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Cruises to Punta Arenas

133 Reviews
Punta Arenas (Photo:Pablo Rogat/Shutterstock)

About Punta Arenas

Punta Arenas is no longer the important stop on South America trade routes it once was, but the gateway to Chilean Patagonia still has some stuff to strut: a couple of penguin colonies, a trippy municipal cemetery and some surprisingly good restaurant choices.

With roughly 150,000 inhabitants, Punta Arenas – or Sandy Point – bills itself as the southernmost city on the planet. (The far smaller Ushuaia, Argentina, a day's cruise away, is the southernmost "town.") And if it feels like you're in the middle of nowhere, that's because you are.

Looking out over the Strait of Magellan, this windswept shore marks the dividing line between Patagonia to the north with its maze of fjords, rivers, steppes and mountains, and, to the south, the great frozen mass of Antarctica.

Until the Panama Canal was built in 1914, the Strait of Magellan was the main shipping route for commercial vessels traveling between the Atlantic and the Pacific. At the same time, it was also a major world supplier of wool. Today, as the center of Chile's only oil reserves and more than half of its lamb production, the region has rediscovered some of its previous grandeur. It doesn't hurt, either, that dozens of cruise ships call on Punta Arenas between November and March, the summer high season.

  • More about Punta Arenas

  • Why go to Punta Arenas?

  • Punta Arenas Cruise Port Facilities?

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Cruise Critic Favorite
Norwegian Star
Norwegian Star

14 Night
South America - Buenos AiresDetails

2,493 Reviews
Leaving:Buenos Aires
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Norwegian Star
Norwegian Star

14 Night
South America - SantiagoDetails

2,493 Reviews
Leaving:San Antonio
Cruise Line:Norwegian Cruise Line
Jan 1, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Oosterdam
Oosterdam

31 Night
Panama Canal, Inca & South America DiscoveryDetails

1,037 Reviews
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Nov 15, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Celebrity Infinity
Celebrity Infinity (Photo: Celebrity)

12 Night
Argentina & Patagonia CruiseDetails

1,591 Reviews
Leaving:Buenos Aires
Cruise Line:Celebrity Cruises
Mar 11, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Virgin Voyages

150 Night
150 Night World CruiseDetails

375 Reviews
Leaving:Miami
Cruise Line:Regent Seven Seas Cruises
Jan 7, 2025
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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32 Night
South America CruiseDetails

983 Reviews
Leaving:Buenos Aires
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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14 Night
South America PassageDetails

1,037 Reviews
Leaving:Buenos Aires
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Mar 10, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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14 Night
South America PassageDetails

1,037 Reviews
Leaving:Buenos Aires
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Mar 5, 2024
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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17 Night
South America & The Chilean FjordsDetails

333 Reviews
Leaving:Santiago
Cruise Line:Viking Ocean Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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14 Night
South America CruiseDetails

983 Reviews
Leaving:San Antonio
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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20 Night
South America CruiseDetails

730 Reviews
Leaving:San Antonio
Cruise Line:Oceania Cruises
Feb 7, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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14 Night
South America PassageDetails

1,037 Reviews
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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14 Night
South America PassageDetails

1,037 Reviews
Leaving:Santiago
Cruise Line:Holland America Line
Feb 24, 2023
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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Cruise Critic Favorite

15 Night
Chilean Fjords VoyageDetails

696 Reviews
Leaving:Buenos Aires
Cruise Line:Azamara
Jan 7, 2024
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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16 Night
Antarctica CruiseDetails

983 Reviews
Leaving:Buenos Aires
Cruise Line:Princess Cruises
Jan 4, 2024
No prices currently available for this sailing.
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More about Punta Arenas

Why go to Punta Arenas?

Pros:

A good base for tours to penguin colonies, Torres del Paine National Park and even Antarctica

Cons:

Not a ton to do in this tender port city; tours can be long and pricy if flights are needed

Bottom Line:

For bucket list cruisers, Punta Arenas is a jumping-off point for memorable adventures

Punta Arenas Cruise Port Facilities?

The yellow marine terminal has restrooms, a coffee shop, souvenir stands and an internet café. Just around the corner from it is a nice handicrafts shop that also offers a respectable selection of Chilean wines. Other than that, there's not much to hang around for.

Good to Know?

While the vendors in Plaza Munoz Gamero offer a decent price point for their locally made goods, make sure you are in fact "buying local" and not purchasing a Chinese knockoff. Also, quite a few stray dogs tend to hang around the square, which can be a bit offputting. And don't even think about bringing ashore dairy products or any other consumable fresh food item or they will be confiscated upon arrival by agriculture department inspectors.



Getting Around?

With its compact grid, Punta Arenas is imminently walkable. Plaza Munoz Gamero is a 10- or 15-minute walk or a $5 taxi ride. To get there from the terminal, walk up the hill one block on Avenida Independencia, then turn right on 21 de Mayo and continue for three blocks. The cathedral, museums, restaurants and main shopping avenue, Avenida Bories, all spin right off the square. There's also a tourism kiosk in the plaza, offering maps and other helpful brochures.



Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

Chile's currency is the peso. Visit www.oanda.com for current rates and a handy cheat sheet that fits nicely into a wallet. ATM's, and there are several located off the city's central plaza, tend to be the cheapest way to acquire pesos. However, there's no need to bulk up on local currency. Most sidewalk vendors, taxis, museums, restaurants and shops accept U.S. dollars and some will take euros. Credit cards are widely accepted as well.

Language?

Spanish. Very little English is spoken – even in museums and restaurants. Those eateries that do cater to tourists often have English translations on the menu.

Where You're Docked?

Passengers are ferried into town aboard tenders, a 10-minute ride.


Punta Arenas Cruise Reviews
Costa Rica stop,be prepared for the cultural differences in those that have a good standard of living and those that have notRead More
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Pyer
Took a walk around the town. Had some interesting view points and the cemetery was really beautiful.Read More
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Rude1
We used a van for our group and toured around the cityRead More
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Greyhorse
So much graffiti every where.Read More
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PBennett13

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