The historical heart of Punta Arenas is home to colonial-style mansions, an artisan market and a statue of a famous explorer.
Visit Plaza Muñoz Gamero to browse museums, shop for handicrafts and see some of Punta Arenas’ finest works of architecture. This square marks the city’s historical heart and symbolizes the heritage of the hardworking people of Chile’s Magallanes province. It owes its attractiveness to the wealthy entrepreneurs who erected the imposing residences and business premises. Plaza Muñoz Gamero takes its name from the former city governor Benjamin Muñoz Gamero.
With diagonal paths shaded by birch and cypress trees, the square is a great place to enjoy people-watching. Observe tourists taking photos, kids climbing trees and local workers relaxing on their lunch breaks. Find market stalls that sell clothing, hats and scarfs knitted from alpaca and llama wool.
Notice the Memorial of Ferdinand Magellan, which stands in the heart of the square. It commemorates the 400th anniversary of Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan’s discovery of the Strait of Magellan. On the square’s south side is an impressive iron kiosk, installed during Chile’s 1910 centennial celebrations.
Lining the streets around the square are magnificent examples of colonial architecture. Facing the north side is Palacio Sara Braun, a lavish mansion built by the wife of a wealthy sheep-farming businessman. Adjacent to this is the French-influenced Casa Braun-Menéndez. Admire antique art, ceramics, portraits and period furniture as you walk through the many rooms.
On the west side of the plaza, look for the elegant Cathedral of Punta Arenas. Step inside to find religious artwork, icons and stained-glass windows.
Just a short walk from the square is the Museo Regional de Magallanes (Magallanes Regional Museum). Here, art, archaeology, ethnography and photography collections explain the history of the Magallanes province. Don’t miss the exhibit explaining how sheep and cattle farming influenced the city’s growth.
As the historical center of Punta Arenas, Plaza Muñoz Gamero is easy to reach by foot and taxi from all areas of the city. Take a shared taxi, which stops close to the square or use the available parking if arriving by car.