Reviewed on 8 Apr. 2020
Reviewed on 12 Feb. 2020
Reviewed on 15 Dec. 2019
Visit the edge of the earth in Chile’s southernmost region and hike, kayak or sail past sky-piercing mountains and immense glaciers that soar out of the sea.
The matchless beauty of the Magallanes and Antártica Chilena regions encompass some of the most remote and rugged treasures in South America. With towering mountains, twisting fjords, glaciers, steppes and windswept forests, Chilean Patagonia’s southerly reaches are dotted with far-flung townships and hikers’ outposts.
One of the region’s major hubs is Punta Arenas, which overlooks the turbulent waters of the Strait of Magellan. Follow in the footsteps of the 16th-century navigator Ferdinand Magellan when you visit the town’s Plaza Muñoz Gamero and the Museo Nao Victoria. Meet some of the region’s residents, a colony of Magellan penguins, on Magdalena Island and the Los Pingüinos Natural Monument.
Head to the Torres del Paine National Park to experience an otherworldly landscape of granite peaks that tower over the magnificent ice river, the Grey Glacier. Take in views of the Southern Patagonian Ice Field as you hike around the unforgettable trails that wind through this national park. Rent a kayak and paddle around the glacier-fed waters of the Grey Lake. You can also hike and camp by the tranquil waters of Lake Pehoé.
Join a cruise bound for the Earth’s most southerly continent and wind your way around sea fjords to the Strait of Magellan and beyond Cape Horn. As you pass by the shores of Antártica Chilena, Tierra del Fuego and the majestic windswept landscapes of Alberto de Agostini National Park, you’ll encounter dolphins, penguins and orcas. See incomparable views of the Antarctic continent with its frozen mountains of glacial ice.
Reach the Magallanes and Antártica Chilena region by flying into Punta Arenas and catching a bus that winds south via Argentina or embarking on a journey by boat. The region’s national parks have established hiking trails and kayaking routes, but hire a guide to get the most out of your trip.
The best time to visit this sub-Antarctic region is between November and March. Windy conditions and cool temperatures prevail year round. Camp in the wilderness or return each night to a cosy lodge in this magnificently remote part of the world.