Our gateway airport into Southern Patagonia was the Chilean city of Punta Arenas. Other than being able to say we saw the Straight of Magellan, which is the body of water keeping Antarctica at bay from South America, I can’t say I was impressed with this little town. We only spent an afternoon and evening here but even that was more than enough. It lacks charm. It felt like a transient town and the locals know it and they really don’t want to do anything to keep travelers there longer than necessary.
In hindsight, we suggest flying into El Calafate International Airport in Argentina and using that as your jumping off spot for Southern Patagonia. Do note if you rent a car, there are crazy fees when taking your rental car back and forth across the Argentina and Chile border. This is one of those times when a bus might be the easiest solution for cross-border travel.
Punta Arenas – Around Town
The best thing that happened to us during our few hours traipsing around town was the discovery of Austral beer. It’s delicious. And they have a brewery in town that does tours from 3:00 PM – 5:00 PM. You can walk there or take a cab.
The other aspects that I liked were the two restaurants we ate at for lunch and dinner. Lunch was spent at the adorable restaurant, La Marmite in town a little off the path. Tasty and we definitely recommend this place.
For dinner, we ventured to the top of the hill for the sunset view (not pretty) and stumbled upon Restaurante Toques de la Patagonia when we walked past and smelled heavenly scents wafting up the hill. We walked in and had a seat right away. We both ate the ceviche since that was their specialty and we figured we’re in a port town so we better eat the seafood before we headed to more landlocked towns.
What can I say about this town? I think I covered it above. If you can avoid having to spend time here, work your magic. Check out photos below for my best effort to show of the highlights of Punta Arenas.