What to do in Puerto Natales?

Puerto Natales is the gate to visit different attractions in the Southern Portion of the Chilean Patagonia. Of course, Torres del Paine National Park is a must, but there are many other options to enjoy in the area. The following list is just a guide for you:

1 – Torres del Paine National Park

One of the most famous national parks in South America, known for its granite towers, crystal-clear lakes, and glaciers. It’s a must-visit for nature lovers and hikers. You can choose to stay there, there are different accommodation available in the park (book in advance, during high season the hotels are booked early in advance!). Or you can enjoy a full day visit from El Calafate. The following is a list of things you can do in Torres del Paine.

What activities can be done in Torres del Paine?

In general, these are the main activities you can enjoy in Torres del Paine National Park

Hiking! The park is home to many beautiful trails that offer breathtaking views of the surrounding landscapes. The most famous trek is the W Circuit, which takes around four to five days to complete. Other popular hikes include the Mirador Las Torres and Mirador Cuernos.

Camping is a popular way to explore the park, and there are many campsites available for visitors. Most campsites require reservations in advance, especially during the peak season.

Wildlife watching. Yes, because Torres del Paine is home to many unique animals, including guanacos, foxes, condors, and pumas. There are guided tours available that allow visitors to observe these animals in their natural habitat.

Boat tours of course! There are boat tours available on some of the park’s lakes, such as Lago Grey, which offers stunning views of the Grey Glacier

Horseback riding is another way to explore the park, and there are many guided tours available.

Photography! The park’s stunning landscapes make it a paradise for photographers. Be sure to bring a camera and capture some of the park’s most beautiful moments.

2 – Boat Navigation to Balmaceda and Serrano Glaciers

Navigating to the Balmaceda and Serrano glaciers is a popular tourist activity in the Aysen region of Chile. The glaciers are located in the Bernardo O’Higgins National Park and can only be reached by boat.

To get to the glaciers, you can take a boat tour from Puerto Natales or Puerto Montt. The tours usually last a full day, and they typically depart early in the morning. The boat will take you through the fjords and channels of the region, and you’ll be able to see the spectacular scenery of the Patagonian landscape.

The Balmaceda glacier is the first stop on the tour. It is a large glacier that flows down from the Andes Mountains into the Ultima Esperanza Sound. The boat will get as close as possible to the glacier so that you can get a good view of it. You’ll also have the opportunity to see some of the wildlife in the area, such as sea lions, cormorants, and dolphins.

After visiting the Balmaceda glacier, the boat will continue to the Serrano glacier. Along the way, you’ll pass by several smaller glaciers and waterfalls. When you reach the Serrano glacier, you’ll have the opportunity to disembark from the boat and take a short hike to the base of the glacier. Here, passengers can see the glacier up close and take photos.

The boat navigation to Balmaceda and Serrano glaciers is an unforgettable experience that allows visitors to appreciate the beauty and majesty of the Chilean Patagonia.

Excursion to Balmaceda and Serrano Glaciers 

3 – The Milodon Cave

The Milodon Cave (Cueva del Milodon in Spanish) is a natural monument located about 24 kilometers north of Puerto Natales, in the Chilean Patagonia. The cave is famous for being the site where remains of a prehistoric animal called Milodon were discovered in the 19th century.

Visiting the Milodon Cave is a popular activity for tourists in the area. Visitors can take a guided tour of the cave and learn about its geological formation and the history of the Milodon.

The tour usually begins with a short walk on a path that leads to the entrance of the cave. Once inside, visitors can see the different chambers of the cave, which were formed by the erosion of the rock by water and wind over millions of years.

One of the highlights of the tour is the replica of the Milodon, which is a large herbivorous mammal that lived in the region during the Pleistocene epoch, about 12,000 years ago. The Milodon was about 3 meters tall and weighed about 1 ton. The remains of the Milodon that were found in the cave were well preserved due to the dry climate of the area.

The Milodon Cave

4 – Puerto Bories

Puerto Bories is a small town located in the southern part of Chile, near the city of Puerto Natales. One of the main attractions of the town is the former meatpacking plant known as “Frigorífico Bories,” which was in operation from 1913 to 1971.

Visiting Puerto Bories is a unique experience that offers a glimpse into the history and culture of the region. The town itself is quaint and charming, with colorful houses and stunning views of the surrounding mountains and fjords.

The Frigorífico Bories is the main attraction in Puerto Bories. The plant was built by a British company in the early 20th century to process sheep and cattle, which were raised on the vast Patagonian plains. The plant was once the largest employer in the area, and its impact on the local economy was significant. Today, the plant is a national historic monument, and visitors can take a guided tour to learn about the history and operation of the plant.

During the tour, visitors can see the old machinery and equipment that was used to process the meat, as well as the living quarters for the workers. The tour guides provide an interesting and informative overview of the plant’s history and its significance to the region.

5 – Puerto Natales waterfront: Ultima Esperanda Sound

Puerto Natales is a charming coastal town located in the southern part of Chile, near the famous Torres del Paine National Park. You already know that, but may be you don´t know that one of the town’s main attractions is the picturesque waterfront area, which overlooks the Ultima Esperanza Sound.

The waterfront area of Puerto Natales is a beautiful and peaceful place to stroll, relax, and enjoy the stunning views of the sound and the surrounding mountains. The promenade runs along the shoreline and is lined with colorful houses, restaurants, and shops. The waterfront is also home to several statues and monuments that commemorate the town’s history and culture.

The Ultima Esperanza Sound is a breathtaking fjord that stretches for over 50 miles from Puerto Natales to the Pacific Ocean. The fjord is surrounded by towering mountains, glaciers, and pristine forests, and is home to a rich diversity of wildlife, including sea lions, dolphins, and a variety of bird species.

Hotel costaustralis in Puerto Natales


6 – The Historical Museum

The Historical Museum of Puerto Natales is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in the history and culture of the region. The museum is located in a historic building in the center of the town and offers a fascinating insight into the life and times of the early settlers and indigenous peoples of Patagonia.

The museum’s collection includes a wide range of exhibits and artifacts, including photographs, documents, clothing, tools, and household items, among others. The exhibits are organized chronologically and thematically, and cover the history of the region from prehistoric times to the present day.

One of the museum’s most significant exhibits is the section dedicated to the indigenous peoples of Patagonia, including the Kawésqar, the Yámana, and the Selk’nam. The exhibit includes artifacts and displays that illustrate the cultures and lifestyles of these groups, as well as the challenges they faced with the arrival of European settlers.

Another highlight of the museum is the section dedicated to the early European settlers, who came to the region in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The exhibit includes displays of clothing, furniture, and household items from the period, as well as photographs and documents that provide insight into the lives of the early settlers.

7 – Cerro Dorotea Viewpoint

Cerro Dorotea is a viewpoint located in the city of Puerto Natales, in the Chilean Patagonia region. It is a popular spot for tourists and locals alike, offering stunning panoramic views of the city, the fjords, and the surrounding mountains.

To reach Cerro Dorotea, visitors can either hike up the hill or take a short drive from Puerto Natales. The hiking trail is well-marked and takes about 1-2 hours to complete, depending on your fitness level. The trail winds through beautiful forests and offers breathtaking views along the way.

At the top of Cerro Dorotea, visitors are treated to a 360-degree view of the surrounding landscape, including the impressive peaks of the Andes Mountains, the rugged coastline, and the blue waters of the fjords. The viewpoint is particularly popular at sunset, as the sky explodes into a range of orange and pink hues, creating a truly magical atmosphere.

Overall, Cerro Dorotea is a must-visit destination for anyone visiting Puerto Natales and the Patagonia region. It offers a unique and unforgettable perspective of this beautiful corner of the world.

Cerro Dorotea

8 – Visiting Punta Arenas

A good idea is to visit Punta Arenas, a very important city in the southern portion of the chilean Patagonia. Punta Arenas is a city located in the southernmost region of Chile, known as Magallanes. It is a popular destination for visitors to the region and can be easily accessed from the nearby city of Puerto Natales. Here are some things to know about visiting Punta Arenas from Puerto Natales:

The most common way to travel between Puerto Natales and Punta Arenas is by bus. Several companies offer daily services, with the trip taking about 3 hours each way. Visitors can also choose to rent a car, although it’s important to note that driving conditions can be challenging, especially in winter when the roads can be icy.

Punta Arenas offers a range of attractions for visitors, including museums, historic sites, and natural wonders. Some of the must-visit attractions in the city include the Nao Victoria Museum, which features a replica of the famous ship that sailed around the world, and the Maggiorino Borgatello Salesian Museum, which showcases the history of the region and its indigenous peoples. Visitors can also take a trip to the nearby island of Magdalena, which is home to a large colony of penguins, but you will need to overnight to do that.

Picture of Ramiro Rodriguez

Ramiro Rodriguez

25 years working in travel market, as Sales & Marketing Manager in RipioTurismo, Marketing Manager in Nuevas Ideas Travel Consulting Group. Writer and travel lover.

Table of Contents