Magellanic Penguins in Patagonia with Australis | Travel Research Online


Magellanic Penguins in Patagonia with Australis

Glaciers, penguins, fjords, oh my! Exploring the ins and outs of the Chilean Patagonia are fun for all ages. Between learning about the maritime history of the area, and coasting through the icy waters of the Magellan Strait, Patagonia is sure to keep you busy. Thanks to Australis, the supplier sponsor of this article, you can see Chilean Patagonia like you’ve never imagined it.

60-Second Geography

Chilean Patagonia




































  • Patagonia is a region located in the southern end of South America that is shared with Chile and Argentina. The Patagonian area of Chile rather small comparatively: with the whole of Patagonia ranging just over 648, 137 miles, only 10% of this belongs to Chile. While the Chilean portion of Patagonia may be on the small side, there is no shortage of activities or sites to see on your vacation to Patagonia. The city of Punta Arenas is a popular place for travelers to spend some time. It is the capital city of Chile’s most southern region, Magallanes and Antartica Chilena, and was established in 1848. The Nao Victoria Museum, only recently opened to the public in 2011, is a popularly visited place in Punta Arenas and definitely worth a stop on your trip. It helps to tell the stories of the discovery of the area through an interactive experience. Visitors can interact with the replicas of the ships that helped lead to the area’s discovery or have a historic heritage to the Magallanes region of Chile. You can see full-sized reproductions of ships, built using traditional ship building techniques, as well as copies of documents, books, and even some weapons. The Nao Victoria Museum is a great place for the curious mind. If you’re left with even more questions about the area then answers, head over to the Museo Region de Magallanes otherwise known as the Magallanes Region Museum. It houses over 1,800 artifacts of all types that help tell the story of both the region and Punta Arenas. The museum itself is located in the Braun Menendez Palace, the home built in 1903 by the people who were responsible for supplying the ships that had to pass the city: Mauricio Braun and Josefina Menendéz.


  • In 1974, the Braun Menendez Palace was declared a national monument, and donated to the government shortly after by the family’s descendants. It contains three main exhibits that each focus on different parts of life. Epoca is an exhibit that showcases neoclassical European furniture, while Historia highlights objects directly related to the city and region. The third exhibition area, Zocalo, shows the kitchen, servants housing, and bathrooms. This part of the museum actually functions, so you can see it firsthand as if you’ve been transported back in time yourself. The Plaza de Armas is a beautiful area to take a walk through. The square, which you can sometimes find craft vendors selling handmade goods in, is one of the main hubs of everyday activity in the city of Punta Arenas. In its center you can gaze upon the bronze statue representing the navigator Hernando de Magallanes who is credited to discovering the strait.


  • The Los Pingüinos Natural Monument is located a bit outside of the city of Punta Arenas, but it is worth going out of your way to have the opportunity to see. Translating to the Penguins Natural Monument in English, this area is composed of two islands: Magdalena Island and the Marta Island both located in the middle of the strait of Magellan. It is home to the largest penguin colonies of South Chile. This includes an estimate of nearly 60,000 breeding pairs of the Magellanic penguin. Though it is a little trek from the city, it is very popular among tourists and visitors interested in seeing not just the penguins, but the wildlife that spans the two islands. The monument is a protected area, allowing the population of these penguins to recover and recover they’ve done! Some of the penguins are migrating to a nearby island because Magdalena Island is running out of space for them. In the monument you can see other animals, such as sea lions and south American fur seals. Visit the island’s museum to learn about the monument’s history as well as some of the biological facts pertaining to the penguins. For wonderful views of the island and its surrounding ocean, climb the staircase to the top of the Faro Isla Magdalena lighthouse, also located on the island of Magdalena. It has been open for over one hundred years and allows visitors other sites to see than just the penguins, though they are quite literally the stars of the island. Make sure to check if the monument is open before you arrive, as it is not open during the actual mating season of the penguins.


  • Glacier Alley and the Chilean Fjords are another stunning site both visually and scientifically located in the chilean area of Patagonia. Take a tour by boat of the string of tidewater glaciers that fall to the edge of the sea from the Darwinian ice fields. Most of the glaciers are named after European countries like Holland and France, and set the perfect scene as they are surrounded by breathtaking snowcapped mountain peaks. Look for icy waterfalls and floating ice chunks as you marvel at the dramatically shaped mountains formed thousands of years ago through periods of glacial movement. For more magical outdoor experiences, plan a day trip to Cape Horn, another popular site in Patagonia. Located on Hornos Island, Cape Horn has grown to become an icon of sailing culture having been featured in many books about sailing, as well as documentaries dedicated to the area. Stroll along the wooden walkways found throughout and take in the island’s landscape. You can also explore either of the two lighthouses found near Cape Horn. The main lighthouse accessed by visitors is located at the Chilean Navy Station, though it is not technically located on the Cape but it is found on Hornos Island. Make sure to visit the Cape Horn Memorial before leaving the island. Standing about 22 feet high, this statue of an albatross was constructed of steel plates and was designed to withstand winds of up to 200mph. The albatross is commonly seen in the Southern Ocean and have grown to become symbols of the Cape Horns Captains Brotherhood. The Chapel of Stella Maris is one last thing to see on the Cape during your visit. This small chapel is only one room, and not much more than twelve feet long but it holds a history that spans hundreds of years.


  • Coyhaique is one other city located in the Chilean area of Patagonia. It is the capital city of the Aysen Region of Chile, and is a relatively young city compared to many of the others located in Patagonia. Spend an early morning learning to flyfish on the Coyhaique river, and soak in the beauty around you. One of the popular places to visit in Coyhaique is Piedra del Indio. This uniquely-shaped rock is located off the Simpson river, and is known for resembling the face of a Native American. Mirador Marchant is another way to see the thrilling landscape of this part of Patagonia. This observation deck, both during day and night, gives visitors views of the volcanic landscape around Coyhaique without having to trek all over the city. The El Fraile Ski Resort is a bit small, but has two lifts and a few ski tracks to hit the slopes on. The Coyhaique National Reserve is the perfect place for a picnic after a long day taking in the city’s gems. Bask in the setting sunlight and listen to the birds while enjoying some local cuisine. Torres del Paine National Park is another beautiful outdoor space to spend some of your vacation time in. It’s luscious grasslands, bright icebergs, and rare wildlife make it a park unlike any other. Potentially the most iconic sight in the park is the granite towers that the name of the park is derived from, named the Cuernos del Paine. 

Patagonia is a wonderful place for a vacation. You can take in the natural beauty around you while learn about its history and culture at the same time. For a Chilean Patagonia trip for the memory books, Australis has you covered.

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