Originally founded in 1911, Puerto Natales is a city like no other, offering a variety of breathtaking natural features and sites all close by and all waiting to be explored. Whether it's expansive wooded parklands, towering mountains, fjords, lakes, glaciers, or vast cave systems that capture your interest, serious ecotourists and casual sightseers alike will be thrilled with the environmental diversity surrounding this unique Patagonian port city. Stay in one of our vacation rentals to experience Puerto Natales without sacrificing any comforts of home!
Puerto Natales is located 150 miles north of Punta Arenas, 19 miles south of the Argentine city of Río Turbio, and a little over 200 miles due west of Río Gallegos, the capital of the province of Santa Cruz in Argentina. Daily flights from Santiago to the Presidente Carlos Ibáñez del Campo International Airport in Punta Arenas will get you close enough for an overland journey to your cozy vacation rental via hired bus or car (a three-hour trip).
Considered the entrance to the famous Torres del Paine National Park, Puerto Natales offers mild (and even cool) temperatures and cooperative weather throughout most of the year. This allows you to head out into the surrounding lands and waterways with little fear of snowfall or even heavy rain.
While there are several national parks in Southern Chile, Torres del Paine was ranked the fifth most beautiful place in the world by National Geographic and draws people from all over the globe. Its 450,000-acre expanse contains dense forests, mountains, rivers, lakes, glaciers, and winding rivers. The most famous feature of this park is the Torres del Paine - three distinctive granite peaks of the Paine mountain range that extend 2,500 meters above sea level! Hike miles of clearly marked paths and keep your eyes out (and cameras) for some of the native wildlife, including guanacos, foxes, and pumas, as well as a number of amazing birds.
If you want an opportunity to actually step inside the earth, pay a visit to the Cueva del Milodón Natural Monument located just 15 miles northwest of Puerto Natales. This region contains several caves to explore and incredible rock formations to admire. The monument also includes one cave that is particularly notable for the remains of a giant ground sloth discovered there back in 1895.
Another adventure that is sure to be a favorite among everyone (but especially photographers) is a guided trip through the Patagonian fjords. Delight in the crisp, cool air and the magical sights as you pass by incredible ice fields and crystal-blue glaciers on a ferry or sailboat.
If you're choosing to stick close to the comfort of your vacation rental, downtown Puerto Natales offers a surprising number of excellent restaurants. Head to Aldea for authentic Chilean food or the elegant Singular Patagonia for fine seafood, then mosey over to Chocolateria Patagonia Dulce for coffee, cakes, and other sweet after-dinner treats.
Anyone interested in history or culture should be sure to visit the Municipal Historical Museum for exhibits and information pertaining to the immediate area. You'll learn about the native inhabitants, the Kawéskar, and what life was like for the early settlers.
For retail options, there are quite a few shops selling crafts and other wares from local artisans and natives. Check out La Tehuelche for their exquisite wool wall hangings, as well as the Craft Village Etherh Aike, a market featuring several stalls that offer a number of handmade, one-of-a-kind gifts.
Don your Indiana Jones hat and start making plans to stay in one of our fantastic Puerto Natales vacation rentals located right at the doorstep of some of the most spectacular terrain in South America!
Photo Credit: Brittany via Flickr