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Chile aboard Crystal Serenity

Punta Arenas

overcast 53 °F

We arrived in Punta Arenas this morning and tied up at a pier, so no tender required! Punta Arenas (or Sandy Point in English) is the capital city of Chile's southernmost region, Magallanes and Antartica Chilena. The city was officially renamed as Magallanes in 1927, but in 1938 it was changed back to "Punta Arenas". It is the largest city south of the 46th parallel south. As of 1977 Punta Arenas has been one of only two free ports in Chile. (Note that Punta Arenas itself is not a "free port", but rather outside of the city, there is a small "zona franca" where certain products can be imported into the country under a reduced-tax regimen.) Located on the Brunswick Peninsula north of the Strait of Magellan, Punta Arenas was originally established by the Chilean government in 1848 as a tiny penal colony to assert sovereignty over the Strait. During the remainder of the 1800s, Punta Arenas grew in size and importance due to the increasing maritime traffic and trade traveling to the west coasts of South and North America. This period of growth also resulted from the waves of European immigrants, mainly from Croatia and Russia attracted to the gold rush and sheep farming boom in the 1880s and early 1900s. The largest sheep company, controlling 10,000 square kilometres in Chile and Argentina, was based in Punta Arenas, and its owners lived there.

We left the ship at 9:00am for an overview tour of the Maritime museum the city, and a typical sheep farm.
The Nautical Museum held full scale replicas of Magellan's ship, Darwin's ship the Beagle, the small boat that Shakelton used in Antartica and the Otway, the ship that claimed Patagonia for Chile.

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It was then off to an overlook of the city, and then downtown to see the city square and the statue of Magellan, and the wonderful Catholic Church that St. John Paul visited when he was here.

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Our last stop was a family owned farm where we had a wonderful Pisco Sour and same Llama empanadas, and watched a sheep get shaved!
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It was then a short ride back to the ship.
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Posted by rpickett 06:38 Archived in Chile Tagged punta arenas

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