In the south of Chile, Puerto Natales is one of the must-see places for those who want to visit the Torres del Paine National Forest. Its picturesque style and the hospitality of its inhabitants make this southern town a warm place.
Puerto Natales, one of the southernmost towns in the Andean country, is located 2,500 kilometers from Santiago de Chile (Chile’s capital). The main attraction of Natales is its proximity to the Torres del Paine National Park, recognized by mountaineers from all over the world as one of the most beautiful in America.
Where is Puerto Natales? Puerto Natales is a small city located in southern Chile, on the shores of Seno Ultima Esperanza.
Despite its remote location and sparse population, Puerto Natales has a vibrant culture with beautiful architecture and tasty local cuisine. From its natural beauty to its welcoming community, Puerto Natales is definitely worth a visit for any traveler looking for an adventure in southern Chile.
How to get to Puerto Natales
One of the best ways to get to the beautiful city of Puerto Natales in Chile is by bus.
Many companies offer daily bus routes from cities such as Punta Arenas and El Calafate, with travel times ranging from 5 to 12 hours, depending on the departure point.
Another option is to fly to the nearby Punta Arenas airport and take a shuttle or cab to Puerto Natales. Although not as economical, the flight reduces travel time considerably. Of course, you can also rent a car or even take a ferry from Argentina if you have time and opportunity. Regardless of the route you choose, the breathtaking scenery and charming atmosphere of Puerto Natales will make the trip worthwhile.
Although there is the possibility of staying directly in Torres del Paine, sleeping in Puerto Natales has other attractions that make it worth visiting. The picturesque style of its buildings, the warmth of its inhabitants and the fresh seafood that can be tasted in the restaurants, make this fishing village a pleasant and comfortable place.
What to do in Puerto Natales
From Puerto Natales you can take boat excursions and sail to the Serrano and Balmaceda snowdrifts, through the Canal de las Montañas and some fjords. Another alternative is to visit the numerous glaciers that populate the Bernardo O’Higgins National Park and the Southern Ice Field, and give life to a large number of lakes.
Twenty-four kilometers north of Puerto Natales is Cueva del Milodón, where the remains of a 10,383-year-old animal were found. More than a century ago, the German colonist Hermann Eberhard found a piece of dried skin 1.5 meters long and 0.90 meters wide inside this cave.
It was not until 1951 that researchers analyzed the bones attached to that skin and concluded that it was a mylodon, a prehistoric land species that reached 2.5 meters in height and weighed 3 tons. Today, there is an on-site museum erected at the entrance of the cave, which allows visitors to learn more about the origins of this animal and its history.