Strait of Magellan (Cruising) Port Guide

You’ll never forget the moment you first cruise down the famous Strait of Magellan, a sailing route located between the bottom tip of South America and Tierra del Fuego. First discovered in 1520 by Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, the Strait of Magellan used to be one of the only ways to cross from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean before the opening of the Panama Canal.

Today, a Strait of Magellan cruise is an adventure in and of itself and includes many spectacular sightseeing opportunities. Admire sparkling blue glaciers and marvel at the stunning Seno Eyre Fjord. Watch humpback whales breaching the water and Magellanic penguins socializing on land. There’s no shortage of breathtaking scenery to witness while sailing across this historic channel of water on a South America cruise, where you’ll feel as though you’re at the end of the earth—because you will be.

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Top Things to Do on a Cruise to the Strait of Magellan

Spot Penguins in the Wild

Marvel at large colonies of Magellanic penguins at Los Pingüinos Natural Monument, located on Magdalena and Marta Island in the middle of the Strait of Magellan. As you cruise, you’ll be able to see these playful creatures interacting with one another. You might also spot other local species, such as seagulls and sea lions lounging on the rocky shore.

See Whales Breaching

Keep your eyes peeled for whales while cruising down the icy waters of the Strait of Magellan. One of the best spots to see humpback whales in their natural habitat is at Cabo Froward, the southernmost point of the Americas. Aside from humpbacks, you can also expect to see orcas, southern right whales, albatrosses, and cormorants along the way. 

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Culture & History of the Strait of Magellan

The Strait of Magellan is named after Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan, who was the first person to sail across this 350-mile stretch of water in 1520. After crossing the strait, Magellan became the first sailor to complete a circumnavigation of the world. Initially, the strait was named “Strait of All Saints” because Magellan had entered it on All Saints’ Day, but later the Spanish king decided to rename the stretch as a tribute to Magellan. In 1843, the stretch became a part of Chile, and a few years later, the strait’s only port, Punta Arenas, was founded. Until the opening of the Panama Canal in 1914, the Strait of Magellan was one of the only routes available for ships to cross from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean.

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