Colorful Punta Arenas lies 1915 miles south of Santiago de Chile. This picturesque city is the most important urban center in the Magallanes Region. Lying 161 miles from Puerto Natales and 384 miles from Ushuaia, Punta Arenas is the gateway to Torres del Paine and the Southern Region, also known as “the end of the world”.
Punta Arenas was established originally as a tiny penal colony in 1848. During the rest of the 1800s, it became increasingly large and important as international trade across the straits grew and the countryside around experienced a gold rush and a sheep farming boom around 1900. Chile effectively used Punta Arenas to exert sovereignty in southernmost South America, leading to the Strait of Magellan being recognized as Chilean in the Boundary treaty of 1881 between Chile and Argentina. The geopolitical importance of Punta Arenas has remained high in the 20 and 21th century as the city is important for logistics in the Antarctic Peninsula.
Due to its geographic location, the climate in this region is very harsh during the winter season, with temperatures barely above 32 °F and regular snowfalls. The coming of spring and summer turn this into a much warmer city, with average temperatures ranging between 57 and 68 °F. Sunny days are the most longed for.