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Punta Arenas is one of the main stopping points in the awe-inspiring region of Chilean Patagonia. The people are famously hospitable, welcoming in hosts of travelers seeking adventure in the great outdoors. Before you rush off to the soaring mountains and penguin-inhabited islands, explore the charming Chilean city. The Magallanes Regional Museum is a highlight, hosted in a 19th-century mansion in the city center.
Rent a car through Orbitz to explore both the city of Punta Arenas and the surrounding wilderness. Patagonia’s breathtaking landscapes range from heaving glaciers to rocky peaks to tranquil lakes, all largely untouched by human development.
Once you’ve picked up your rental car, you’re ready to see Patagonia’s legendary sights. Some of the places are a long drive away, but the roads are so spectacular you’ll never be bored.
Patagonia’s penguins are among the many highlights of a trip to Punta Arenas. Many penguin homes require a boat trip, but you can reach Seno Otway by car. Drive here to watch thousands of Magellan penguins waddle across the land and swim gracefully through the water. Walkways lead to a hideout where you can watch the flightless birds without disturbing them.
Journey time: Around 55 minutes
Distance: Approximately 30 miles
If you want to explore the fjords of Patagonia, drive to Puerto Natales, a gateway to some of the region’s most awe-inspiring places. Hop on a cruise ship and drift through the landscape to see glaciers that roll down into the lakes or to glimpse the finger-like peaks of the Torres del Paine. The town itself is pleasingly colorful, with a friendly, ramshackle air that will quickly make you feel at home.
Journey time: Around three hours
Distance: Approximately 150 miles
One of the most famous sights in Chile lies within driving distance of Punta Arenas, but maybe don’t try it in one day! Start in the small town of the same name, then head out into the wilderness of the Torres del Paine National Park. The striking towers are just one small part of this sprawling parkland, which encompasses waterfalls, lakes and more. Look on the map for miradors – these are viewpoints, so you’re guaranteed something spectacular.
Journey time: Around 3 hours 40 minutes
Distance: Approximately 190 miles