Cruises to Punta Arenas

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

About Cruising to 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. The city has become one of the most popular stops on a cruise itinerary to Chile.

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 Cruise to Punta Arenas?

  • Punta Arenas Cruise Port Facilities?

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Norwegian Star
Norwegian Star

14 Night
South America - Buenos Aires

2,599 Reviews
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Sapphire Princess
Sapphire Princess (Photo: Princess Cruises)

14 Night
South America Cruise

1,027 Reviews
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Viking Jupiter
Viking Jupiter Aquavit Terrace (Photo: Viking Ocean Cruises)

17 Night
South America & The Chilean Fjords

440 Reviews
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Majestic Princess
Majestic Princess TA Listings Page Image

15 Night
South America Cruise

739 Reviews
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MSC Cruises

51 Night
South America Cruise

739 Reviews
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17 Night
Antarctica Cruise

1,027 Reviews
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150 Night
150 Night World Cruise

394 Reviews
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14 Night
South America Cruise

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Cruise Critic Favorite

31 Night
Panama Canal Inca & South America Discovery

1,096 Reviews
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24 Night
South America Cruise

823 Reviews
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32 Night
South America Cruise

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Cruise Critic Favorite

22 Night
South America & Antarctica

1,096 Reviews
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52 Night
South Pacific Cruise

12 Reviews
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Cruise Critic Favorite

22 Night
South America & Antarctica

1,096 Reviews
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17 Night
South America & The Chilean Fjords

440 Reviews
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More about Punta Arenas

Why Cruise 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 caf?. 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. 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
Having been to Costa Rica before, Punta Arenas is not a good example of Costa Rica. The town is small and not much of it, so I would recommend an excursion in Punta Arenas. We took a cruise excursion to the EspírRead More
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ewlj
We primarily visited the town of Punta Arenas. The town is beautiful and well laid-out. We had lunch on shore and enjoyed the sights of the town. Read More
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wbeeman
Quark's "Fly the Drake" expedition departs by charter flight from Punta Arenas to King George Island. I arrived a day early to explore Punta Arenas. First night stayed at the Hotel Almasur, second night at the DreamsRead More
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chrismcneil
Walked to the statue of Magellan and around part of this big city. Read More
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TallBlindGuy

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