Punta Arenas is in Southern Patagonia and it is known to be cold and windy. This Is how Lonely Planet introduces the area: “The wind is whipping, the mountains are jagged and waters trickle clear…Writer Francisco Coloane described [the] early adventurers as ‘courageous men whose hearts were no more than another closed fist.’” So needless to say, we were kind of dreading the cold especially since we’d been in nice, warm weather for the past few weeks. But we hopped on a 5 hour plane ride anyway, took out all our winter layers and prepared for the cold!
I expected Punta Arenas to be another layover town we flew into to get us to Torres Del Paine but it turned out to be a pretty great stop. I made a last minute change and booked two nights in a cozy, family-run cabin La Casa Escondida. This place really made our stay! It’s like one of those cabins we would rent for a weekend getaway from the city except this one included full service. The lodge is right out of town and the owners drove us everywhere? They picked us up from the airport, drove us to and around town. On the night we arrived after a delayed and long flight, they made us dinner. They even helped us get our bus tickets, pick up our laundry, and gave us a ton of information about the area. We had such a relaxing time! We didn’t want to leave.
The next day after we arrived, we explored Punta Arenas for a couple hours before heading down to catch our ferry to see the much anticipated penguin colony. We passed through the town square Plaza Muñoz Gamero where they have a figure of Megellan, commemorating the 400 year anniversary of his voyage. They’re now only 2 years from the 500 year voyage or something.
We didn’t want to stay outside for too long because it was so damned cold and windy, so we went to a free museum, the Museo Regional Braun-Menéndez. It is basically a very well-maintained mansion built in 1905 and represents the wealth and power of the time. Sara Braun built the house with her husband’s wealth. He was successful businessman and one of the first pioneers in sheep raising. There’s a lot of French influence in the decor of the house.
Then we found the Mercado Municipal by the port where they sell seafood and have little food stands. I had some delicious empanadas and seafood stew for cheap. Marc had lomo a lo pobre, again. His 3rd steak in a row! I don’t know how he’s doing it.
And then we were off to Tre Puentes port to see the Penguins!