Puerto Natales

Destination - Patagonia - Puerto Natales

Puerto Natales

Beside the beautiful Seno de Última Esperanza (Last Hope Sound), this quaint smallish town of about 20,000 residents offers clean air, wonderful views across the water and accessibility to one of the world's greatest national parks.

A living, working town, which comes alive during the short summer season, Puerto Natales sees its share of action. People arrive both by road (from Argentina or Punta Arenas) and by boat (from Puerto Montt). It has its own airport with 3 flights landing per week, in summer season only. Its shops sell everything from outdoor clothing to locally made crafts and souvenirs and there is a good supermarket Unimarc selling supplies for backpacking in the Park.

Restaurants offer everything from Pizza to Vegetarian Lasagne...and dont miss the excellent meat and seafood!

Lodging is available to suit every budget with some good, friendly hostals and some large, luxury hotels on the waterfront.

Puerto Natales is an easy town to navigate and a good place to wander around. For a rewarding stroll - especially bracing in high winds - take the road north along the Sound and watch black-necked swans quietly ducking into the water along the shores.


Puerto Natales was founded in 1911. By the 1970s it had become one of the area's leading beef exporters. In 1913 the Sociedad Explotadora Tierra del Fuego established a large industrial complex at Puerto Bories just north of the town. Establishing itself as the prime processing centre for meat preservation, tanning and wool washing facilities it soon overtook Puerto Prat as the residential centre and shipping port for the area's products (now only cold storage and the slaughterhouse remain).

Today, many of the town's inhabitants wore mines in Rio Turbio just over the border in Argentina. Its recent growth is however largely due to its close proximity to Torres del Paine and the tourism it generates. Fishing and Livestock still feature strongly in the region's economy.

Natalinos possess a legendary warmth and charm. This coupled with the town's incredible location means visitors frequently stay longer than planned. Some never leave.