The sunny city of Punta Arena may be the gateway to Antarctica, but it’s also a sprawling metropolis with colourful and varied culture.
Your adventure to Antarctica doesn’t have to start on the open waters of the Southern Ocean, especially when the jumping-off point is the spirited and welcoming city of Punta Arenas. On our Antarctica cruises from Chile, get the chance to explore the city's colourful buildings and eat delicious Chilean food, spot several penguin species from your vantage point on Magdalena Island, wander around replicas of ships used in the trading industry, and most importantly, gear up for your journey to the icy edge of the world.
Our Antarctica cruises from Chile
Highlights of Antarctica cruises from Chile
See Antarctica from the sky
If you want to experience a polar adventure but aren't keen on travelling by sea, take a once-in-a-lifetime flight to the icy landscape of Antarctica. Whether you're a keen astronomer who's always dreamt of seeing the Aurora Australis or a travel enthusiast ready to check 'expedition flight' off the bucket list, embarking on a southern flight from Australia promises some pretty spectacular views.
Antarctica cruises from Chile reviews
Antarctica cruises from Chile FAQs
Trips on or before 31 December 2022
If your Intrepid trip starts on or before 31 December 2022, you must provide proof of full vaccination against COVID-19.
If you are unable to be vaccinated for medical reasons, you may apply for an exemption. Exemptions will be assessed on a case-by-case basis. To apply, you must provide a medical certificate from a medical professional.
Children under 18 are exempt. Children aged between 5 and 17 years old must provide proof of either vaccination, recovery or a negative COVID-19 test.
Trips from 1 January 2023 onwards
From 1 January 2023, Intrepid will no longer require travellers to provide proof of vaccination against COVID-19 (excluding all Polar trips and select adventure cruises).
However, we continue to strongly recommend that all Intrepid travellers and leaders get vaccinated to protect themselves and others.
Specific proof of testing or vaccination may still be required by your destination or airline. Please ensure you check travel and entry requirements carefully.
Getting to Punta Arenas is pretty straightforward with several options available - flying, driving, and taking public transportation. There are daily flights out of Santiago and other surrounding areas operated by local airlines such as LanChile, Ladeco, and Avant Airlines. There are also plenty of bus companies that will deliver you straight to Punta Arenas but this form of transportation will take the longest.
The climate of Punta Arenas is similar to that of its Argentinian neighbour, Ushuaia, in that it's cold oceanic as well. This means the city experiences cold to freezing winters and extremely cool summers. It's also particularly windy throughout the year (and more so in summer) with wind speeds reaching up to 62mph (100kph). Punta Arenas can also expect snow from June to September but generally the temperatures stay around 44°F (7°C).
The best and most popular time to visit Punta Arenas is during January when the weather is relatively dry and reasonably mild (as close as it gets to warm). However, there are plenty of other months throughout the year that offer acceptable weather so there really is no one 'best' time to visit the gateway to the Antarctic. If you want to avoid the bitter cold, try travelling from mid-November to mid-March.
Most major mobile phone carriers will work in Punta Arenas and the city also has relatively good wifi infrastructure so connecting to the internet shouldn't be a problem, however, it will cost you. Connecting to the internet can be expensive if you haven't already figured out an international plan with your mobile phone carrier before travelling. The roaming charges can be as high as USD$2 (AUD$3) per minute, and accessing your email or sending text messages can also be quite expensive.
Intrepid is committed to making travel widely accessible, regardless of ability or disability. That’s why we do our best to help as many people see the world as possible, regardless of any physical or mental limitations they might have. However, we’re always happy to talk to travellers with disabilities and see if we can help guide them towards the most suitable itinerary for their needs and where possible, make reasonable adjustments to our itineraries.