Punta Arenas, Chile
Fort Bulnes: The Colonization of Patagonia
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Approximately 4½ Hours
Among the world's most famous bodies of water is the Strait of Magellan, famed for its weather, its sea swells and its place in history. Live the legend today as you visit Fort Bulnes -- the first Chilean settlement on the Strait of Magellan, located 40 miles south of Punta Arenas.
As you travel south, you will stop at Cerro de la Cruz for the same view over the strait that Ferdinand Magellan took in when he was here. Today's modern view encompasses the port of Punta Arenas but, across the water, the island of Tierra del Fuego -- Fireland -- remains much the same.
A beautiful scenic road skirts the Strait of Magellan on a one-hour drive to Fort Bulnes -- a National Monument. Bulnes was founded in 1843, by 22 adventurers who took possession of the Strait of Magellan on behalf of Chilean government. They named the area after Manuel Bulnes, President of the young Republic of Chile. They originally built the fort to protect Southern Chile and the Strait of Magellan from claims by other countries.
Walk with your guide over the site to see the church, chaplain's quarters, jail, powder magazine, post office and stables. Everything is in amazingly good condition and you can readily imagine life in this windswept part of the world. This location also offers one of the most majestic views of the strait from Punta Santa Ana.
You will have a short amount of free time to take photos or purchase souvenirs before returning to the pier.
It is essential that you wear warm, layered clothing in order to fully enjoy and participate in this excursion. Outer layer should be waterproof and windproof. Bring gloves, a warm hat and a scarf.