Puerto Natales, located on shores of the Senoret Channel, is one of Chile’s southernmost cities and the capital of the province of Ultima Esperanza. Puerto Natales first became popular among tourists as the gateway into the Torres del Paine and Bernardo O'Higgins National Parks. These days, it is also an urban watering hole offering everything from restaurants and luxury hotels to casino games. Get a car for hire in Puerto Natales so that you can set your own itinerary to explore the national parks and Antarctic glaciers.
Puerto Natales is not big on man-made tourist attractions, but it does have a few colonial buildings and some unique points of interest. You can start with the Main Square, which includes the 20th century Municipality building located at Bulnes 285. It houses the Tourist Information Office and the Museo Historico Municipal. Get a car for rent in Puerto Natales and head for the Puerto Natales Casino located at Bories 314. It has a restaurant and bar if you feel like taking a break. You must also visit the Milodon Cave about 15 miles outside the city. This set of caves was discovered in 1895 and contained the remains of an extinct mammal which lived 10,000 years ago.
Torres del Paine National Park is about 93 miles north of Puerto Natales. It is part of Chile’s protected Antarctic region, and has been declared as a Biosphere Reserve by UNESCO. It is an unspoiled land where visitors will get to see gigantic glaciers, colorful lakes, and forests filled with all kinds of wildlife. You might encounter anything from mountain lions to flamingoes and black-necked swans. Water sports and fishing are huge, and so are hiking and wildlife viewing tours. Do not forget the highlights of the park – the Torres del Paine and Cuernos del Paine granite monsters which tower over everything else.
One of your choices for a hotel stay in Puerto Natales is the Indigo Patagonia located at Calle Ladrilleros 105. Another option is Hotel Alcazar, located at Manuel Balmaceda 722. Another good choice is Hotel Martín Gusinde, located at Lautaro Navarro 1061. If you prefer something more stylish, head for the Singular Patagonia in Puerto Bories.
Nothing in this region can be classified as a day trip. The nearest Chilean city you could visit is Punta Arenas, which is about 4.5 hours away on Route 9. You could stop by along the way at Riesco Island. Book your car rental in Puerto Natales right now and plan for a road trip to Rio Gallegos or El Calafate, both in Argentina and both about four hours away from Puerto Natales. If you really want to push forward as an Antarctic explorer, head further down south to Ushuaia, which comes under Argentinean territory and is the southernmost city in the world. This is the last port where Antarctic ships and cruise liners can pick up passengers and supplies.
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