How to Spend 3 Days in Puerto Natales
The port town of Puerto Natales lures visitors with its access to Torres del Paine National Park and majestic Patagonian glaciers. With three days in town, you can explore the historic town as well as the natural wonders on its doorstep. Here’s how to make the most of three days in Puerto Natales.
Day 1: City Sights
Get a feel for the town of Puerto Natales with a stroll through the Plaza de Armas and down to the waterfront. Stop in at the Municipal History Museum (Museo Historico Municipal) to learn about life in the region prior to the arrival of the Europeans, then head just north of the town center to see the surreal Hand Monument (Monumento del Mano), a sculpture of a human hand reaching out of the ground. Keep going about an hour’s walk north to the historic town of Puerto Bories, where a preserved, century-old cold-storage plant and workers’ homes offer a glimpse into the area’s pioneer past. Alternatively, opt for a small-group bike tour to the picturesque waterfront, the historic Braun and Blanchard Old Pier, and the Ether Aike craft village, a great place to shop for artisan souvenirs.
Day 2: Torres del Paine National Park
Dedicate your second day to one of the most beautiful attractions in South America: the UNESCO Biosphere Reserve of Torres del Paine National Park, with diverse landscapes including glaciers, lakes, forests, the snow-capped Andes, and the granite pillars of Torres del Paine. Leave early in the morning to see the park’s highlights—including Milodon Cave, Nordenskjold Lake, and Grey Glacier—on a full-day coach tour. Active travelers can instead choose a full-day hiking tour to the base of the Torres del Paine pillars. The trail can be challenging, with a 12-mile (19-kilometer) hike through a valley, crossing streams and traversing woodlands before climbing a moraine to the towers, but you are rewarded with incredible views (and, typically, a boxed lunch).
Day 3: Glorious Glaciers
Board a boat early in the morning and embark on a cruise through Last Hope Fjord (Fjord Ultima Esperanza) toward the Balmaceda and Serrano glaciers. Tours take visitors to the best viewing points to soak up the ethereal majesty of the glaciers and soak in the sights of a winter wonderland studded with waterfalls and splintering snow-capped peaks. Tours typically allow guests to disembark and hike through the rugged splendor of Bernardo O’Higgins National Park. Most also include lunch, and some have an onboard bar to serve glacier-chilled cocktails. Back in town in the evening, take your pick of the restaurants clustered around Plaza de Armas—seafood is a local specialty—and enjoy a nightcap at one of the town’s drinking holes, which include a microbrewery and gin/whisky distillery with on-site bars.