Puerto Natales is a port town in Chilean Patagonia, with population around 20,000. It is the capital of Chile's Ultima Esperanza province - one of the 4 combined into Magallanes Region/Chilean Antarctica (country's southernmost part). Puerto Natales is approx 247 km (153 mi) northwest of Punta Arenas.
Puerto Natales is one the gateways/departure ports to Bernardo O'Higgins National Park - together with Caleta Tortel, Puerto Eden and Villa O'Higgins. Tourists can access the Bernardo O'Higgins NP only by sea and air (via cruise ships/tour boats or helicopters/seaplanes).
As cruise port, Puerto Natales is often included in the seasonal Antarctic cruise schedule of Hurtigruten Expeditions. Itineraries usually include Chiloe Island Chile, Puerto Eden, Chilean Fjords/Patagonia (coastal cruising), Cape Horn and Drake Passage, the Antarctic Peninsula and the South Shetland Islands, Punta Arenas (homeport, with flights to/from Valparaiso-Santiago).
Puerto Natales is the final passenger call port for Navimag ferries (Senoret Channel) and the primary transition point for travelers to Chile's Torres del Paine National Park.
The settlement was discovered by the Spanish explorer Juan Ladrillero (1490-1559) in 1557, who was looking for the western passage of Magellan Strait. It was then settled by European immigrants (mainly British, Germans, Spaniards, Greeks, Italians) and later settled by Chilean people, most of whom were from Chiloe Island.
Puerto Natales was officially founded on May 31, 1911. Nowadays, its major industries are tourism, aquaculture and cattle breeding. The town has many tourist facilities and is the base for tours to Torres del Paine National Park (UNESCO reserve) popular for its mountainous "torres" ("towers") - impressive rock formations.
Bernardo O'Higgins is Chile's largest national park, with protected land area approx 3,526 million hectares (8,713M / 35259 km2 / 13614 mi2). The NP is part of Chile's Aysen Region and Magallanes Region/Chilean Antarctica.
Neighboring national parks are Los Glaciares (Argentina's Santa Cruz Province) and Torres del Paine (Chilean Patagonia) to the east, and the Chilean nature reserves Laguna San Rafael (to the north), Kawesqar (fka Alacalufes NP, to the southwest) and Katalalixar (northwest).
Bernardo O'Higgins NP is located between Baker Channel and Channel/Fjord of the Mountains (west of Puerto Natales). Its scenery is marked by narrow fjords (penetrating deeply into the mountains, the most visited by tourists is Ultima Esperanza Sound/Eberhard Fjord), glaciers (from the Southern Patagonian Ice Field, including Pio XI Glacier - the largest outside Antarctica), subpolar forests (mainly the tree species guindo, lenga beech, Antarctic beech, canelo/winter's bark). Wildlife includes the endangered South Andean deer (aka Southern Guemal/Chilean Huemul), Andean Condors, Marine Otters, Cormorants.
Puerto Natales cruise terminal
Puerto Natales is among the ports of call on itineraries that include cruising through the Patagonian channels and Chilean fjords in the Tierra del Fuego provinces of Chile and Argentina.
Puerto Natales tours, shore excursions, hotels
City Tours and Shore Excursions
Angostura Kirke Narrows
Port Puerto Natales cruise ship schedule shows timetable calendars of all arrival and departure dates by month. The port's schedule lists all ships (in links) with cruises going to or leaving from Puerto Natales, Chile. To see the full itineraries (ports of call dates and arrival / departure times) and their lowest rates – just follow the corresponding ship-link.
|19 October, 2022|
|27 October, 2022|
|National Geographic Explorer|