Tourism tips in Puerto Natales: discover the main tourist attractions to know and visit in the Chilean Patagonia destination
Puerto Natales is the gateway to the most beautiful landscapes in southern Patagonia, the small town is very close to the Torres del Paine and Bernardo O'Higgins National Park, two important environmental reserves in Chile.
A destination coveted by adventurers and nature lovers, the Chilean Patagonia reserves scenic landscapes worthy of movie sets. Crossed by hundreds of canals, glaciers, fjords, lakes and mountains, the region at the southern end of the Chile is known for its unspoilt and inhospitable natural landscapes.
The little one City in Puerto Natales is surrounded by these landscapes, right at the foot of the mountains, and serves as a great base option for those looking to discover Chilean national parks, the untouched landscapes of the mountains to the south of Patagonia and the extensive fields of pampas.
very close to Torres del Paine National Parks and Bernardo O'Higgins, Puerto Natales can be identified as one of the great tourist destinations in the Chile and gives South America. Its privileged location, close to glaciers and majestic mountains, increasingly forms a surprising destination that has once and for all entered the route of adventurers who want to discover the wonders of Patagonia.
The Paine Massif, located in the Torres del Paine National Park, is the main reason to attract so many tourists during the summer, who take advantage of the park's landscapes to take walks in fabulous settings. THE Cueva del Milodon shows evidence of a prehistoric animal that inhabited the region over 10,000 years ago and was found in this part of Chile. It was in this large cave that they found the bones of a mylodon, a species of sloth, which was on average three meters tall and weighed over 200 kilograms.
In the navigations, departing from the Puerto Natales, there are nautical accesses that go up to the north in different cities of Chilean Patagonia. Leaving the city, it is possible to make long crossings of 2, 3 or 4 days aboard ferry boats. Travel time varies depending on your destination and is done by the companies navimag and Austral Broom, passing through the country's enchanting fjords. For shorter tours, navigating the channel of Last Hope, the company May 21 tourism offers full-day hop-on hop-off tours around the city of Puerto Natales.
As if all this amount of natural attractions to be discovered were not enough, the city is one of the entrances to Campos de Hielo Sur, the third largest area covered by ice on the planet. Its location close to the border with Argentina, also makes it possible to reach other famous destinations in Patagonia, such as the Perito Moreno Glacier, in the city of El Calafate and Mount Fitz Roy, in the small community of El Chalten.
Puerto Natales it is right in front of the Cape of Last Hope, a narrow arm of the Pacific, which enters towards the mainland, forming surreal landscapes. Despite being small, the cozy Puerto Natales has great options for accommodation, restaurants and bars. Av. San Martin, crosses the entire municipality and brings together the vast majority of tourist agencies, shops, cafes and supermarkets.
Puerto Natales has a mixture of peasant and fishing culture. The city has a small port and is surrounded by beautiful fields and mountains where the traditional gauchos of the region live. Its cuisine is watered with seafood and the famous grilled lamb meat. Some of the best-rated dining options are around Plaza San Martín and Av. Costanera. The Bahia Mansa restaurant is an option for those who want to taste fish and seafood. Choose one of the ceviche options available as a starter and finish the gastronomic tour by tasting the wonderful merlouza with artichoke puree, which is even better accompanied by a good Chilean wine.
If you are looking to eat the famous lamb barbecue, the best options are the estancias that prepare the traditional Parrillada, our tip is the Perales Estancia. Within the city, the restaurants Parrila Don Jorge and Parrila Pehoe are among the best options.
Things to do in Puerto Natales
Torres del Paine
THE Torres del Paine National Park is among the most visited regions in Patagonia. The reserve houses areas of forests, fields with dry vegetation, glaciers, mountains, waterfalls and is the natural habitat of a rich wildlife. In 1978, the area was declared a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO.
This is the most famous trekking in Patagonia. The 5-day hike passes numerous attractions near the base of Torres del Paine. The trail is recommended for more experienced hikers. Whoever decides to face the adventure enters 3 different valleys, each with a different landscape.
Cueva del Milodon
The huge cave is 24 km from Puerto Natales and houses traces of a prehistoric animal that lived in the region. In addition to history, the landscape is surrounded by snowy mountains and woods. At the entrance to the park, you can visit four other attractions: Cueva del Medio, Cueva Chica, Silla del Diablo and a viewpoint located on the roof of Cueva del Milodón.
Serrano Glacier and Balmaceda
The glaciers are located within the Bernardo O'Higgins National Park and can be accessed by boat sailing along the Last Hope Channel. After navigating between the fjords and seeing some of the local marine life, it is necessary to take a small trail that leads the tourist to the Serrano Glacier viewpoint. The second glacier is observed inside the vessel at a relatively close distance. read more.
Gray Glacier navigation
The Gray Glacier is located in the northern part of Torres del Paine National Park right next to the formidable mountain range. It is possible to get very close through the navigations offered in the attraction.
Round trip El Calafate and Perito Moreno
Some agencies in the city offer full day tours to the Perito Moreno, in El Calafate. Despite the rush, the trip can be a valid option if you don't have many days available in the itinerary, but want to visit the famous glacier of Argentine Patagonia.
Sailing through the fjords to Puerto Montt
Puerto Natales and Puerto Montt are connected by river transport lines through Ferry boats that cross the Patagonian fjords. Some companies provide rooms for passengers to discover this emblematic route in the region. The navigation lasts 4 days and has quick stops in some villages located on the Carretera Austral.
Other places to visit in Puerto Natales:
- Plaza a los vientos
- statue of la Mano
- Plaza de Armas
- Etherh Aike Craft Market
- Viewpoint from Avenida Santiago Bueraque
How to get to Puerto Natales
The Carlos Ibáñez del Campo International Airport in Punta Arenas is the most comfortable and fastest option to get to Puerto Natales. From there it is possible to reach the destination using transfers, taxis and collective buses.
The companies Buses Fernández, Pacheco buses and bus south do the Punta stretch Arenas x Puerto Natales daily in just 3 hours. If you are coming from the Argentine side of Patagonia, the Cootra and Pacheco buses offer the route from El Calafate.
Best time to visit Puerto Natales
Summer is the most popular season for tourists. The days are longer and the temperature increases between the months of November and February, providing cleaner days and a greater possibility of seeing the highest mountains in the region. This great demand usually quickly limits the options for accommodation in the city. If you are planning a trip to Puerto Natales during the summer, make reservations in advance, especially if you are going to hike the W or O circuit. hottest of the year.
During autumn the vegetation takes on warmer colors and the woods are even more beautiful with their trees in shades of red. Despite the temperature being lower, it is possible to do the trails inside Torres del Paine Park and the vast majority of attractions are still open.
Winter gains an interim white bucolic landscape. Temperatures at this time can reach an incredible -10 C and the days are shorter. This can be a great time if you want to have contact with snow and know what the coldest days are like in this southern area of the globe. It is worth remembering that in winter some hotel and restaurant options close their doors due to low demand, and some attractions such as the W Circuit are unavailable due to snow.
Where to stay in Puerto Natales
The small destination offers countless possibilities and exclusive experiences in hotels located within the Torres del Paine National Park. Close to downtown Puerto Natales, the Hotel Martín Gusinde, is on Rua Carlos Bories next to Plaza de Armas and offers great value-for-money rooms in the city. already the Hotel Costaustralis, offers super cozy rooms overlooking the Ultima Esperanza Canal.
the hostels Patagonian Andes, Vinnhaus it's the Coiron motorcycles, are among the best rated options on travel sites, platforms and are among the favorites of backpackers passing through Puerto Natales.
Those who decide to spend a few nights inside Torres del Paine National Park can enjoy great structures that offer exclusive views of some of the reserve's attractions. THE Hotel Lago Gray offers the famous navigations to the glacier of the same name and all rooms have views of the Cordillera Paine. THE ecocamp has luxurious chalets in the middle of the mountains offering unique moments of contact with the local nature.
Another option is the traditional gaucho ranches that offer accommodation on farms. THE Mercedes resort is one of the most famous (and charming) farms in the region. In addition to accommodation, the farm offers numerous activities that connect visitors to nature, including horseback riding and hiking through the mountains of the region. Another highlight of Estância Mercedes are the delicious dinners from Rio Grande do Sul that the family prepares for the guest.
* This trip was made at the invitation of the Chile Travel in collaboration with the Better Travel Guide.
Useful links for your trip to Puerto Natales
Plan your trip to Puerto Natales
Check out a selection of articles with tourist tips in Puerto Natales to help you plan your trip:
- Patagonia: how to travel around the region by plane, bus and boat
- Places to visit in Punta Arenas
- 9 sensational places you need to know in Chile
- Penguin Tour: Navigation on the Beagle Channel and Isla Martillo
book your hotel
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Tickets to Puerto Natales
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