Puerto Natales is the capital of the province of Última Esperanza ('Last Hope'). It's the gateway to the natural beauty of southern Chile and the base for those wanting to hike through the Torres del Paine and other national parks nearby.
The city has approximately 20,000 inhabitants.
Puerto Natales is located in the far south of Chile on the Seno Última Esperanza. North of town lie the mountains of the Cordillera Manuel Señoret and the Lago del Toro. Punta Arenas lies about 250 kilometers southeast of Puerto Natales.
Tourism is one of the city's main sources of income. Supermarkets are completely geared towards people wanting to make hiking trips: dried fruit, instant soup, energy bars, powder drinks and so on. Cattle breading plays an important role in the surroundings (meat and dairy products are exported via the port of Puerto Natales). Fishing and fish-processing industry are also present in town.
Puerto Natales has a small airport with only 1 flight per day: to and from El Calafate in Argentina by propeller airplane. The nearest larger airport is Punta Arenas Airport (officially: Aeropuerto Internacional Presidente Carlos Ibáñez del Campo). This airport is situated almost 230 car kilometers southeast of Puerto Natales and is reachable by rental car via Ruta 9. Travel time is about 3 hours.
The city itself has no bus transport, but buses from travel agents run to the Torres del Paine National Park, Punta Arenas and to El Calafate in Argentina. For these buses you need to buy a ticket in advance at one of the many ticket offices in town.
Traffic in Puerto Natales is fairly slow and you'll have no problem finding a free parking place. A rental car is an ideal means of transportation to visit the natural attractions of this region, although you'll have to park your car and continue by foot to really enjoy it. You can easily drive to Punta Arenas by rental car via Ruta 9 (see Airports). You cannot take your rental car to Argentina.
Puerto Natales has an extensive choice of accommodations. There are midrange and luxurious hotels, but also plenty of guesthouses (hostals) and bed & breakfasts (hospedajes). Summer months are the busiest (on the Southern Hemisphere from November through March). If you want to visit Puerto Natales this time of year, we advise booking your hotel room well in advance.
For more information about Puerto Natales, we recommend Google and the following sources: