The last stop on my trip to Peru and Chile was Punta Arenas, Chile on The Strait of Magellan. This was my base for visits to Fort Bulnes, the Nao Victoria Museum, and Patagonia.
Other posts about this trip:
Punta Arenas is the capitol of the Magallanes and Antarctica Region of Chile. It has a population of just over 125,000. It is the largest city in the world below the 46th parallel south. The coast of Antarctica is a mere 881 miles distant.
Punta Arenas has several smaller plazas and parks as well.
Fort Bulnes (Fuerte Bulnes)
Fort Bulnes was the first Chilean outpost on the Estrecho de Magallanes. Chile built this fort in 1843 to solidify its claim on the strait.
There are guided tours (en espanol).
After a few years, Fort Bulnes was abandoned because of the harsh weather. A new settlement was established at Punta Arenas.
Not far from the fort is a marker denoting the spot that is halfway between the northern border of Chile and the geographic south pole.
There are many other sights to see in Punta Arenas including the cemetery with a memorial to the crew of the German battleship Graf Spee that was sunk in the battle of the Falklands in 1914, Magdalena Island home to more than 120,000 penguins and a colony of sea lions, and a wonderful maritime museum with replicas of Magellan’s Nao Victoria, Darwin’s H.M.S. Beagle and other vessels. I was unable to go to Magdalena Island due to high winds.
In the summer (December to April), it is also possible to take a flight to Antarctica. I would love to return for that.