Motorhoming in Punta Arenas
Punta Arenas is the third largest city in Patagonia, and only 881 miles or 1418 km from the coast of Antarctica. The literal translation of Punta Arenas is ‘Sandy Point’, but why?...To impress some of the fellow travellers you might meet on a motorhome rental or campervan hire holiday in the area the following useful historical facts may come in useful. Punta Arenas is the most southerly settlement in the Magellan Strait, the name Magellan is the name of the first Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan who passed by here in 1520 on behalf of the Spanish during a circumnavigation of the globe. Early navigational documents relating to the area refer to it as ‘Sandy Point’!
Services for Motorhome Rental vehicles
Services here are very few and far between. Its best to ask locally to see if there are any suitable places to stay, if not there is plenty of open space where you can spend the night.
Top things to see and do
The town has a few ‘bits and pieces’ to see, probably the best are the port area and the Museo del Recuerdo which has an excellent collection of old steam engines, horse carts, cars, farm implements.
The majority of the best things to see however are out of town.
The Magellan Penguin colony "Seno Otway", north of Punta Arenas. Spring is the best time to come here when the spectacle of hundreds of penguins with their young is absolutely incredible. Visiting here with a motorhome rental or campervan hire is simply the best way to do it, when the visitors who are bussed in by the travel agencies arrive you can escape to your comfortable vehicle and enjoy a coffee and a bite to eat, and when they’ve all left for the day, you can have the place to yourself. Perfect.
Visit the Rey Jorge Island Natural Sea Park which has an area used for observing whales.
If you visit Seno Otway and find there are too many people, take a boat trip out to Isla Magdalena Penginera, its two hours each way with a hour on the island with the penguins. Once on land humans must stay on the path, but the penguins seem to find it amusing to try and tread on their visitors.
Visit the early Spanish colony of Puerto Hambre, or Port Famine as it became known, the site of a Royal navy base where Captain Pringle Stokes, of the HMS Beagle died.
Fort Bulnesis the first Chilean settlement in the south of the country, it’s situated in Punta Santa Ana, here you can see the jail, post office, stables. The fort gives an interesting insight into the tough living conditions of the past.
Punta Arenas is the last stop for visitors in a motorhome rental or campervan hire vehicle, there’s nowhere else to go but north from here.