Puerto Natales On a Budget
Puerto Natales experiences summer weather from November through March, with temperatures ranging from 50-60 degrees Fahrenheit. From April through October, temperatures tend to be in the low 40's. The best time to visit is in January when the temperatures are comfortable and it is fairly dry.
SightsThe major sight in Puerto Natales is located 15 miles northwest of the city called the Cueva del Milodon. The Milodon is a national monument made up of a series of caves and a rock formation called the Silla del Diablo, or Devil's Chair. The area is known as a major archeological site; it is where they found the fossils of the 12-foot Milodon sloth. Inside the Milodon Cave, you'll actually find a replica of the sloth!
When you first arrive in the city, make sure to take a walk to the Muelle Historico, the old dock of the city where only the posts remain. Take a relaxing walk along the seafront to the beginning of the dock were you'll get incredible views of the nearby mountains and sea.
NeighborhoodsPuerto Natales is a small city, with the city center being the main area of interest for tourists. Just west of the city is the Torres del Paine National Park, with daily minibuses leaving from the city center of Puerto Natales to the park. About a three-hour drive south is the major city of Punta Arenas, where you'll find the international airport and the southernmost brewery in the world, Austral Brewery. Or, head three-hours north to Punta ArenasEl Calafate to trek through the stunning glacial blue Lago Argentina.
ActivitiesThe most popular activity in Puerto Natales is a trek through the nearby Torres del Paine National Park where you'll find stunning mountains, glaciers, lakes, and rivers. The area is covered in well-marked trails ranging from small day trips to week long adventures around the entire area. Closer to the city is the Mirador Cerro Dorotea, a private hiking trail that takes you through meadows and woods to top of the hill where you're rewarded with incredible views of the city and mountains. You have to pay a fee to get onto the trail, as the land is privately owned, but one of the owners will give you a brief introduction along with some tea and snacks when you arrive! Or, for something a little more relaxed but just as scenic, take a boat ride through the Patagonian fjords from a tour leaving from the beautiful Puerto Natales Pier.
Food and DiningAs Puerto Natales is often the base camp for travels to nearby national parks, the city ensures that there are plenty of restaurants to fill up before daily adventures begin. You'll find many restaurants cater to tourists by offering many western foods, especially pizza! Cafes are also very popular here, selling coffee, mate tea, and pastries. Be careful with water consumption, the water quality is considered safe by the government but contains a high concentration of mineral content that may be harsh on a tourist's stomach. With that, you'll want to stick to bottled water and be sure to wash any produce you purchase with clean water.
TransportationBuses and driving are your two options for getting into Puerto Natales. You can catch a bus from the city of Punta Arenas, Chile; some bus companies will pick you up directly from the Punta Arenas airport while others pick you up from the city center. You can also rent a car from Punta Arenas to drive to Puerto Natales with.
The city is very small, meaning you can easily get around on foot. When going to the National Park, the JBA bus company is a great option as they offer comfortable options with the same daily schedule.