Located between the Almirante Montt Gulf and the Last Hope Sound, Puerto Natales is the entry point to the Eighth Wonder of the World: Torres del Paine National Park. It’s also the starting point for expeditions to more remote areas, such as the Montañas Fjord in Kawésqar National Park and the Balmaceda and Serrano Glaciers in Bernardo O’Higgins National Park. From the town, you can take in the beauty of pristine landscapes while walking down the road that winds along the shore, exploring the forests at Dorotea Peak, or kayaking on Sofía Lagoon.
The town’s streets and architecture help tell the story of the region’s history, and large farms dot the pampas of the countryside, which was long the territory of the Aonikenk people. Juan Ladrillero set out on the first expedition to sail the Last Hope Fjord in 1557, and it wasn’t until three centuries later that Fitz Roy led the second expedition. On land, Santiago Zamora––a cowboy known for his daring feats––was the first to make the trip around the Paine Massif, while in search of wild horses. Other explorers important to the history of the area’s modern settlement included Tomás Rogers (1877), Serrano (1889), and Eberhard, who was one of the first to settle in the area, in 1892. Puerto Natales was finally incorporated in 1911, and its sheep and cattle ranching industries reached their peak with the arrival of the «Puerto Bories Frigorífico,» a sheep meat and wool processing plant that is now declared a National Monument.

Lodging, Food, and Activities

Puerto Natales has excellent offerings for tourists, including cafés, restaurants, a casino, picturesque shopping centers, museums, and travel agencies, along with large hotels and small lodging establishments with personalized service. For more information, visit:

Region

Puerto Natales

Province

Última Esperanza

Population

20.000

Climate and Rainfall

Trans-Andean Climate with Steppe Degradation, 15 inches annually

Nearest National Park(s)

Torres del Paine National Park

Kawésqar National Park

Bernardo O’Higgins National Park

Don’t Miss

  • Visit Torres del Paine National Park. Remember to reserve any campsites well in advance.
  • Visit the Milodón Cave Natural Monument.
  • Go to Puerto Bories to immerse yourself in the history of Puerto Natales and the surrounding area.
  • Walk or ride on horseback in the area around Dorotea Hill. From its peak, take in the beautiful view of Puerto Natales.
  • Enjoy the sunrise or sunset on the road the winds along the shore in Puerto Natales. On clear days, you can spot the Paine massif.
  • Kayak on Sofía Lagoon.
  • Visit the Puerto Natales Municipal Historical Museum.
  • Walk through Puerto Natales’ town square to see the old locomotive once used to transport workers to Puerto Bories.
  • Boat or row to the Balmaceda and Serrano Glaciers and kayak up the Serrano River to arrive at Torres del Paine National Park.
  • Set out on an expedition to the beautiful Montañas Channel.
  • Explore the little-known road to Obstrucción Sound (Route Y-340), which has beautiful views of the gulf.
  • Cross over to Antonio Varas Peninsula to learn about the history of settlers in Puerto Natales while visiting old ranches like Estancia Mercedes and admiring its beautiful, remote beaches and landscapes.
  • Drink yerba mate and eat lamb and fried cake.

How to get

Puerto Natales is located 153 miles north of Punta Arenas. You can get there on Route 9, which is paved. It’s also 30 miles from the Argentinian city Río Turbio; you can cross the border at Dorotea Pass, 17 miles from Puerto Natales, or at Casas Viejas Pass, 9 miles from Natales. It’s also 37 miles from Cerro Castillo and the Río Don Guillermo Pass along Route 9.

Buses run between Punta Arenas and Puerto Natales. Various departure times are available, and a few of the companies offering this route include: Buses Fernández, Buses Pacheco, and Bus Sur.

There are also daily buses available between Puerto Natales and the Laguna Amarga entrance to Torres del Paine. Companies include Bus Sur, JB, María José, and Juan Ojeda.

Finally, various companies offer daily bus routes between Calafate and Puerto Natales.

Ferries set out from Puerto Yungay and explore the Patagonian Channels in a voyage of 41 hours, ending at Puerto Natales.

From Puerto Montt, you can take an approximately 4-day cruise to Puerto Natales.

Day trips are available from Puerto Natales to Bernardo O’Higgins National Park, where you can see the Balmaceda and Serrano Glaciers and boat up the Serrano River to the town of Serrano, which is located near the park entrance of the same name.

Various airlines offer daily flights to Punta Arenas, and LATAM Airlines offers direct flights to Puerto Natales during tourist high season. Dap Airlines offers twice-weekly flights between Balmaceda and Punta Arenas.

The direct flight from Santiago to Punta Arenas takes 3.5 hours.

Tips

Basic Services

  • Gas Station
  • ATM
  • Bank
  • Hospital
  • Auto Repair Shop
  • Bike Repair Shop
  • Cell Service
  • Police Station
  • Visitor’s Center
  • Airport
  • Conaf (Park Rangers)

Visitor’s Center

Cultural Building location, on the costanera (road along the shoreline): open from Monday through Friday, 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.

Municipal Terminal location: open from Monday through Sunday, 6:30 a.m. to 1:00 a.m. (during high season), and from Monday through Sunday, 6:30 a.m. to 11:00 p.m. (during low season).

Sernatur (National Tourism Service) Office: open from Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. (during high season), and from Monday through Friday, 8:30 a.m. to 6:00 p.m. (during low season). Saturday and Sundays from 10:00 a.m. to 6:00 p.m.

Important Dates

In January, the community holds its «Patagonian Festival of Artisanry and Tourism.

In February, the community also holds an Equestrian Festival, a festival celebrating Chiloé traditions, and its Lamb Festival.

In March, locals hold the Patagonian Sculpture Symposium.

Puerto Natales celebrates its anniversary in May.

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