How to Spend 1 Day in Puerto Natales
Gateway to Torres del Paine National Park, Puerto Natales functions as a pit stop for many travelers procuring provisions before heading into the park. There’s plenty to do in town, however, so it’s worth setting aside a day to explore. Here are a few ways to make the most of one day in the Patagonian town of Puerto Natales.
Morning: Start with a History Lesson
With just one day to spare, most visitors would head straight into Torres del Paine National Park, but, if you have a day to explore the town, start with a visit to the Municipal History Museum (Museo Historico Municipal). There you can learn about life in the region prior to the arrival of the Europeans via displays, photos, and archaeological artifacts such as canoes and weapons. Afterward, walk 10 minutes north to one of the town’s most unusual attractions. The Hand Monument (Monumento del Mano) is a stone sculpture portraying the five fingers of an enormous human hand protruding out of the ground.
Afternoon: Pedal Around the Port Town
In the afternoon, embark on a small-group bike tour and pedal through colorful streets. Bicycle tours typically last a few hours and take visitors to the picturesque waterfront and the historic Braun and Blanchard Old Pier, which was set on fire by revolting workers around 1920. You’ll be able to spot some of the many birds that now inhabit the disused pier while taking in views of the channel and snow-capped mountains just beyond. Some bike tours also visit the Ether Aike craft village, a great place to shop for artisan souvenirs.
Night: Enjoy a Leisurely Dinner
As you might expect of a town with such heavy tourist traffic, Puerto Natales has plenty of restaurants to suit a variety of tastes. Most are clustered around the Plaza de Armas Arturo Prat, the town’s main square. Seafood is plentiful, with specialties including king crab prepared in a variety of ways. You’ll also find restaurants serving pizza, burgers, vegetarian dishes, and even Afro-Chilean cuisine. Nightlife is typically subdued—most visitors leave early in the morning on tours—but Puerto Natales does have a couple of pubs, as well as a microbrewery and a gin/whisky distillery with on-site bars.