Punta Arenas, Chile ~ Christmas Day

December 25th ~ Christmas Day

Welcome to Punta Arenas

We are getting into a lovely routine of sleeping in, having a late breakfast or early lunch, then going ashore for an afternoon tour.

This much relaxation might eventually get old, but for now I am loving it. 

Punta Arenas is the gateway to Patagonia. Occupied by the Thuelche people for 14,500 years, this area remained isolated until 1520 when the Portuguese navigator Ferdinand Magellan sailed through the straight now bearing his name.

Tendering ashore around 11:30, we had time to do a little shopping and walk around town before time to meet up with our booked tour.

This is a popular kicking off point for Antarctic exploration and the small harbor housed a couple of sturdy ships preparing to embark in that direction.

Immediately arriving on shore, I realized that my several layers of long underwear, heavy pants, thermal top, sweater and jacket were just not enough to battle the cold wind. Right at the pier is a well-placed craft market that was doing a booming business selling hats, gloves and alpaca scarves.

I found a fashionistas nightmare with bright colors and a huge pompom on the crown, the name “Chile” enblazed across the front and two more pompoms attached to stylish ties to keep it firmly attached to my head. HaHa, what a sight, and something I would never have selected at home. But, at the moment I would not have traded it for diamonds as it kept my head, cheeks and ears toasty warm and the inside lining was as soft as it could be.

Now, I know you are all just dying of jealousy 🙂

Only a couple of blocks walk to the main square, we checked out the famous Hernando de Magellanes monument. Legend and custom states that if you kiss the highly polished foot (or at least touch it and have your photo taken with it) that you will return to Chile someday.

Hernando de Magellanes Monument

Gus, Tim and I all touching the foot of the Magellan statue

Tim in front of the monument

Later in the day, when we returned with our tour group, a couple from Florida refused to touch it out of fear, as they said it was way too cold here for them and they did not want to risk perhaps coming back 🙂

Our four-hour tour today was called “City Drive and Museum”. It kept a leisurely pace, yet managed to offer up a nice variety of stops. It was focused on the local history of Punta Arenas.

First stop was on top of La Cruz Hill (Hill of the Cross) for a sweeping view of town, the harbor and the Strait of Magellan. Our ship was waiting patiently off in the distance.

La Cruz Hill with the Emerald Princess in the harbor behind us

The Salesian Museum Marggiorino Borgatello housed a good collection of indigenous artifacts, a taxidermy exhibition of the local birds and animals and a full size replica of the Cave of Hands (Cueva de las Manos) which we somehow managed to miss.

The most interesting thing I spotted was a display of petrified whale ear drums. Come on – one does not get to see THAT everyday.

Petrified whale ear drums – for real!

Moving on to the outdoor Remembrance Museum, AKA the Patagonia Institute display of original houses and farm tools placed in a field that catalogs the pioneering days when one could make their fortune in gold or sheep.

Rememberance Museum

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

The City Cemetery was an unexpected delight, lined with cypress trees and impressive mausoleums. It was voted as one of the ten most beautiful cemeteries in the world! There are two in the top ten in South America, and the other one is in Buenos Aires which we plan on visiting in about a week when we take the “Evita” tour.

City Cemetery, Punta Arenas

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I am struck by the fact that we have visited more cemeteries on this trip (two, soon to be three) than the inside of churches (zero so far). After numerous other trips, especially in Europe where we have taken ABC tours (Another Bloody Church – their name, not mine), this seems all out of kilter, but in a refreshing, rather ghoulish way.

Final stop where we came full circle was a return to the center of town, Plaza Munoz Gamero with the aforementioned Magellan statue. Around the plaza are impressive large homes (known as palaces locally), the main church and government buildings as well as an assortment of venders – even on Christmas Day.

Church on main square (we did not go inside)

Sara Braun’s Palace

Gazebos in the center of the park

Our return trip via tender went much smoother than the precious day, and we got back on board in time for dinner at our still puny table with empty seats. The head waiter had taken note of our desire for more company and relocated the four of us (including our soft-spoken Canadian ladies, Marg and Helen) to join three others, David from Los Angeles and a couple from Upstate New York, (Gary and Lisa).

I had been looking forward to attending the evening entertainment which was supposed to be one of the original Twelve Tenors, Evan Bosworth, but at dinner they announced that he had been hit with a case of Laryngitis and would not be performing. They substituted a marionette show instead. We decided to return to our cabin and watched a bit of the slowly passing scenery through the Beagle Channel.

All-in-all, a most memorable Christmas.

GRATITUDE MOMENT: Today I am grateful for my new warm hat, which will be put to good use again tomorrow when we go to shore in an even colder city, Ushuaia (Tierra del Fuego).

Hope you will join us!

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

About Tim and Joanne Joseph

Hi and welcome! We are Tim and Joanne Joseph and we have just embarked on our latest adventure. We hope you will join us!
This entry was posted in Chile, South America and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

45 Responses to Punta Arenas, Chile ~ Christmas Day

  1. Kelly MacKay says:

    Wow; wonderful trip. the cemetery was beautiful


  2. sheilsm says:

    I have to tell you how much I admire you for blogging on a fairly current basis! I tried it on my recent Australia trip…and just couldn’t keep up! So, I stopped…but plan to reminisce on it once the holidays are over! I thoroughly enjoy your posts! I wish you and Tim a very Happy New Year! I look forward to enjoying your travels!!!


    • Thank you so much for your encouragement! You are right, that it is a bit of a chore to keep up on our blog, and I am often a few days behind when our internet is limited. But the upside is that we have a pretty decent record of our wonderful travels and it is so fun to share with others. Happy New Year to you as well.


  3. jmnowak says:

    You look cute in the local head warmer, Jo! Obviously Tim doesn’t feel the cold so much! 😎 The cemetery looks like a city with tbose fancy mausoleums. I like cemeteries for their peacefulness and histories about tbe people in it. How are the meals onboard?


    • HaHa – Tim ended up with a hat as well, but only wore it a short time. I would have enjoyed having more time to wander around in the cemetery, but certainly enjoyed what we did get to see. The meals are good, but we find that the helping are enormous. I really don’t like wasting food, but I can rarely clean my plate.

      Liked by 1 person

  4. tippysmom2 says:

    Looks like a great day. I understand your hat buying need. On a trip to San Francisco, I was surprised by how cold the pier district was and had to purchase a hoodie to keep from freezing to death in the middle of August! The cemeteries do look very interesting. They are so different from the ones we have here in the USA. The remembrance museum looks really interesting. As a sewer, I was intrigued with the sewing machine in the picture. Bet whoever used it had a strong arm after a while. Hope you have a wonderful New Year’s Eve and even better 2018! (BTW, will try to catch up on reading your blogs from this trip. So far, I’ve not had the chance.)


  5. Beautiful pictures! So delighted you shared. Massive thank you from the indisputable armchair traveller woot! :):)


  6. My husband and I recently spent a few days in San Francisco and I was so close to buying one of those knit caps with the faces on them. I wanted so much to have a warm head, cheeks, and ears. Unfortunately, I chickened out. Good for you for giving in to comfort! It actually looks cute on you!

    Beautiful pictures… I especially liked the cemetery (I’m definitely a taphophile).


  7. cindy knoke says:

    We are on the same boat! Did you see the penguins at Puerto Madryn?


  8. cindy knoke says:

    Are you on Emerald? Sea day tomorrow, Montevideo New Years Day?


  9. Interesting when two bloggers I follow and really like both end up on the same boat! 🙂 –Curt


  10. Brenda Thompson says:

    Sure enjoy your travels. You and Tim are so flexible , which sure makes for great traveling partners. (From Twelve Tenors to a marioneete show…😃)


  11. Terry says:

    Love the hat, sounds the trip is on an upswing. Would enjoy getting down there sometime.


  12. Merry Christmas 🎄🎁 I had been looking forward to your blog post after reading about your close call experience of almost missing out on your trip. Glad you are both having a delightful time. And I love your jovial hat. It will be a treasured souvenir when your traveling in the cold.


  13. I just want to know why Tim doesn’t need a cute little hat. 😂


  14. joylennick says:

    I thought the same thing. Tim’s ears must have been cold. Brr… Christmas Day in Spain was sunny and warmish in comparison (hundreds of Santa Claus on the beach and canine Santas too…) What a ton of memories you’re storing up..Enjoy! And a Happy New Year..


  15. Anabel Marsh says:

    Here, those hats are very fashionable amongst young people, though they normally don’t tie them. Happy New Year!


  16. Anne Jorgensen says:

    HA HA, We were there two years ago i early December, and i bought a bulky, hand knit, cowl =y’know,, kinda like a closed scarf and buttons, so only for the neck – took a similar tour in PUnta Arenas… laughed at your comment about the CHILE hat b/c I can’t even wear it at home unless it is REALLY cold! Like now. Like today. Brrrr.

    We loved everything about our trip to Patagonia ( we were on Gate 1 Discovery and it was a very small group, great small ship, and a lovely guide, all in all, just perfect!) and had a blue sky and smooth seas for the big day to land on the Cape… and so I’m wishing that for you… and a very calm voyage back!!

    AND a happy new year!

    We leave for a Gate 1 tour through Vietnam in January and are looking forward ( among other things, of course) to some warmer weather. We’ve prepared by reading, watching the Ken Burns special, AND going to NYC for a wonderful show at the NYC Historical Museum… other than the horrid length of the flights to/from, it should be a good time.

    This weekend we have had our three grandchildren (8,5,2) for three days while daugter Katie and husband Wes drove to NC for a wedding weekend. We have probably enjoyed it MORE than they would ever guess! 😉 A trip to Philly for some Xmas dispays/shows, some baking, a coating of fresh snow,arts and crafts, and lots of time to just play! Great excuse to go see the new movie Coco -which was great.

    Hoping our paths cross in 2018, hugs, Anne



    • Anne, how I loved getting your update! It sounds like you guys had an ideal time with your grandkids. I found Vietnam beautiful and interesting, even if some of the War places were hard to see. We too hope to see you on another trip. Sending hugs and Happy New Year wishes!


  17. Aunt Beulah says:

    You are such happy, intrepid travelers. It is fund to go along with you.


  18. Widdershins says:

    I love your hat!!! ‘Style/fashion’ is simply a matter of time. Sooner or later everything is fashionable! 😀 … I take it Tim was being all manly and eschewing warm cheeks and ears? 🙂 (or he handles the cold easier)


  19. curvyroads says:

    I love the hat, the cemetery was beautiful, and I SO hope that you and Cindy Knoke got to meet in person! What are the chances that too bloggers so many of us follow are on the same trip, not to mention the same ship! 🙂


  20. Scott says:

    I’ll be traveling with my family to Punta Arenas later this year, and this post was very helpful. We’ll be there on Christmas Day, and I wasn’t sure what there would be to do or what would be open, but you’ve given me a few nice ideas. Your posts about your visit to Buenos Aires (where we’ll be headed after Punta Arenas and Antarctica) have also been really helpful. Thanks!


    • Hello Scott! I hope you and your family have a wonderful Christmas in Punta Arenas. Thank you for commenting and letting us know that our posts were helpful. Boy do I envy you going to Antarctica. That is our “missing” continent 😁


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.