Punta Arenas is the most prominent settlement on the Strait of Magellan and the capital of the Magallanes y la Antártica Chilena Region, Chile. Due to its location and size it is sometimes considered the southernmost city in the world.
The Punta Arenas harbour, although exposed to storms, was considered one of the most important in Chile before the construction of the Panama Canal, because it was used as a coaling station by the steamships transiting between the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans.
Today it is mostly used by tourism cruises and scientific expeditions. The city is often a jumping-off point for Antarctic expeditions, although Ushuaia (Argentina) and Christchurch (New Zealand) are also common starting points.