10 Best Things to Do in Punta Arenas, Chile

10 Best Things to Do in Punta Arenas

My trip to Punta Arenas came as a total surprise… in no less than 2 ways!

To start with, I had no idea I was actually going to be in Punta Arenas at all!

I’d booked a flight from Santiago in Chile to Mount Pleasant in the Falkland Islands, but didn’t realise this actually involved a stop in Punta Arenas airport at all!

First surprise.

Second surprise was when I found out that my onward flight to the Falklands was actually delayed by 12 hours!

Which meant I was left with 2 options – 1. sit in the tiny Punta Arenas airport, or 2. head out of the airport and explore this city that sits at the edge of southern Chile, on the edge of Patagonia.

No brainer really!

So I grabbed a couple of fellow Falklander travellers also on my flight and into Punta Arenas we headed.

And after spending an amazing day in this city, here’s my list of the best things to do in Punta Arenas…


Chile, Punta Arenas, Me on Seafront


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#1 Try Choripan at Kiosco Roca

Chile, Punta Arenas, Choripan

And the first thing I did into Punta Arenas was head to this city’s most famous establishment to try its most famous food.

Choripan is a classic food delicacy in Punta Arenas.

Essentially a spicy sausage and salsa sandwich served with a banana milkshake, although it’s a bizarre-sounding combination, my meat-eating travel buddies told me was delicious!

I opted for the veggie version, which was offered with cheese, and it was a great way to fill up after an early morning flight.

It was also fab to check out Kiosco Roca.

A real local establishment, it was wonderful to sit up at the bar here and see the hustle and bustle of every day life going on around us.

As the only tourists there, it was easy to tell this is definitely a much-loved Punta Arenas establishment, which everyone in this small city seems to frequent for their choripan at lunch!


#2 Walk along the Seafront to See Historical Statues

Chile, Punta Arenas, Monument

And after Kiosk Roca, it’s just a short walk to the waterfront promenade of Punta Arenas for some fresh air – one of the best palces in this city to walk off your choripan!

A lovely pedestrianized place for a stroll, with some epic ocean views, it’s crazy to think the next landmass you’ll reach across the waves is Antarctica!

You really do feel like you’re at the end of the world… and in many ways, you are!

All along the seafront there are historical status that tell the story of Punta Arenas, including that of the Monument of the Lost Pilot, the Monument to the Crew of the Galeta Ancud and the green Port Clock.


#3 Check out the Street Art

Chile, Punta Arenas, Street Art

Also along this seafront is the Museum of Urban Architecture, or in Spanish Mural Arquitectonico Urbano.

A large mural painted across several buildings on the side of the road opposite the sea, the art here tells of the story of the community of this city, in particular the traditional industry of fishing that sustained it for centuries.

Featuring people of the city and the cobbled streets that were here historically, it’s well worth taking the time to wander along and see this huge street art mural.




#4 Climb Up to Mirador Cerro de la Cruz

Chile, Punta Arenas, Mirador Cerro de la Cruz

And the next place to head for a stroll is away from the seafront, on the other side of the centre of Punta Arenas, to check out the elevated viewpoint that lies at the back of this city.

Called the Mirador Cerro de la Cruz, otherwise known as the lookout of the summit of the cross or the Mirador la Cruz hill viewpoint, this spot offers a stunning panoramic view of the city and the bay beyond, and can be reached by walking up the streets called Monseñor Jose Fagnano.

At the top here you’ll see some stairs leading up to the white cross and the viewing platform.

After you’ve taken your snaps here, I also recommend heading back down the steps and then turning right at the bottom to walk along Almte. Manuel Señoret a little.

Here you can see the Signs of the World lamppost and also get lovely views over the Punta Arenas’ colourful buildings and the Atlantic Ocean beyond.


#5 Visit the Plaza De Armas

Chile, Punta Arenas, Plaza des Armas

After enjoying the lookout, the next thing to do in Punta Arenas is to head to the Plaza de Armas – the central plaza here and a great place to soak in a few rays.

The city’s main square, this a lovely place to people watch and take some shade under the pine trees.

At the centre of the square stands a memorial to Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan.


#6 Explore Palacio Sara Braun

Chile, Punta Arenas, Sara Braun

A beautiful heritage building from the late 19th century, which looks like something straight out of Paris, this glamorous-looking palatial mansion can be found along the street Juez Waldo Seguel.

A museum dedicated to Latvian born, former Chilean business woman, Sara Braun, it also tells the story of life in Patagonia in the previous century.

An impressive and stand-out building, there’s also a restaurant here too where you can enjoy a fab dinner.


#7 Visit the Museums

Chile, Punta Arenas, Museum

And talking of historical buildings, another of the top things to do in Punta Arenas is visit the city’s museums.

From the Regional Museum of Magallanes (Museo Regional de Magallanes) and the Naval and Maritime Museum, through to the Museum of Maggiorino Borgatello, the Museum of Remembrance (filled bizarrely with a collection of antique farm equipment!) and even a Coffee Museum, there’s more than enough choice here to keep you entertained for an afternoon.


Chile, Punta Arenas, View




#8 Check out the Chocolate Café

And talking of coffee, checking out some of the lovely cafes in Punta Arenas is certainly one of the best things to do in the city.

The Chocolate Café was one of my favs and perfect for a sneaky treat of churros and chocolate caliente late in the afternoon.

You can also paid on card here, which is helpful if you’re only in Punta Arenas (or Chile) for a short amount of time.

And talking of food, other great places to eat in Punta Arenas are the French restaurant La Cuisine (good steak and rare tuna), the Smokehouse (near La Cuisine) for the meat eaters among you and the Glass Hotel for a top buffet breakfast.


#9 Scope Out the Cemetery of Punta Arenas

Chile, Punta Arenas, Cemetery

And now it’s time to head out of Punta Arenas a little and the check out the local cemetery here, which lies on the outskirts of the city.

A rather bizarre attraction, this is actually one of the best things to do in this part of the world!

Like Recoleta Cemetery in Buenos Aires, although slightly less grand (and without Eva Peron!), this cemetery does have a similar feel with lots of stone family crypts arranged in avenues lined with gorgeous large trees.


#10 Day Trip to Magdalena Island

Falklands, Pebble Island, Magellanic Penguin

And finally, last on this list of the 10 best things to do in Punta Arenas is to take a day trip from city to explore the stunning region around.

And the best day trip to take in my opinion is to Isla Magdalena.

A small island in the Strait of Magellan (part of Chilean Patagonia), this is a national reserve area that is occupied year round by a small groups of rangers and hundreds of Magellan penguins.

In fact, this island boasts the second largest Magellanic penguin colony in South America and receives more than 120,000 penguins every year!

If you visit in the Spring, then you can see most of them nesting, as well as watch Patagonian sea lions, Elephants seals, cormorants and more.

Not a full day trip, but rather a half day one, a boat trip takes around 45 minutes from the city of Punta Arenas and you can expect to spend around an hour on the island.

Check out this top-rated tour for more info.


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Mini Travel Guide to Punta Arenas

Chile, Punta Arenas, World Sign

Best Time to Visit Punta Arenas

Located right at the bottom of South America, the best time to visit Punta Arenas is during the summer months of November, December and January.

The weather here can be wild and even when I visited in the summer, it was windy and cold, despite the sun being very strong – bring sunscreen, sunglasses and a windproof coat!

In the winter, it’s cold, wet and windy here, making the area hard to explore, so I’d avoid!


Punta Arenas Airport

The Punta Arenas airport is fairly small, although it does have a number of cafes, small shops and several departure gates.

As always, flight deals can be found on Skyscanner.

The airport is actually international – because flights to the Falkland Islands and Argentina depart from here – and is located about a 20 minute drive from the city centre of Punta Arenas.

Taxis and buses run between the airport and downtown.

I paid £13 for a taxi into the city.

Uber is illegal here, but does operate covertly, so I used Uber to get back to the airport, as it was easier than trying to find a taxi from the Punta Arenas cemetery where I finished my day.


Where to Stay in Punta Arenas

Located in the centre of the city, Hotel Boutique La Yegua Loca has great staff, excellent comfort scores and comes highly recommended.


How to Get Around Punta Arenas inc to Torres Del Paine National Park

The best way to get around the city centre of Punta Arenas is to walks.

You can then use taxis to get to the airport and back.

For trips to destinations further away, such as Torres del Paine and Puerto Natales, it’s best to rent a car.

As always I recommend DiscoverCars for the job.


Travel Insurance for Chile

World Nomads offers simple and flexible travel insurance. Buy at home or while travelling and claim online from anywhere in the world.

Alternatively, if you’re a long-term traveller, digital nomad or frequent remote worker seeking travel health cover, check out Safetywing’s Nomad Insurance policies.


Travel Money for Chile

The currency here is the Chilean Peso.

The easy way to spend abroad with real exchange rates, no markups and no sneaky transaction fees, I always travel with my Wise card.

It works just like a debit card… and it links easily with Google and Apple pay – sold! Grab yours here.


eSIM for Chile

I highly recommend aloSIM for avoiding high roaming charges when in Chile.



Top 10 Things to Do in Punta Arenas, Chile


And there you have it, my list of the 10 best things to do in Punta Arenas.

have you visited this Chilean city?

What did you enjoy doing there?

Tell me all in the comments box below…


My trip to the Falkland Islands was kindly sponsored by Falkland Island tourism but, as always, all views are my own.

This page contains affiliate links meaning Big World Small Pockets may receive a small commission on any purchases at no extra cost to you.


2 thoughts on “10 Best Things to Do in Punta Arenas, Chile

  1. Peter says:


    I love Punta Arenas and have spent many stopovers there whilst travelling between the Falklands and Chile. I think you’ve covered most of the main attractions. Do you mention the great connection between the city and Ernest Shackleton? Thanks for sharing.

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