Cape Horn#4 in Best Things To Do in Chilean Patagonia
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Notorious for welcoming guests with strong gusts of wind, icebergs, and rocky waters, Cape Horn's dark black cliff (known as the "Horn") has enchanted travelers since the 1600s. This alluring cape just south of Tierra del Fuego once served as the gateway between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. Before the Panama Canal was built in 1914, sailors had to brace themselves for a long journey around South America. On his voyage in 1892, Charles Darwin wrote, "On our weather-bow this notorious promontory in its proper form—veiled in a mist, and its dim outline surrounded by a storm of wind and water." Today, Cape Horn's grandeur still draws daring explorers from across the globe.
Most travelers agree that embarking on a cruise to this natural wonder is an extraordinary experience. One TripAdvisor user raves, "Rounding Cape Horn was almost a spiritual event, as this is the southernmost land mass north of Antarctica." However, previous visitors warn that the wind and seas can be brutal: Be sure to hold on to your hat as you pass Cape Horn’s windy perch.
The best way to view Cape Horn is by sea. Victory Cruises offers four-night excursions that round Cape Horn and sail through Drake Passage (the waterway that leads to Antarctica) starting at $1,120 USD per passenger. If you would prefer to admire Cape Horn from the air, Aerovías DAP offers daily one-hour flights from Punta Arenas to Puerto Williams, which is located just north of Cape Horn. To learn more about how to navigate between Tierra del Fuego and Cape Horn, consult our guide to Getting Around Chilean Patagonia.
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#1 Southern Chilean Patagonia
Occupying the southernmost area of the country, Southern Chilean Patagonia (SCP) draws visitors looking to admire the breathtaking landscape. Most visitors flock to Chile's southernmost province—also known as Magallanes (named after 16th-century conquistador Ferdinand Magellan)—to admire Patagonia's breathtaking landscape. From Magallanes' capital city, Punta Arenas, you can journey to Torres del Paine to admire its striking jagged peaks or head to Isla Magdalena to snap photos of thousands of Magellanic penguins scurrying along the shoreline.
Southern Chilean Patagonia is beyond secluded—separated by the Strait of Magellan and two soaring ice caps—but that only adds to its mystique as the gateway to Antarctica. The best way to reach Southern Chilean Patagonia is by plane from Santiago to Punta Arenas. It's also easy to access this region from Southern Argentine Patagonia. Cancha Carrera is a popular border-crossing, located between Torres del Paine and El Calafate (Argentina). Just be sure to acquire a visa before crossing; you can do so at an Argentine consulate in Santiago or before leaving home. For further details on how to navigate Southern Chilean Patagonia, consult our guide to Getting Around Chilean Patagonia.
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