Nao Victoria Museum, Punta Arenas, Chile

A visit to Patagonia and the Magellan region of Chile, is not complete without a stop at the shipbuilding museum, Nao Victoria. The museum houses full-size replicas of historic ships, along with replicas of the ancient weapons and navigation tools that would have been on board the vessels during their historic journeys. 

Climb aboard the Victoria–the first ship ever to circumnavigate the globe. Magellan and his crew endured a three-year voyage from Spain around the world, and your family can climb aboard and imagine life on a 16th century sailing ship. The shipbuilder at the museum handcrafted his replica using the specifications written in the 1500s. Visitors can explore the upper and lower decks of the ship, handle the cannon balls and swords, turn the rudder, and try to envision a life on the high seas.

The smallest ship on site is a replica of the James Caird, the lifeboat used by Ernest Shackleton and his crew to cross 800 miles of ocean during his 1916 Imperial Trans-Antarctic Expedition. That historic journey, noteworthy as one of the most impressive feats of ocean navigation, becomes all the more awe-inspiring when you realize the tiny size of the lifeboat.

Ideal for ship enthusiasts and those fascinated by woodworking and craftsmanship, the museum allows guests to get up close to the current work in progress, a replica of the British Navy brig-sloop the HMS Beagle, famous for being the ship that Charles Darwin sailed upon as he was developing his theory of evolution.

Situated on the outskirts of Punta Arenas, on the Straits of Magellan, the Nao Victoria Museum is easily reached via public transportation or taxi. An inexpensive entry fee also grants you use of an audio guide, available in multiple languages, which will add history lessons to your exploration of the ships.

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