A Museum, a Cemetery, and 10,000 Penguins

Punta Arenas Travel Blog

 › entry 26 of 71 › view all entries
Ok, I'm here! Where are the 10,000 penguins?

Although I had a double room last night, I didn’t have a roommate so I was lucky enough to have another night free from noise.  Sort of.  The room was located in front, so it faced the sidewalk and street.  Still, I managed to sleep in a bit • and then enjoyed the small but tasty breakfast at La Estancia.


Despite still feeling ill, I packed a small daypack and headed out for a day of museums, cemetery, and penguin tour.


My first stop was the Museo Naval y Maritimo.  This museum had a small collection of ship instruments, weapons, models, maps, etc.  These were mildly interesting.

Aha! Here's one!
  I spent most of my time, however, watching 2 videos.  One of the Shackleton “Endurance” expedition, and one of a 1920 voyage around Cape Horn.  Three hours in total.  But I didn’t mind at all • they were fascinating documentaries and gave me a chance to rest!

It was early afternoon when the videos finished.  I next headed up the street several blocks to a mirador, or viewpoint.  Here, I could overlook the entire downtown and port of Punta Arenas, as well as see out into the Strait of Magellan • not exactly “pretty” but amazing nonetheless.  And windy!


Then, I headed across town to the Cemeterio Municipal.  It sounds crazy to put a cemetery on my sight seeing list, but this is supposed to be one of the most beautiful and fascinating cemeteries in all of South America (if those adjectives can be used to describe a cemetery).

Here are three.
   The cemetery is huge and the grounds are impeccably kept.  Within, you can find small graves of immigrant workers, larger sites holding entire families, and extravagant tombs of wealthier families.  It was very sobering to walk through, reading dates and inscriptions and examining the trinkets people left behind in display cases (for lack of better term).  A model ship, an old alarm clock, a ceramic cat with “Te Amo” inscribed, a glass dolphin…what did these signify?  What trinkets would I put in my display case?  (I did take a few general overview photos of the cemetery - not of particular sites - but I am in moral conflict as to whether even that was appropriate - and whether posting on internet is appropriate. So for now, nothing.)


At this point, I was running out of time.  My penguin tour was at 4pm.  The next museum I wanted to visit (a regional history museum) didn’t open until 3pm.  There wasn’t going to be enough time.  So I had to skip it.

Here come a few more...single file. Awesome.


I headed back to Hostal La Estancia.  On the way, I picked up lunch at a supermercado.  Bread, cheese, avocado, apples, orange juice, and Halls throat lozenges…all for 2,800 pesos, or about $5!!  Consider this, versus the snack I had in Torres del Paine • where I paid $10 for a water, a can of beer, and a half-Pringle-can of potato chips! 


Anyway, back at the hostel, the van picked me up at 4pm for my penguin tour.


We drove about an hour out of town to a penguin colony.

Whoa! There they are!
  From there, we walked around a roped-off path through a natural preserve where over 10,000 penguins make their home.  There were a couple miradors • one was more inland, where we could see the male penguins guarding the 2-egg nests; and one was out toward the beach where we could see many more penguins roaming around, swimming, or just chilling.  I took a few pics and videos which I’ll post.  The wind was insanely strong here, as well.  You can hear it on the videos.

I have to say, too, that I wasn’t that keen on going to the penguin colony, but in hindsight they were pretty cute as they frolicked around in the water and followed each other single file up the beach.


Later that evening, I had lunch leftovers for dinner, and then headed out to two different bars.  Yes, despite still feeling sick, I just had to do my research on the nightlife in Punta Arenas. 


I sat down at the first bar, and left after 5 minutes, before ordering anything.

Black-and-whites in black and white...
  Service sucked, but more importantly the cigarette smoke was unbearable.


At the second bar, I ordered a bad whiskey sour and people watched.  Well, actually what I watched was the amazingly inefficient operation of this establishment.  The waitresses tending the 20 or so tables ALSO went behind the bar to make their customers drinks.  At any one time, there were like 10 people behind the bar • it was like a human pinball machine as they maneuvered around each other grabbing this, grabbing that.  I wished I had taken a video…


The disco club downstairs was going to open at midnight, but feeling miserable, I just couldn’t do it.  I had the one drink and headed home at 11:59.  The true nightlife of Punta Arenas remains a mystery. 


eddelite1 says:
I hope you still check out this blog. I will be going down to Punta Arenas and Puerto Varas and was wondering how the weather was during your visit. Trying to make a packing list. Thank you!
Posted on: Oct 12, 2012
Join TravBuddy to leave comments, meet new friends and share travel tips!
Ok, Im here!  Where are the 10,00…
Ok, I'm here! Where are the 10,0…
Aha! Heres one!
Aha! Here's one!
Here are three.
Here are three.
Here come a few more...single file…
Here come a few more...single fil…
Whoa!  There they are!
Whoa! There they are!
Black-and-whites in black and whit…
Black-and-whites in black and whi…
Still trying to figure out my cam…
Sort of figured out how to zoom
Watch these little guys as they h…
You'd expect something a little m…
Watch, and you'll see why I call …
Well, the sound probably won't co…
Punta Arenas
photo by: Kramerdude