You're Going to Love Puerto Natales
Puerto Natales is the gateway to the Torres del Paine National Park and outdoor adventure in the Patagonia region. The small town is located on the Señoret Channel along a scenic fjord, set against the dramatic backdrop of the southernmost peaks of the Andes. As a tourist hub, you'll be able to find great food, supplies, and more to fuel up for your trek, along with local attractions to explore.
Top 5 Reasons to Visit Puerto Natales
1. Torres del Paine National Park
The Torres del Paine National park is a designated UNESCO World Heritage biosphere site, and your entry into the natural beauty of Patagonia, including sheep and guanacos, a native llama-like species, who live in the mountains.
2. Milodon Cave - Cueva del Milodon
Once the home of ancient giant sloths known as milodons, the site is nowadays accessible via cycling (or motorcycling) a 15-mile trail.
3. Waterfront Walk
It's an enjoyable walk along the waterfront, south beyond the pier to the picturesque boatyard where the wooden vessels are painted and repaired.
4. Última Esperanza Fjord Crossing
You can hike, bike, or take a boat across the cool waters of the fjord and thrill to the stunning views of the mountain peaks that surround you.
5. Food and Drink
There is a thriving dining scene in town, including local dishes along with favorites like gourmet pizza, fresh seafood, and even French cuisine.
What to do in Puerto Natales
1. The Vision Of Priest Juan Bernabè
Reaching a stature of 84 feet, the Parroquia Maria Auxiliadora stands as one of the tallest buildings in Puerto Natales. This church was designed by priest Juan Bernabè and financed by the Sociedad Explotadora Tierra del Fuego. Prior to entering the parish, marvel at the magnificent German electromechanical clock installed in the atrium. As you enter the church, you'll be amazed at the beautiful white arches on the right and left of the building. The elegant and simple nave directs you to Mario Bogan's colorful painting hanging next to a crucifix.
2. Municipal Historical Museum
Learn about the history of Chile and Puerto Natales as you stroll along the halls of this modern museum. Enter the room of Rural Life and learn how a meat packing plant and slaughterhouse operated in 1913 as it serviced the three main farms in the community. Go back in time as you peruse the original hunting tools of the Shankara and Aiken people. You'll be mesmerized by the late 18th and mid 19th-century artifacts, documents and a photographic registry dating back to 1930.
3. Hiker's Heaven
Hike alongside the green pine trees of the Paine Massif Circuit, one of the many hiking trails in the National Torres del Paine Park. If you love the chill, the Grey Glacier is for you. The hike takes you from the west to the east platform of the magnificent glacier as you climb gorges, vibrant deep moulins, and fissures. You'll marvel at the streams deep inside the glacier. Horseback riding is offered throughout the park, enabling you to gallop alongside rivers and through forests while admiring the park's natural beauty.
4. A Day Of Condor Fun!
Join Patagonia Adventure as they take you to Laguna Sofia for a day of hiking and watching the massive and magnificent Patagonia condors of South America. If you love animals, then this intermediate hike will be a venture worth your while. The 4-hour excursion takes you to the mountain poles as you trek the terrains and flatlands where the Patagonia condors live. The tour includes transportation to and from your hotel, a guide, and food. You'll be spoiled for choice when it comes to capturing panoramic colorful scenic views with your camera.
5. Handmade Artesania Art
Visit this charming little art store in Puerto Natale. Shop for handmade ornaments, art, handicrafts, and decorations inspired by Patagonia's culture. These amazing products are handmade from natural materials and loved by the inhabitants and tourists of Magallanes. Take a reminder of Puerto Natale home with you. Buy a woven blanket to drape around your shoulders as you sit on the beach watching the sun go down. The wall hangings are the this quaint and elegant boutique-style shop's most popular items.
When to Visit Puerto Natales
Most tourists opt to visit the area during the summer months of November to March, when temperatures average around 65 degrees.
How to Get to Puerto Natales
The Teniente Julio Gallardo Airport (PNT) is about four miles from the town, a regional airport with connections to Santiago de Chile during high season. Most visitors arrive at Presidente Carlos Ibáñez del Campo International Airport (PUQ) in Punta Arenas, about 150 miles south of Puerto Natales. Bus connections make the trip to town for about CLP$7,000.
It is possible to drive from Puerto Natales to Rio Gallegos, Argentina, with paved conditions the whole route, via RP5.
Daily bus connections are available to and from Punta Arenas, Chile, and El Calafate, Argentina, with stops at small towns along the way. Bus Sur is one of the major intercity bus companies.
Where to Stay in Puerto Natales
Hotel Temauken offers clean, modern rooms with fantastic views. At the Singing Lamb, you'll stay in stylish hostel rooms with an eco-friendly theme.
Popular Neighborhoods in Puerto Natales
Centro - this is where you will find a concentration of hotels, restaurants, most centered around the Plaza de Armas square, and attractions like the Museo Histórico Municipal.
Puerto Bories - formerly a privately owned company town, this area about 2.5 miles from downtown Puerto Natales offers a quieter alternative for accommodation and dining, along with the Museo Historico e Industrial documenting the town's past.
Waterfront - this is a must-see, even for as simple an activity as a stroll along scenic Avenue Pedro Montt, which runs along the channel.
Where to stay in popular areas of Puerto Natales
Most booked hotels in Puerto Natales
How to Get Around Puerto Natales
Local bus service is provided by JBA Company with fares that vary by distance.
Taxis, known as radio-taxis, are available, with an average fare within the town of CLP$1,000-2,000.
Puerto Natales is a small town and easily navigated on foot. A car rental to explore the area is available starting at about CLP$39,400.
The Cost of Living in Puerto Natales
You will find shops with locally made handicrafts, including jewelry and textile goods, along Hermann Eberhard through the downtown area. You'll also find many shops with mountaineering and hiking gear.
Groceries and Other
Unimarc and Don Bosco are the two larger supermarkets in town, with a reasonable selection of food, especially products for hiking. A quart of milk costs about CLP$740 and a dozen eggs about CLP$1,700.
Where to Eat in Puerto Natales
Enjoy bistro-style cuisine in elegant surroundings with leather upholstery and views of the water at the Singular, with mains that start at CLP$6,000. You'll love the local specialties, including imaginative cocktails, at El Rincón del Tata, with main dishes that start at CLP$4,500.