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Punta Arenas is mainly a base for visiting the natural attractions in the surroundings of this Chilean city. The city itself, however, also has something to offer. There's the Museo del Recuerdo, which houses a fantastic collection of old steam engines, horse-drawn carriages and cars and where you can also visit houses, furnished like in the nineteenth century.
The city has approximately 160,000 inhabitants.
Punta Arenas is located in the far south of Chile, on the Strait of Maggelan which separates the mainland from Tierra del Fuego (Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuego). The city is located on the Brunswick Peninsula and northwest of Punta Arenas lie two large lakes which are interconnected: Seno Skyring and Seno Otway.
The Chilean oil reserves, small in comparison with the large oil countries, lie nearby Punta Arenas. Oil therefore plays an important role in the economy, as does trade via the port. Cruise ships often moor in the port. Sheep are also bred in this region and the wool and meat is traded in the city. Fishing is also important for Punta Arenas.
Punta Arenas Airport is officially called Presidente Carlos Ibáñez del Campo International Airport. It's situated 20 kilometers north of the city center. Punta Arenas Airport is easily reachable by rental car via Ruta 9.
The city's public transport mainly consists of taxis and so-called furgonetas. The latter are minibuses running set routes. You can get on or off anywhere along the route. There are also long-distance buses to for example Puerto Natales and the Argentinian cities of Rio Gallegos and Ushuaia.
Most tourists stay in Punta Arenas to explore the beautiful, rough nature in the surroundings. A rental car is an ideal means of transportation to explore, for example, the penguin colony near the Seno Otway north of town or the Isla Rey Jorge, for whale spotting. Further out, but reachable via Ruta 9, is the Torres del Paine National Park near Puerto Natales.
Punta Arenas has a large choice of accommodations. You'll find most of them in the city center, which has a very European feel because of the British influences in this area. Besides midrange and luxurious hotels there are a large number of cheap guesthouses and bed & breakfasts (hospedajes).
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