Day 9 - Punta Arenas (Chile)



Located at the foot of the Andes, Punta Arenas is one of the southernmost cities in the world. A voyage through the Strait of Magellan is an exhilarating experience, offering the traveler extraordinary sights of untamed natural beauty.

Ferdinand Magellan, who was the first explorer and navigator to circumnavigate the globe, first traveled the icy straits surrounding Punta Arenas in 1520. The straits, which are named after him, enable a much faster and safer transit form the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific, compared with sailing around notorious Cape Horn. Traveling for 38 days, Magellan forged his way through this seaway with the southern tip of the American mainland towards the north and the Island of Tierra del Fuego on his southern side south Following the founding of Punta Arenas in 1848, the city was frequented by European explorers and pirates. 

From the late 1800’s to early 1900’s Punta Arenas was an important commercial port for steam ships and an important stopover for vessels heading to California before the Panama Canal was completed. Early European settlers helped the economy by raising sheep brought over from the Falkland Islands. By the early 1900’s the original 300 sheep did what sheep normally do, and as a result, the population flourished to nearly 2 million. The opening of the Panama Canal ended the short-lived boom for the area. Many of the wealthy European families who first established themselves in Punta Arenas moved to other areas. Since then farming, tourism and oil exploration of nearby Tierra del Fuego have been the areas’ main industries.



Braun-Menendez Regional museum
This museum, officially the Historical Museum of Magallanes, is located within the Braun-Menéndez Mansion, a national monument. The museum, inaugurated in February, 1983, traces the discovery, colonization and development of the Magallanes region through historical objects, illustrations and photographs.

Salesian Museum
This museum located on Bulnes Avenue at Bories Street, was constructed in 1893 by the Salesian missionaries. It is maintained today through voluntary contributions. The museum has exhibits on many topics, including the region's history, flora and fauna, indigenous tribes, mineralogy, and the work of the missionaries. Included in the exhibits are many fossils, stuffed animals and petrified objects. Particularly interesting are the many photographs of the various tribes, as well as samples of their tools and other everyday objects.

The Patagonian Institute
This research center for various scientific and technological fields is an interesting place for the visitor. There is a library, a botanical garden, a handicraft store, and the Museo del Recuerdo (Old Time Museum), with its collection of antique trains, restored carriages, machines and tools used in pioneering times. There is also a maritime exhibit, a preserved garage and an example of a typical house from colonial times.

The Cemetery
This cemetery is particularly interesting because of the huge mausoleums built years ago by the area's wealthy families. José Menéndez, an important pioneering businessman, has one of the most imposing mausoleums. It is a smaller copy of the Victor Manuel monument in Rome. The cemetery also contains a memorial to the fallen indigenous people of the region.

Otway Sound (Seno Otway)
Each year from October to March hundreds of Magellanic penguins return to this area by the hundreds to nest and raise their young. They
like human contact, so you will have no problems with them. Other wildlife surrounds the area such as sea lions and the South America ostrich, named the Rhea. Otway Sound is located 50 miles northwest of Punta Arenas.

Click on the penguins
to listen to their sound


Make questions corresponding to the highlighted sentences. Real answers have been highlighted IN PINK.












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