to enjoy the natural wonders of Antarctica. The fastest way to get there is by plane, where visitors will cross the Drake Passage to get to King George island, where most part of the scientific camps based in Antarctica are concentrated, including the Chilean village "Villa Las Estrellas". During the tour, visitors can see astonishing landscapes of the white continent, watch some of its fauna living in the area and learn about the life of those who live in this territory, working on behalf of science and research development.
  • Tierra del Fuego. You can also take a ferry to Porvenir, in Tierra del Fuego. There is usually one leaving in the mornings and another one leaving Porvenir in the afternoons. Make sure the schedules before going to the port which is located NE of the downtown.