Discover the southernmost point of the American continent, the world’s oldest mummies and castles built by Spaniards during colonial times. All these treasures are in Chile! On Heritage Day 2021, we invite you to learn more about the heritage of Chile.
Have you ever dreamed about traveling on a route located at the southernmost point of the Americas and taking photos where the Andes Mountains come to an end? It sounds like one of the most extraordinary and memorable adventures that one can have, and we guarantee, it is!
For Heritage Day 2021, we present you with a Heritage Route that leads to Cape Froward. This expedition invites you to travel along the coast of the Strait of Magellan, the most legendary passage for navigators of all times.
Just as the ancient Kawésqar people, the first inhabitants of this area of Patagonia, had navigated these waterways in their thin and elongated canoes, Hernando de Magallanes was the first European to dare to sail across this dangerous passage. He is historically remembered for successfully weathering the fierce storms, rough currents, big waves and strong winds at the very tip of South America where the Atlantic meets the Pacific, and that is why the Strait is named after him.
The Cape Froward Heritage Route is located 71 km south of Punta Arenas, on the Brunswick Peninsula and by the San Pedro River. Since public transportation only goes as far as San Juan Point, you must have a vehicle to get to this route’s first point.
If you decide to go on this adventure on Heritage Day 2021, you will enjoy trails that take you through exuberant Patagonian nature, passing by beaches, bays and rocky areas of the winding coastline, until you reach the southernmost point of the American continent: Cape Froward. Here, the mountain range plunges into the Pacific Ocean and is scattered in a myriad of islands and channels.
If you’d like to know more about the historical, cultural, and archaeological heritage associated with the navigation of the Strait of Magellan and want to learn more about the first settlements that inhabited this southern coastal ridge, this place is perfect for you.
Of course, this route is only for the bravest spirits! Nature’s strength and harshness will accompany you throughout the journey, testing your willpower and determination to reach the ultimate destination: Cape Froward.
Travel six thousand years back in time with the Chinchorro culture
Perhaps you don’t want something so adventurous and challenging, and maybe you are more interested in learning about the customs and histories of ancient cultures. In that case, we have another ideal place for you.
Did you know that the oldest mummies in the world can be found in Chile? On Heritage Day 2021, we want to remember this group of people who lived over six thousand years ago in the northern coastal strip of our country and became famous for the mummification of their loved ones.
The Chinchorro people were a nomadic community that traveled from Peru to Antofagasta and lived from fishing and picking plants. Their main settlement was located where the city of Arica is today and in the Azapa, Camarones, and Lluta valleys.
If the sight of mummified bodies astonishes you, you will find this place fascinating. The Azapa Archaeological Museum is a must-see destination to learn about this culture.
History tells us that when a Chinchorro person died, they initiated a complex ritual in which the dead body was handed to the community’s “master”, the oldest man, who was probably not older than forty and knew the technique for the mummifying bodies.
The Chinchorros were the world’s first people to mummify their dead, thus preceding the earliest embalming practices developed by the Egyptians by almost 2,500 years.
Another destination to commemorate on Heritage Day 2021 is the route located along the coast of the Arica and Parinacota region. For more information on heritage landmarks, click here.
Learn about the Spanish colonies of southern Chile and the “Castles at the end of the world”
Chile’s rivers enchant for their beauty, which is why we have chosen this destination for you on Heritage Day 2021. We speak of the Heritage Route of the Valdivia Estuary, also called “The Castles of the End of the World” or “The Key to the South Sea”, located a few km from the southern city of Valdivia.
This route is divided into three circuits that offer the exciting possibility of visiting three castles that were the most valuable and ancient fortifications built by the Spanish crown in the 17th century.
The first circuit is Niebla Castle, inside the Site Museum, where you will find historical information in four permanent exhibition rooms.
The second is the San Pedro de Alcántara Castle on Mancera Island, an area with a wonderful tourist attraction. It holds the remains of a large Spanish civic center where an entire community lived a long time ago and that now you can visit.
Finally, the third circuit is the San Sebastián de la Cruz Castle in Corral, located on the southern bank of the mouth of the Valdivia River, in the port of Corral.
It is worth mentioning that its construction began in 1645 as a defensive system to protect the political and economic interests of the Spanish crown. Today it is one of the best examples of Spanish colonial military architecture in the Americas and has been protected as a National Monument since 1950. What do you think?
What Chile has to offer is incredible! Three treasured destinations in the north, the south, and the furthest tip of southern Chile. Places full of history, culture, and natural beauty make them our three most outstanding heritage routes. Undoubtedly a must-see on your next visit.