Torres del Paine National Park

Puerto Natales, Gateway to Torres del Paine National Park

Airport of Puerto Natales
Teniente Julio Gallardo Airfield, Puerto Natales
Image: Radio Presidente Ibanez

Puerto Natales, is a small city of about 22,000 inhabitants, capital of Ultima Esperanza Province, North of the Region of Magallanes and Chilean Antarctica. It is located 253 km North of Punta Arenas, the regional capital and 2500 km. South of Santiago de Chile. Its proximity to the world famous Torres del Paine National Park makes the city gateway to the tourist center, but also the surroundings of Puerto Natales offer many other places of interest to visit. 

Until a few decades ago, the town was a place without much future, its economy based mainly on the operation of a local meat processing plant and coal mining in the neighboring town of Rio Turbio, Argentina. Today, conditions have changed significantly, and the former meatpacking plant has been transformed into one of several international-class hotels within the community's borders.
Currently, much of the local economy is based on artisanal fishing, large-scale salmon farming, and tourism.

Tourist Services 

In Puerto Natales, the tourism infrastructure has grown significantly in recent years to accommodate visitors who wish to explore the region's beautiful natural environment.

In terms of lodging, the city offers a variety of options, visitors can find hotels with modern amenities as well as cozy residences that offer a closer experience to the local community.

When it comes to dining, Puerto Natales has a wide variety of restaurants offering local delicacies such as fresh seafood and Patagonian lamb, as well as international options. Visitors can also enjoy cozy cafes and bakeries that offer tempting options for a snack or light meal.

In addition, the town offers tourist services such as travel agencies, outdoor equipment rentals, and tour guides that make it easy to explore the region's breathtaking landscapes, such as Torres del Paine National Park.

Some notable hotels in the area include:
Remota Patagonia Lodge, a world-class hotel with 72 spacious rooms, luxurious gastronomy, and ample spaces to relax.
Costaustralis Hotel, located on the coast road, offering 50 large, comfortable rooms with a beautiful view of Ultima Esperanza Bay.
Singular Hotel, a 5-star hotel just outside Puerto Natales, offering luxury accommodation and spa facilities.

In addition to these, there are other great options such as Hotel Capitan Eberhard, Hotel Costanera, Hotel The Veat, Weskar Lodge, Hostal Boutique Factoria Patagonia and many others.

How to get there

Hotel in Puerto Natales, Chile.
Hotel Costaustralis
By land, there are Bus Lines which connect daily with Punta Arenas through Route 9 North, the trip lasts 3 1/4 hours, Buses Fernandez, Bus Sur and Buses Pacheco. Also  by land from Argentine territory through Rio Don Guillermo, Dorotea or Casa Viejas border crossings. 
By Air, Teniente Gallardo Airport receives flights of SKY Airline and LATAM during the high tourist season (November to March).  

The Ferry Terminal receives and dispatches the ship once a week that connects the city of Puerto Montt in a spectacular crossing through the southern channels, the trip lasts 4 days and 3 nights. 

Likewise, in recent years, the arrival of large luxury yachts at the city's marine terminal is something that no longer surprises its residents. The beauty of the southern fjords and channels, as well as the proximity of wonderful national parks both in Chile and on the Argentine side of Patagonia, are great lures for the arrival of new visitors.

Puerto Natales on Google Map

What to visit around Puerto Natales:

Torres del Paine Park

Tourist places near Puerto Natales, Chile.
Parque Nacional Torres del Paine, one of Chile's great tourist attractions, considered the eighth wonder of the world, occupies the first place on this list. Declared a World Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO in 1978, its administrative headquarters are located 145 km north of Natales. Its main attractions lie in the spectacular nature of its relief, formed by a mountain chain that highlights the Paine Towers and Horns, glaciers, lakes and rivers whose waters come from the southern ice fields, and an abundant native fauna and flora. One of the many lakes that complement the magnificent setting is Lago Pehoe, recently chosen by the prestigious Italian publication Tgcom24 as one of the ten most beautiful in the world.

There are many tourist agencies that can be contacted in Natales, Punta Arenas or through the Internet that offer different tours to the Natural Reserve. The most famous tourist tours inside the park are: the demanding guided tour to the base of the Towers, one of the most famous trekking routes in the world; the trekking routes known as "The W", with a length of 80 km, which takes 4 or 5 days, and the route known as "The O", with a length of approximately 130 km, which takes 7 to 9 days; trekking on ice to the Gray Glacier, with a wonderful view of the lake of the same name; boat trips on the Serrano River, with views of the Paine Massif and the Tyndall and Geyke Glaciers, until you reach the Serrano Glacier in Bernardo O'Higgins National Park; in addition, the special geography of the park makes it an ideal setting for practicing various activities such as horseback riding, mountain biking, rafting, sport fishing, and mountaineering.


Municipal Historical Museum

Gallery created in 1990 on the initiative of the Carabineros de Chile and with the collaboration of the residents of the city. In the same year, it was taken over by the Municipality of Natales, which is responsible for the conservation and expansion of the museum's collections.
For its realization, the facilities of a pioneer house of the town were conditioned. There are 4 thematic rooms with an important collection of objects related to the origins of the southern communities of Kaweskar and Aonikenk, as well as documents and objects of the Eberhard family, of German origin, who came to colonize the area at the end of the 19th century, and a synthesis of the development of rural and urban life in Natales.  

Address: 285 Bulnes St.
08:00 to 19:00 (Monday to Friday) 
10:00 to 13:00 and 15:00 to 19:00 (Saturdays)

Frigorifico Bories Historical - Industrial Museum

Located 5 km north of Puerto Natales, in the grounds of The Singular Patagonia, a world-class hotel. Frigorífico Bories was the largest and most important meat processing plant in Patagonia, built in 1913 and operating until 1973, when the company was dissolved. The plant was designed to process and export sheep meat and derivatives to Europe. It was declared a National Monument in 1996.
After years of abandonment, in 1999 the facilities of the plant were restored and an important part of the machinery, of advanced technology for the beginning of the 20th century, was recovered. The luxurious hotel is built over the old restored facilities and offers guided tours for guests and outside visitors to soak up the rich history of the site. The entrance fee can be waived by consuming on arrival at the cozy bar.

Cueva del Milodon Natural Monument

Milodon's Cave, Chile.
Image: Ecocamp Patagonia
Adventure Travels with Cascada & Ecocamp Patagonia

The Cueva del Milodon (Milodon's Cave) is a natural cave located 24 km from Puerto Natales, on the western slope of Cerro Benitez (Benitez Hill). The Natural Monument consists of 3 caves where in 1896 were found the remains of a Milodon, a prehistoric animal of great dimensions that probably became extinct at the end of the Pleistocene. Of the three caves, the most important is 30 meters high, 80 meters in front and 200 meters deep, where at the entrance there is a replica of the animal and then there is a path to go inside. This is a much visited place because of its high scientific importance, as well as being a short distance from the city and in a region of great scenic beauty such as Laguna Sofia and its surroundings.

La Silla del Diablo (The Devil's Chair)

Another much visited place near Natales, located at the entrance of the Cueva del Milodon Natural Monument, is La Silla del Diablo, a rock formation with a whimsical shape resembling a giant chair. According to legend, this rocky structure was the seat of the Milodon, who was later transformed by popular imagination into a devil. In fact, the unusual shape of this solid formation is due to the erosion caused by an enormous glacier that covered the area during the Llanquihue Ice Age, which took place about 110,000 years ago.


Navigation to Balmaceda and Serrano Glaciers

Tours to glaciers in Bernardo O'Higgins National Park
Image: Vientos del Sur - Tours Agency
Punta Arenas   
One of the most recommended tours starting from Natales, through the Señoret Channel and the Ultima Esperanza Fjord. This interesting navigation allows to know the Balmaceda and Serrano Glaciers, which are part of the Bernardo O'Higgins National Park, accessible only by sea. 
Bernardo O'Higgins National Park has a total area of 3,525,901 hectares, making it the largest park in Chile. This protected area includes parts of the Aysen and Magellan regions and the glaciers of the Southern Ice Field, the largest ice mass in South America. The tours usually include a stop at an Estancia (Patagonian cattle ranch) to enjoy a typical lunch of local lamb and whiskey with millennial ice in the glacier area. This tour is usually done in 1 day and the season goes from September to March.

Navigation to El Canal de las Montañas (Fjord of the Mountains) 

Sailing through the Patagonian channels, enjoying the marine scenery and fauna, up to the Canal de Las Montañas, a 66 km long fjord flanked by the snow-capped mountains of the Cordillera Sarmiento and Cordillera Riesco, dense forests of trees bent by the persistent wind, and what cannot be missed in this region, the majestic glaciers. It is a group of 5 glaciers of the Cordillera Sarmiento, whose names in order of appearance are Zamudio, Bernal, Hermann, Alsina and Paredes. With the exception of the kayak trips, the duration of the trip is 10 - 12 hours starting from Puerto Natales and the execution of this tour is subject to weather conditions.

Kaweskar Navigation Route    

The Chilean tourism company Skorpios named this tour in honor of the native inhabitants of the area, the Kaweskar, also called Alacalufes. With rustic canoes made of logs and bark, and, of course, no instruments for navigation, they were perfect connoisseurs of the intricate channels of southern Chile. 
The 380-mile route to the Southern Ice Field takes 4 days and visits the largest number of glaciers and fjords in the region, including the Amalia, El Brujo, Calvo Fjord, Bernal and Herman glaciers. During the navigation you can see a variety of marine fauna and flora, which is still kept in a virgin and wild state, there are boat raids, walks along the coast, etc. See Skorpios' Kaweskar Route.

Pedro Montt Waterfront

Waterfront of Puerto Natales with Mylodon Monument.
The beach road, once one of the town's desolate places, has been restructured according to the tourist development registered in recent years. The current Waterfront, with a beautiful panoramic view as a backdrop, snow-capped mountains in the distance, and bird and marine fauna, represents one of the nerve centers of Puerto Natales. 

Puerto Natales offers a variety of tourist attractions not to be missed. With so many options to explore, Natales promises an unforgettable experience for travelers seeking adventure and authenticity.

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