The gateway to Torres del Paine and an ideal stop-over place pre or post entering the park.
Patagonia’s Most Iconic Hiking Trail
TORRES DEL PAINE
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About Puerto Natales Travel Destination
Where is Puerto Natales Located?
Puerto Natales is the closest village to Torres del Paine, which is only a 1hr drive entering from the west or a 2hr drive entering from the east. It is a small, almost quaint village sitting beside the “Canal Senoret” and facing the Sound (or Fiord) of Last Hope (“Seno de Ultima Esperanza”). It is 250km north of Punta Arenas and 120km south of the Laguna Amarga entrance to Torres del Paine National Park (by road), but only 70km by road from TDP if entering from the west.
Drive from Puerto Natales to Punta Arenas
A good, paved road connects Puerto Natales to Punta Arenas and takes about 3hrs to drive. The road to Torres del Paine is paved as far as the border village Cerro Castillo, which takes about 50min to drive to and then a further 1hr 10min to drive the partly-paved road to Laguna Amarga in Torres del Paine. The other route from Puerto Natales to the Villa Serrano end of Torres del Paine is unpaved and takes just over one hour to drive and leads to the western entrance into Torres del Paine and the central CONAF Administration centre. This route also passes by the interesting and impressive “Milodon Cave” – a large, high ceiling cave dating back to prehistoric times.
Ideal Stop-Over Place Before Torres del Paine
Puerto Natales is an ideal stop-over place or an excellent base from which to enter Torres del Paine on day trips. It is also a base from which to travel to El Calafate or Punta Arenas. Accommodation in Puerto Natales at the high end is at an extremely good level.
One of the benefits to staying based in Puerto Natales is that there are the attractions of evening life such as restaurants and bars.
Puerto Natales Arrivals and Transfers
For most of the year all arrivals to Puerto Natales are from Punta Arenas or El Calafate, over the border in Argentina.
The flight to Punta Arenas from Santiago is usually 4hrs, but longer if the flight stops off at Puerto Montt. From Punta Arenas the drive time to Puerto Natales is 3hrs.
From El Calafate the drive time, with border-crossing paperwork either side included, is around 6hrs.
However, in the high season months of January and February LATAM has been running flights from Santiago to Puerto Natales direct on some days of the week. This obviously cuts out the need to drive from Punta Arenas.
What is the average temperature in Puerto Natales?
Puerto Natales Places of Interest
The principal place of interest near to Puerto Natales is, of course, Torres del Paine National Park, and over the border – El Calafate with Perito Moreno Glacier.
Very close to Puerto Natales village is the prehistoric Milodon Cave, named so when bone fragments of a prehistoric creature called the Milodon were discovered in the cave. The cave itself is a very large cavern created by wave motion into conglomerate rock, and is worth a visit if you have time. There are also some interesting treks around and over the vast conglomerate rock formation, but best to go with a guide as some areas are potentially dangerous if you are not familiar with the territory.
Puerto Natales village, at its centre, has a plaza, as do all Chilean settlements, but with a decent church too.
If you can walk down to the shore and look to your right you will get a magnificent view of the fiord (or sound) and glaciated mountains at the end.
Clothes to Wear for Puerto Natales
Try to bring LAYERS of breathable clothes that can be taken off or put on easily to adapt to any change in weather and as you heat up and cool down on a trek. Cotton undershirts are NOT recommended – see below.
Ideally clothes such as:
Over your body skin: an under vest (long sleeved if possible) made, ideally, from synthetic fibres so it dries quickly. If very cold weather (ie early spring, winter months or autumn) then thermal underwear made from synthetic fibres. The reason for synthetic fibres is because when you are walking several hours you will build up a sweat and your under garments will get wet, this then gets cold when you stop and will make you cold unless the wet material dries quickly. Cotton does not dry quickly, whereas synthetic material will dry more quickly.
Over your under vest: a breathable top such as a fleece.
Over your fleece: a waterproof windbreaker over jacket.
For your legs: trekking pants, resistant to rain and wind, but made from a breathable material otherwise you will sweat. Jeans are NOT good as they can get wet and not dry.
Over your trekking pants: waterproof shell pants to go over your trekking pants in the event of heavy rain.
For your feet: wool or synthetic socks. Waterproof trekking boots with ankle support and none-slip sole. If new make sure you break them in prior to using them on a trek.
For your hands: gloves. Close to glaciers it can be very cold.
For your head: a warm hat (not a jockey cap), sunglasses and sun-protection cream and a headband to keep your ears warm when not using the hat.
For your personal use: a back pack for food, water and clothes.
For your safety: a battery-operated torch for when power is out or if you are arriving to a refugio in the dark. Take with you during the trek extra water and snacks. Prepare for all weather conditions and dress for the outdoors. Do NOT go off the trail because if you have the slightest incident such as twisting an ankle, you may not be found.
Average Temperatures in TDP during the year
Summer (Dec – Jan – Feb) Max + 23.5°c / Min + 0.8°c.
Puerto Natales Map
Our featured hotels and suppliers have been selected by us for one or more of their attributes such as: location, views, surroundings, comfort, professional service, “uniqueness”, food and/or overall good feeling that one gets from being there.
PATAGONIA TRAVEL DESTINATIONS
Torres del Paine is quite simply one of the most amazing geographical wonders of the world. Set in the heart of an area of incredible outstanding natural beauty, Patagonia.
El Chalten is a very small touristic village located beyond the northern end of Lake Viedma and within the Los Glaciares National Park 200klometers north from El Calafate.
Puerto Natales is the closest village to Torres del Paine, which is only a one-hour drive entering from the west or a two-hour drive entering from the east.
Punta Arenas is accessible by a 4hr flight from Santiago, often with a short stop-over in Puerto Montt. The Southern-most city of the American continent.
The first time the name Ushuaia appeared in writing was when, in 1869, the English missionary Waite Hockin Stirling documented his experiences of living with the Yamana people.
El Calafate is the gateway to the large Perito Moreno Glacier and trekking at El Chalten. It is also a stop-off on the way to Torres del Paine in Chile and Ushuaia in southern Argentina.
TORRES DEL PAINE
Tierra Patagonia Hotel
TORRES DEL PAINE
Explora Salto Chico Hotel
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