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PUNTA ARENAS

During spring, the icy waters of Chilean Patagonia start melting slowly, and a moving spectacle begins, a natural phenomenon that should be viewed with respectful awe, considering that this fascinating and unforgettable event may only be observed in this part of the world.

Grey Glacier Punta Arenas Chile TravelIt is said that when one returns from viewing this spectacle with the naked eye - without a photo or film filter - there is a special kind of brightness in one's eye, because the sight of a glacier crumbling into the water with a mighty roar causes a lasting emotional impact that is retained as a kind of spiritual "breeze" in one's soul.

Just one detail to add to what may be observed in Chilean Patagonia (Magellan area), a land of striking contrasts, with glaciers that were formed at the time the Egyptian pyramids were built, and islands located at the far edges of civilization in an icy and savage natural environment.

Fagnano Lake Punta Arenas Chile TravelA lot of islands, canals and fiords are found in this spot in Chile, an area that was formerly home to four ethnic groups: the Aonikent, who would later be known as the "Patagones" or "Tehuelches"; the Selknam or "Onas", the Kaweskar or "Alakalufes" and the Vamana, who settled in Cape Horn.

. The discovery of the Magellan area was a result of the urgent need of 16th century Spain and Portugal (sea powers at the time) to find a western sea route to China, Japan, India and the Moluccas, the "spice lands".

On October 20, 1520 after a hazardous voyage that started in Europe, Hernando de Magallanes (Magellan) discovered the much sought after route, linking the Atlantic and Pacific oceans, which was subsequently named after him (the Strait of Magellan). This achievement enabled him to discover Patagonia and Tierra del Fuego.

In Chilean Patagonia, the city of Punta Arenas is a wayside stop for scientists and tourists wanting to reach the Antarctic, the so-called "White Continent". The important city, strategically located, eases travel links with natural reserves, lakes, rivers, islands, fiords, etc. in the area.

Otway Punta Arenas Chile TravelBut that is not all. The city is full of attractions, not being merely a place to stay overnight, but rather a destination of unlimited beauty in itself. It is more than just "the door to Patagonia".
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