Puerto Natales, Chile | Notebook and Stock Image Gallery
The capital of the Chilean province of Última Esperanza, one of four provinces that form the Magallanes and Antartica Chilena Region in the country’s southernmost reaches, the Patagonian town of Puerto Natales is best known as the gateway to Torres Del Paine National Park, the most popular park in South America.
Located about 250km northwest of Punta Arenas, the town of 18,000 is beautifully set on the Seno Última Esperanza, or Last Hope Sound. It also serves as the final passenger port of call for ferries sailing from Puerto Montt. While tourism has become by far its No. 1 industry, signs of a more “authentic” pre-boom period are easy to find just a handful of blocks in either direction from the town’s few main commercial thoroughfares.
If you can’t or won’t make it to Torres del Paine, a visit by boat through the Last Hope Sound to the nearby glaciers in the Bernardo O’Higgins National Park is a must. So is lunch or dinner at Afrigonia, a restaurant that serves the finest Chilean-East African fusion cuisine in Patagonia. True, there probably aren’t many that do, but everything about this eatery was nonetheless top notch. Try the salmon with prawns, saffron and coconut sauce.