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Cruising Article –05/24/2011

Witness the stunning landscape of the port of Punta Arenas, Chile

South American cruise destinations

Perched on the edge of the Strait of Magellan, the Chilean city of Punta Arenas has a long and storied history as a port for ships traveling between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. During a South American cruise, you can learn more about this heritage - and appreciate the area's amazing scenery - on a shore excursion in Chile.

The city of Punta Arenas is full of opportunities for learning and fun. At the Maggiorino Borgatello Museum, you can see displays highlighting local flora and fauna as well as cultural artifacts from Chile's numerous indigenous tribes. Meanwhile, the Patagonia Institute is an outdoor facility that focuses on the region's early pioneers, featuring everything from replica houses and antique cars to historical photographs. Another important site in the city's history is the Pioneer Cemetery, a scenic spot that holds the remains of many of the area's first settlers. When you pay a visit to La Cruz Hill, you can appreciate why Punta Arenas is so important, as this peak gives you views of the much-traveled strait that passes nearby.

If you'd rather get out of the city, you will find plenty to do in the region surrounding Punta Arenas. To experience the natural landscape firsthand, why not pay a visit to Club Andino? A hike through this exclusive ski club gives you the chance to see Patagonian trees and beautiful views of where the mountains meet the sea.

Another great way to get in touch with nature is to see the penguins that live in the southern part of Chile. At the Otway Sound penguin colony and the Magdalena Island Penguin Reserve, you can watch the endearing birds hunt, fish and raise their young.

For a truly unique shore excursion, take a quick flight from Punta Arenas to Antarctica. On this remote southern continent, you can explore an old meteorological station and check out views of amazing glaciers and wildlife.