Puerto Natales

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Puerto Natales is a town in Chile, the gateway to trekking in Torres del Paine or Bernardo O'Higgins National Parks. It offers good infrastructure, especially a few trekking shops (although you'd do better to get your gear in Punta Arenas) and not-so-cheap supermarkets. Since 2009 the two larger supermarkets (Unimarc and Don Bosco) have increased their stocking of foods that are needed by trekkers/backpackers, including lightweight soups, precooked "ramen" noodles, hard cheeses, gorp components (dried fruits and nuts), Snickers bars, and powdered drinks. However, freeze-dried products are not to be found. Puerto Natales features a couple of characteristics that visitors should be aware of. One is that the population is largely descended from immigrants from Chiloé, and the "chilote" tendencies (cooking, building style) are evident. Another characteristic is that there are very strong Communist/Leftist affiliations in this town, so take this into account by being careful with your conversations involving related politics. Aside from the chilotes, you will find many surnames of British and Croatian descent. (less...) (more...)

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Hotels

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  • 2 star hotels 2 star hotel
  • 1 star hotels 1 star hotel

Cities

  • Metropolis over 100 hotels
  • Big city 50-100 hotels
  • Medium city 20-50 hotels
  • Small city 5-20 hotels
  • Village below 5 hotels

Points of Interest

  • Beach Beach
  • Business object Business object
  • Casino Casino
  • Civic property Civic property
  • Education Education
  • Entertainment Entertainment
  • Golf course Golf course
  • Green space Green space
  • Harbor Harbor
  • Historic site Historic site
  • Interesting place Interesting place
  • Medical Medical
  • Monument Monument
  • Museum Museum
  • Shopping Shopping
  • Skiing Skiing
  • Sports facility Sports facility
  • Theater Theater
  • Winery Winery

Points of Interest in Puerto Natales

  • Cueva del Milodón Natural Monument, e-mail: monumento.cuevadelmilodon@conaf.cl. 8:30AM-8:30PM. The milodón is an extinct 12 foot tall giant sloth. This cave was its home. Of course, not all the milodóns were 12 feet tall. Some of the younger ones weren't even 11 feet tall. There's a scenic interpretive loop trail and campsites run by CONAF. CLP$2,000-$4,000.

Plaza de Armas

Cueva del Milodon

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About Puerto Natales

Background

Although not of very high interest as itself, Puerto Natales is an ideal basis for a trek in Torres del Paine National Park. Remember that the city is the last chance to get food (in the supermarkets) and gas before the park.

The city is built along the very beautiful Ultima Esperanza Bay.

The Navimag ferry ship to Puerto Montt departs from here.

Activities

See the harbour, do a trek in Torres del Paine, Perito Moreno, Milodón Cave, catch a boat on one of the lakes.

There are guided rentals of motorcycles (Kawasaki KLR650) for adventure tours of southern Patagonia, including Tierra del Fuego. The owner has been riding Patagonia since 1978 and takes clients to points that many tourists would miss including scenic spots; also good breaks in places with good cappuccino). Inquire via patagonia2004@hotmail.com Update: the service for 2010-2011 season will not start in January 2011 and advance planning is necessary. You must be an experienced off-pavement rider in good physical and mental condition and have a motorcycle cert on your licence. You must plan ahead and bring your own riding gear. Some client fotos [ here [2] and [ here [3]]

  • Walk to the boatyard. South on Pedro Montt, about 1 km beyond the Navimag pier. Wooden fishing boats are hauled ashore for painting, repair, or sometimes just abandoned. Don't forget your camera. There is also a "Navy pier" adjacent to the Navimag pier with benches to sit and enjoy the scenery.
  • Criollo Expeditions, Huerto 157 B, Calle No 1 (On the way to Torres del Paine, take a right on Felix Valenzuela (just past hotel Remota). To the top of the T, to the left),  +56 (9) 85284225 +56 (9) 68118463. M-Su 7AM-7PM. Daily horse rides and fishing trips. Kids and families welcome, no experience necessary. Fun, friendly and responsible!

The city museum: Museo Histórico Municipal, on Bulnes 285. Foreigners pay twice as much for entry as Chilean residents, similar to entry to Torres del Paine national park (welcome to Chile). Hours vary by season but usually 0830 to 1230 and 230 to 600 in the afternoon on weekdays.

Food

  • Afrigonia, Eberhard 323,  +56 61 412877. Food is not typical of the local region, because the owners are a Zambian and Chilean couple who have something different to offer apart from the other typical food of the region. Small but nice and cosy!
  • Andres, Ladrilleros 381,  +56 61 412380. Great meat, fish and vegetarian dishes. 70's diner decor and very good prices. Andres himself is very kind and sometimed tend to "spoil" customers with free pisco sours as starters and a complimentary ice cream for desert. A few blocks from the plaza but worth the walk.
  • Baguales Brewery, Bories 430 (Near the Plaza de Armas),  +56 61 411920, e-mail: cervezabaguales@gmail.com. 1PM-2AM M-Sa, December to February. Only brewery in Puerto Natales. Fantastic beer with great food.
  • El living, Arturo Prat 156 (Near the Plaza de Armas). Cafe with wholesome food, great cakes, lunches and coffee. Recommended for vegeterians and has a book exchange.
  • El Asador Patagónico, Arturo Prat 158 (Near the Plaza de Armas),  +56 61 413553. Parilla serving traditional Chilean lamb.
  • Mesita Grande, Arturo Prat 196 (Southwest corner of the Plaza de Armas),  +56 61 411571, fax: +CC 555 555-5555, e-mail: pizzeria@mesitagrande.cl. Good pizzas and salads. Owner is Swiss. Microbrew Baguales beer is served. Get there early. Recently added wifi. CLP$2.300-$5.500.
  • Patagonia Dulce, Barros Arana 233,  +56 61 415285. Days and times open. Some of the best coffee and pastry in Natales, if not the region. Free wifi. Pleasant background music. Friendly and very professional, the sort of place you might expect to find in Switzerland. Prices commensurate with the better quality.
  • Picá de Carlitos, Esmeralda 581,  +56 61 415496. Typical Chilean fare at reasonable "picada" prices. Free Wifi. If you try talking with Carlos himself you will not understand a word. Has both smoking and nonsmoking sides.
  • Última Esperanza, Eberhard 354 (across from Afrigonia). Good, moderately-priced seafood. Popular with families, and one of the first places to open on Sunday afternoon.

Drinks

The water quality in Natales is not particularly good, though it is considered safe and healthy by the government. It has a high concentration of dissolved mineral content. The Natales municipal water is pumped from wells and the raw water is rather silty, with high tannin and other organic content. The water does not come "from the glaciers" which in any event are more than 40 km away and dump their icemelt into the brackish waters of the fjord.

Shopping

  • Miriam Parra handicraft, Manuel Bulnes. Great handicrafts excellent quality situated on one of the main roads in Natales. Everything from sheep skin to wooden craft.
  • Taller del Arbol, Eberhard 36,  (56)61 411461. Very nice custom made jewelry, made in the workshop while you watch. Even if you're not buying, they're happy to talk.
  • El Toque Campero, Eberhard 148 (3 Blocks down on the right hand side, from the main square (with the church) OR right next to Hotel Glaciares),  +56 (9) 410 452. M-Su, 8AM to 9PM. cool artesan crafts, you can find mate, bombillas and other gaucho things, wool sweaters and nice hats. great quality things
  • ETNIA SOUVENIRS & WOOL, BAQUEDANO 351-B (BETWEEN BULNES AND ESMERALDA ST.). HANDICRAFT, SOUVENIRS, WOOL STORE, SHEEP´S AND ALPACA WOOL, HANDMADE KNITTINGS,FUNNY AND COLORFUL DESIGNS, BEST PRICES IN TOWN, ENGLISH SPOKEN

This article is based on Creative Commons Attribution/Share-Alike 3.0 Licensed text from the article Puerto Natales on Wikivoyage.

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