Cabo de Hornos National Park (Spanish: Parque nacional Cabo de Hornos, lit. Cape Horn National Park) is the world's southernmost national park. It's found in the Magallanes Region of Chilean Patagonia and contains the southernmost point of Chile, excluding its disputed Antarctic claims.
The park is home to Cape Horn, which has been part of a historically-significant shipping route – its importance, however, was on the demise after the Panama Canal was completed in 1914. The overhanging 425-metre-high promontory is known for the often adverse climatic conditions that make it difficult to round it with sailing boats. The open waters of Drake's Channel, south of the cape, offer plenty of room for manoeuvring, while the Strait of Magellan, through the islands of Tierra del Fuego, can offer a slow and difficult passage.
Flora and fauna
Most of the park, especially Cape Horn, have winds that blow between 160 and 220 km/h and the large mass of water that flows into it, causing the Atlantic currents to collide with the Pacific currents. The strong winds are due to westerly air currents rushing along the Southern Ocean, which then strike the Andes range in Chile and are forced to accelerate around Cape Horn, a well-defined semi-lunar shaped rock, which grows at peak of icy waters, in height, gradually approaching it. It marks the northern border of the Drake Passage, an arm of sea between Antarctica and Tierra del Fuego, 440 nmi wide (almost 815 km) which drops drastically in depth, so as to create a narrow gap between South America and the Antarctica. The strong winds are often accompanied by frightening waves, which here become even more impressive due to the great extent of the Southern Ocean, which is often driven by a westerly wind regime to force through the Drake Passage.
- Park website (in Spanish)
- Contact information: Av. Bulnes 0309, Punta Arenas, email@example.com, ☏ (ext 200).
The park is only open in the summer months between October and April. There are no public ferries from other Chilean cities, but some private operators do occasionally land at Cape Horn. Check the park website for more details.
Fees and permits
Park fees are as following as of February 2023. Prices are from the CONAF website.
For Chileans, children ≤11 and seniors (>60) can enter for free, 2200 pesos for children 12–17 and 4200 pesos for adults. For non-Chileans, it's 4200 pesos for children 12–17 and 8400 pesos for adults.
- 1 Faro Cabo de Hornos (Cape Horn Lighthouse). The world's southernmost lighthouse is a 4-metre (13 ft) lighthouse made out of fibreglass. It was inscribed in 1962 and while it may not have anything distinctive, its location sure makes it important. Today, it's only staffed by navy and weather station personnel.
- 2 Monumento Cabo De Hornos (Cape Horn Memorial (The Albatross)). A memorial about 200 m south-southwest of the lighthouse, erected in memory of the many who have lost their lives near Cape Horn. The sculpture is named The Albatross due to the albatross at the very centre of the sculpture.