Punta Arenas (pop. 110,000), on the Strait of Magellan, is located near the very end of the South American continent. This red-and-blue-roofed city, sloping gently from foothill to docks, bustles with prosperity as center of one of the world’s largest sheep ranching areas. Excursions can be made from Punta Arenas to penguin colonies, and Torres del Paine National Park. The city is also home port for many cruises serving Patagonia and Antarctica.
When to go
Best time is November-April, when days are longer and a little warmer. Although Patagonia’s weather is unpredictable, summer (December-March) is characterized by sunny days and cool nights with temperatures ranging from 40F to 60F.
• Penguin Colonies: From October to March it is possible to visit colonies of Magellan penguins in Otway Sound and on Magdalena Island.
• Patagonian Cruises: Ships depart weekly to Ushuaia sailing the Strait of Magellan along the “Avenue of Glaciers”.