Apart from the exiting activities that you can participate in when staying in Punta Arenas, there are also some museums that will show the historical importance of the city, both on the World stage and locally.
These we detail below.
Main places of interest
The Regional Braun-Menendez Museum
The Magallanes Historical Museum, inaugurated in February 1983, in the magnificent setting of the Braun-Menéndez Palace in Punta Arenas, brings together an important collection of objects that are testimony to the passage of man during his historical journey through the region.
Today, its magnificent palaces are two of the most representative places of the city's architecture and past.
Mauricio Braun Menéndez's palace was the residence that housed the union of the Braun family - from Russia - and the Menéndez family, wealthy Chileans, and important merchants from Patagonia. The residence was built between 1903 and 1906 under the charge of the French architect Antoine Beaulier, who also designed other important buildings in the city.
The main structure followed the style Croatian construction. However, the interior decoration was handled the Italian craftsmen Rossi, Calsaferri and Rogolini. The building occupies 2,212 square meters, with two floors of 880 square meters, an observation tower and a basement.
Beaulier designed a mansion inspired by the straight and simple lines of neoclassical architecture. Following the trend of the time, building materials were imported from Europe. Thus, bricks, fabrics, tapestries and papers from France, marbles from Italy and woods from Belgium were used in its construction, as well as furniture acquired in London and Paris. Along with material quality, the Braun Menéndez family invested in an advanced central heating system, which included a coal-fired boiler and wood combustion and incorporated double windows. Also, in the dining room there were trays to keep food tempered and all the bathrooms had hot water. The palace also had a purifying filter that provided drinking water to all the rooms of the house, electricity and a telephone that facilitated communications with its other properties and businesses.
Due to its historical and architectural value, representative of the Patagonian commercial boom at the beginning of the 20th century, Mauricio Braun's house was declared a Historical Monument on January 7, 1974. Nine years later, the descendants of the Braun Menéndez family donated the palace to the Chilean State as well as the furniture and objects that it contained. In 1983 the house became the Regional Museum of Magallanes and three types of spaces were enabled, which remain until today.
- Open Monday to Sunday from 9:30 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
- Free Entrance.
- Location: Magallanes N ° 949. Punta Arenas.
The Maggiorino Borgatello Museum
This is a museum that illustrates the history of when various indigenous people lived in the region.
The Salesian order, which landed in Punta Arenas in 1887, initiated the task of collecting evidence of the various indigenous cultures who previously lived in the area with the aim of creating a museum. It would serve as a legacy for future generations to learn about the expressions and ways of life of native peoples, their environment, and the colonization process. Therefore, the museum was created in 1893.
Faithful to a meticulous work, the various rooms in the museum reflect the cultures of the Onas, Tehuelches, Yámanas and Alacalufes, peoples as well as the suffering they endured upon the arrival of the Spanish colonizers and then the European pioneers.
In turn, the museum has areas dedicated to pioneers, including the time of the gold rush that marked the region at the end of the 19th century.
On the other hand, there is a careful collection of personal objects of Father Alberto De Agostini, a great explorer of the region, and the instruments of the first meteorological observatory in Punta Arenas.
Autumn & Winter from Tuesday to Saturday:
- 10: 00hrs - 12: 30hrs
- 15: 00hrs - 17: 30hrs
Spring Summer from Tuesday to Sunday:
- 10: 00hrs - 12: 30hrs
- 15: 00hrs - 17: 30hrs
- Ch$3.000 per person (2021)
- Avda. Bulnes N ° 336. Punta Arenas.
The Nao Victoria Ship
This was the first ship to circumnavigate the world!
The Nao Victoria Museum is, effectively a dry dock, located on the outskirts of the city in the direction towards the airport. However, despite being a bit off the beaten track, the Museum is easily accessible.
This is a nautical museum with replica ships sat in dry dock (as in on the ground and not in the water), that played a significant part in the history of Punta Arenas and southern Patagonia. One ship, the Nao Victoria, is a replica of the one commanded by Hernando de Magallanes, who, in 1520, participated in the expedition that discovered the Strait that was named after him “Magallanes Strait”.
The Nao Victoria is a full-scale replica of Hernando de Magallanes' ship. A cultural tourist attraction, unique in Magallanes, that can be visited by the public and allows the experience of life board to be lived through environmental sounds, replicas of everyday objects, navigation instruments and artillery covering the period 500 years ago.
You can also visit the replica of the Schooner Ancud and the spectacular HMS Beagle, the ship that was used by Charles Darwin on his trip to Patagonia.
- Route Y-565 towards the village of Río Seco 7.5km North
- The access road is a smaller, dirt road, that runs parallel to the main Ruta 9 road that goes towards the airport.
- Between October to March Monday to Sunday from 09:00hrs – 18:00hrs
- Between April to September from 10:00hrs - 17:00hrs
- Ch$4.000 per person (2021)
How to Get Here:
- The Museum is served from 08:00 hrs to 20:00hrs public bus transportation to Río Seco (a small town about 10 km from Punta Arenas). It is a short walk from the Tres Puentes Pier, the Tres Puentes and the Humedal Protected Area.
The place has parking, bathrooms and information office with a large terrace to sit and enjoy this beautiful place in front of the Strait of Magellan.
Fort Bulnes (Fuerte Bulnes)
Fort Bulnes an historic fort, created by the Spanish colonizers in 1843 in order to protect their settlement from any unwelcome visitors.
It is a small place with cannon mounts and some old cannons in place.
The location has undeniable advantages from a strategic, defence, point of view, but it did not allow for a full settlement of the area because the nearby land was completely unsuitable for agriculture. This reality motivated the foundation, in 1848, of Punta Arenas, 60km north, where the entire colony of the Fort was transferred.
How to get there:
- To get to Fort Bulnes from Punta Arenas, you must drive 60km south.
- Every day from 9.00 to 18.00 hrs.
- Ch$12.000 per person (2021)
Sometime after the Portuguese navigator Hernando de Magallanes discovered the strait that today bears his name, famous pirates, buccaneers and privateers sailed through these waters in the incessant search for new lands and fortunes in gold. Among them, the renowned sailors: Drake, Cavendish, Sharp, Davis and Strong.
The story goes that in May 1843 an expedition was organized that sailed from Chiloé Island, under the command of Captain Juan Williams. On board the historic schooner Ancud, were 23 crew members, including two women. The mission was to take possession of the Strait of Magellan.
Finally, in October of the same year, on the rocky headland of Santa Ana, Williams founded a fort and called it Bulnes, in honour of the President of the Republic of Chile at that time, Manuel Bulnes, who had entrusted Williams with the task. The fort was built with trees from the nearby, native forest, that were cut into logs and then placed vertically adjacent to one another to form a wall with sharpened, pointed ends facing up. This is very much like the style of the cavalry forts built in the western USA during the period of incursion into native Indian territory.
Buildings were also constructed from wood from the local trees.
When entering the different areas such as chapel or the weapons room, there is dense air all about. On the exterior the silence is only broken by the wind.
The Sara Braun Municipal Cemetery
Cemetery’s are not a usual “place of interest”, however, in South America they draw in visitors because of the ornate mausoleums and, often, the historical names that can be found on the tombs.
The Punta Arenas (Sara Braun Cemetery) is no exception and here there are numerous, European names that played an integral part in the development of Punta Arenas and other settlements throughout Patagonia. The cemetery silently recounts the history of the city.
The construction of the Cemetery is part of the historical context of European migration to the Magallanes Region and Chilean Antarctica at the end of the 19th century. The desire to come to this land, so far away from everywhere else was motivated by the discovery of gold in Tierra del Fuego. This was followed by the introduction of the sheep farming.
The Chilean government also enticed adventurers, by way of free land, to come here for the purposes of settlement and development of economic activities as a way for Chile to claim this as its territory.
In this place the remains of these pioneers, settlers, and merchant’s rest, leaving behind an historical record of the various nationalities of immigrants who came to the region and that make up the Magellan culture today.
- Monday to Thursday from 08:00hrs to 13:00hrs & from 14:00hrs to 18:00hrs
- Friday from 08:00hrs to 17:00hrs
- Saturday and Sunday from 09:00hrs to 17:00hrs
- Avenida Bulnes s/ número (with no number)
Founded in 1894, the current cemetery replaced its predecessor, which was located in the place that today occupies José de los Santos Mardones square.
In 1919, the engineer Fortunato Circutti was in charge of the magnificent portico and the perimeter walls donated by the pioneer Sara Braun and that bears his name. For his part, the artist Pascual Borich sculpted the crowns and other decorative details that make up the façade.
At an architectural level, the cemetery is located on Av. Bulnes has a wooded section with birches and Canadian cypresses. Its architectural elements are integrated as a harmonious and homogeneous set.
The necropolis has an area of 4 hectares, has an esplanade and a central square crowned by a large cross donated by Alfonso Menéndez. The eclectic character of its architecture, shown in its access building, is a manifestation of the European avant-garde. It is rich in styles and ornaments, both in the mausoleums and in its building. The delicacy of the materials and the sculptural work highlight the quality of its craftsmen and builders.
It is the southernmost secular cemetery in Chile, which brings together different creeds and customs of migrants that shaped the development of Magallanes.
Note: Experience Chile can arrange the above activities as part of the rest of your itinerary that we will have arranged. However, we do not arrange these services as standalones.