Punta Arenas, Chile

Punta Arenas is the most important port and commercial center for the immense Patagonian agricultural area of Chile. The economy revolves around the sheep raised on the expansive pampas. Located on the Strait of Magellan separating the mainland from the island of Tierra del Fuego, the city proclaims itself the southernmost city in the world. Its colonial history may be explored in the splendid Plaza de Armas, in the magnificent tombs of the Pioneer Cemetery and the opulent Braun-Menendez Mansion. The heritage of Ferdinand Magellan’s exploration can be recaptured at the Nao Victoria ship museum. Fort Bulnes national monument memorializes the earliest colonial period, while the offshore Los Pinguinos Natural Monument preserves the thriving seabird and sea lion colonies around Magdalena Island. This is also the port from which a full-day flight excursion takes visitors to the majestic peaks and picturesque lakes and wildlife of the Torres del Paine National Park.