Visiting Puerto Natales in Chile
Length of Stay: Two nights, August 2016
Reason: Torres del Paine!
Rent a car. Make sure you fill all the way up in Puerto Natales proper to drive around Torres del Paine National Park (approximately an hour and a half away).
Entrance fees during off-season at TdP are $11k CLP and cash only. For everything else, credit cards should be fine. I recommend getting cash before getting to Puerto Natales (in Santiago, for example).
Off season accommodation options are very limited. I stayed within close range to the main park entrance at Hostería Lago Tyndall. We booked a small cabin equipped with a basic kitchen and cooked our own food. The hot water in our cabin was non-existent at night 😒
There is no cell service and WiFi is very limited in TdP National Park. Enjoy being off-the-grid!
- Options during off-season are very limited and most of the places we walked by were closed.
- For a late lunch in Puerto Natales proper we found El Asador Patagonico. $15 for a 350 gram beef tenderloin steak sounded pretty good to me.
- There is great ice cream 🍨 at Heladería Artesanal Aluén Patagonia. Something that stood out to me was orderly staff in keeping utensils and work areas clean. The promotion of the day was having your ice cream dipped in chocolate for free.
- Patagonia Dulce is another option for dessert. We hoped it would be an OK place for coffee after ice cream, but the coffee was bad enough to point out.
- I recommend stocking up on food at Unimarc in Puerto Natales for the number of days you will be in the park. Bring your own shopping bags! This was the first Unimarc I’ve been to in Chile that did not double bag my groceries in plastic. ❤️
- Mirador Torres was a fantastic day hike. Get to the administration office at Laguna Amarga when they open at 8:30am to ensure you have enough time to make it to the base of the towers and back to your car before sunset. We left the car at Hotel Lago Torres at 9:20am and were able to return by 5:30pm as the sun set behind us.
- The trek is no easy walk in the park. I recommend lots of layers and lots of water. Sun exposure is mixed between exposed hills and shady valleys. We found ourselves taking layers off to accommodate.
- Driving around the park is a joy but make sure you leave enough gas in your tank to get back to Puerto Natales.
- Mirador Cuernos is an easy hike we did the day after seeing the towers that took less than two hours to complete.