This Chilean city will provide both an airport for you to fly into and a seaport for you to depart from on your journey to the Antarctic Peninsula. Due to its southerly location it makes perfect sense that many of our Antarctic expeditions originate from this point; leaving South America behind and heading to the frozen continent.
The settlement was originally created so that Chile could claim sovereignty over the nearby Strait of Magellan (named after Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan), but has since grown into a thriving community and now has a population of around 130,000 people. Incidentally, Chile’s claims over the Strait were recognised in 1881 although, just like Argentina and the UK, their bid to lay claim to parts of Antarctica is overruled by the Antarctic treaty.
The name Punta Arenas literally means 'Sandy Point', although you are much more likely to discover a rugged landscape than one covered in golden sands. Temperatures here can hit a mild 14 degrees during the summer months, although they frequently drop below zero in the southern hemisphere’s winter months of June, July and August.
Before you depart on your adventure, you may have time to discover the colourful houses in the main city and visit the Nao Victoria museum, which houses a replica of the ship which Ferdinand Magellan sailed in.