ACTIVITIES IN PUNTA ARENAS AND TIERRA DEL FUEGO
In the southernmost region of Chile we can discover wonderful landscapes, unique mountain ranges, glassy lakes, towering glaciers and snowdrifts and fjords of Patagonian canal, as well as flora and fauna adapted to the extreme climatic conditions of the area.
Because of its wealth of natural areas, it is ideal for all kinds of outdoor activities like hiking, sailing, mountain climbing, mountain biking, kayaking, photography, and many other things.
It is worth taking the cultural tours where you can see the history of gold mining and oil exploration in addition to the culture of the settlers, especially Croats who came to settle in Tierra del Fuego.
The city of Porvenir, with its Cordero Rusque Museum is another must see attraction because it was the culture and background of the selknam and onas, the first inhabitants of the island which began to diminish with the arrival of Europeans into their territory.
One of the most beautiful places is Alberto de Agostini National Park, where the Cordillera de Darwin is located, with Magellanic forests in both slopes and immense glaciers and snowfields on the peaks; it is an area to completely appreciate the unspoiled nature of Southern Chile.
Cabo de Horno reminds us that many sailors risked and lost their lives while trying to conquer the unpredictable waters of one of the wildest areas of the world where the winds reach high velocities and the waves push boats into the rocky fjords.
Hundreds of species of native wildlife live in this natural beauty such as the Chilean flamingos, various types of penguins and whales, sea lions and elephant seals, cormorants, seagulls, shore plovers, great albatrosses and petrels, to name a few.
Punta Arenas, the capital of the Magallanes region, shows an industrialized and modern city, which stands out for the high activity of its port, the presence of a tax free zone where commercial products without tax can be bought and multiple historic sites that show the stages from its inauguration to its present day.
In Punta Arenas we can not fail to mention the large presence of Croatian descendant settlers who arrived in this city between nineteenth century and early twentieth century, bringing their knowledge and job growth into the area. In honor of them you can visit the Monumento al Inmigrante Croata (Monument of Croatian Immigrants).
Other sculptures that can be seen in the city are the Monumento al Ovejero, honoring workers in sheep ranches, and the Hernando de Magallanes Monument, who discovered the south end as well as a Indian Ona figure, giving recognition to the indigenous people of Tierra del Fuego.
Other historic sites that we can find in Punta Arenas are the Fuerte Bulnes (Bulnes Fort), built in the nineteenth century to protect the sovereignty of the territory and Puerto Hambre, located in Bahia Buena, where a city was built in 1584, but its inhabitants died from lack of food.
In Punta Arenas there are spectacular natural surroundings, especially to know and observe the native fauna and Magellan penguins. Some of the most important colonies of these birds are found in the Penguin Colony of Seno Otway and Isla Magdalena and Isla Santa Marta, where the Monumento Natural Los Pinguinos is found.
In both sectors thousands of penguins arrive every year to nest and you can learn about their habits and observe the development of their young.
In the Isla Carlos III (Carlos III Island) on the other hand we find the Francisco Coloane National Park, dedicated to humpback whales that swim in the waters of the Estrecho de Magallanes to finish their trip in Antarctic waters.
Because of this, we cannot fail to mention the ultimate destination in the south of Chile which is Chilean Antarctic Territory. It is located more than 900 kilometers away from Punta Arenas. Several cruise ships sail from its dock to go into the cold waters of the Antarctic, which is composed of the South Shetland Islands, the Antarctic Peninsula, among other territories.
Note, that in the Chilean Antarctic Peninsula a great quantity of international bases is located, because of the favorable weather conditions found in this area.