A wooden path leads into the cave and visitors are greeted by a full-size replica of the bear-like mylodon, standing 13 feet (four meters) tall. The mylodon wasn’t the only inhabitant of the area; remains of other extinct species, including a saber-toothed cat and a dwarf horse, as well as evidence of human habitation from as early as 6,000 BC, have been found within the three caves that make up the site. You can learn about the site’s archaeological discoveries via the displays inside the site and a viewing point atop the cathedral-sized cave affords visitors views of the surrounding mountains, glaciers, and the Eberhard fjord.
Some tour operators include visits to Milodon Cave in their day trips to Torres del Paine: a good option for those with limited time who don’t want to make a separate trip.
Things to know before you go
- There is an admission fee: foreign visitors typically pay double the rate for Chileans.
- Dress in warm clothes and good walking shoes: it can get cold inside the caves.
- Don’t forget to bring sunscreen; even in winter, the sun can be harsh.
- If you want to explore the smaller caves, bringing a flashlight is a good idea.
How to get there
Milodon Cave is around a 25-minute drive northwest of Puerto Natales. Most taxi companies offer a set rate to the national monument from town. Otherwise, you can visit as part of a tour: some tours go just to the site and others include it in a larger tour of the area.
When to get there
The monument is typically open from early morning until early evening, with slightly shorter hours in the low season (fall and winter) The best time to visit the region is during the southern hemisphere’s summer, from November through early March, which brings the most pleasant weather for exploring the outdoors. Spring is a good alternative for beating the summer crowds.
The Devil’s Chair
As you approach the Milodon Cave, you’ll likely notice an odd-looking rock formation. This is known as the “Devil’s Chair,” which, as local legend has it, was used by the mylodon as a throne. You can climb to the top of it for a great view of the entire area.