Saturday, December 25, 2010

Punta Arenas

Our flight via Sky Airlines to Punta Arenas was quite surprising: slightly hilly terrain, with spots of lake and grassy lands, nothing like the snowy mountains we expected at one of the  southern-most points in the world. It was a surprisingly sunny day as we arrived and we headed with a bus transfer to town. To take advantage of the day we immediately headed with all our gear to hop on a tour to the Seno Otway pinguinera to see magellanic penguins from up close. The ride through private ranches was bumpy but scenic with lots of farm animals on the way. Once we got there the park area was amazing- lots of penguins in the grassy terrain, some of them just a meter or two away from us waddling onto land and into their burrows with the baby penguins, and several others near the water. We made our way through the walkways and were truly enamored by these cute animals. From there it was back to town to find a place to stay, some dinner, and bed.

Magallenic penguins at Seno Otway

The next day we had time to explore town a bit. The grid made it easy to get around and the cleanliness and serene vibe made for a really nice time. Then we had one more area to get to know: Punta Arenas' Zona Franca for some cheapo shopping (tax free) in big, warehouse-like, no-name stores. We managed to get the rest of our hiking gear (made in China) and food provisions (made in who-knows) for really, really good prices and then we were off to Puerto Natales on the bus where our afternoon was busy with last minute logistics planning: getting to the park, buses to Argentina (!), and so on.

with Ferdinand Magellan, in Punta Arenas plaza, overlooking Strait of Magellan

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