Puerto Montt, with great views of the ocean and towering peaks of the Andes, is a centre in Northern Patagonia for heading south along the Carretera Austral to Chiloé island, Chaitén, Torres del Paine, Puerto Natales, or east to Bariloche, Argentina.
- 1 El Tepual Airport (PMC IATA). There are flights from Santiago in the north (1 hour 40 minutes) and from Punta Arenas in the south (2 hours).
- 2 Terminal de Buses Puerto Montt. Central bus station by harbour, 10-15 minutes walk from city centre. Many departures to cities in the north, as well as services to Chiloé Island. Cruz del Sur are the fastest, since they own many of the ferries crossing the strait to Chiloé island, and their buses bypass the waiting line; they take 2 hours and cost CLP$6,000. Buses to Bariloche in Argentina take around 7 hours for CLP$13,000.
- 3 , Diego Portales 2000 - near Puerto Montt bus station. Navimag has boats to Puerto Natales (Fridays), Punta Arenas and Puerto Chacabuco. The latter costs CLP$38,000 pp, CLP$100,000 for a car. Tickets bought in office in Puerto Montt often cheaper than bought online.
Kémelbus takes passengers to Chaitén by bus and ship in a daily, 10-hour scenic trip through the fjords south, "ruta bimodal" leaving 7am from bus station. Buy tickets in advance.
Ferries all the way to Chaitén have many departures in summer, but often only one per week in winter.
Naviera Austral connects Puerto Montt with Chaitén. Ferry leaves at midnight and journey takes 10-12 hours. Simple seat costs CLP$19,000, berths are twice as expensive. Check their website for current schedule and pricing, as both vary with tides and seasons. If you just arrived by bus, walk west along the waterfront for a few hundred meters to reach their office.
The ferry to Chiloé Island leaves about 50 km south west of town, takes 30 min and costs CLP$1,000 pp and CLP$8,300 for a car. See entry for Cruz del Sur above.
The area along the beach near the bus station is pleasant for a walk with things along the way to entertain you. Walking east you will get great views, especially at sunset, from the hills there.
- 1 Alerce Andino National Park (the park has two entrances to the east of Puerto Montt). 09:00-15:00. After many of Chile's forests have been cut down and converted into efficient eucalyptus forests for industrial use, the remaining beautiful ones with still some interesting trees left have been converted into pricey and touristy national parks. Unfortunately, the park can only be visited during opening hours and camping in the park is not possible, which makes it unattractive for most keen hikers. CLP$4,000 for foreigners.
Many cafés, restaurants and bars in the centre, but a good place to have some seafood is a 15-20m walk, 1km or so southwest of bus station at the fishing community of Angelmó. Along with the seafood market there are some restaurants, and options for shopping Mapuche craftworks.
- 1 El Fogon de Cotele (Cotele), Av. Juan Soler Manfredini at Playa de Pelluco (About 5km southeast along waterfront from town center), ☏ . Lunch from 13:00, Dinner from 20:00. The best beef in the south of Chile, grilled before your eyes. Excellent wines. Host Jeremy Law is a charmer. Reasonable prices.
There is a multitude of cheap hospedaje in Puerto Montt, so don't despair if your travel guide only shows a few expensive ones.
- 1 Hain Puerto Montt Hostel, Vial 839, ☏ (WhatsApp). New hostel open in 2019. Wifi, lockers, central heating. Real fire in cosy sitting room, kitchen. Free coffee in the mornings. Residential district, but restaurants and bars two minutes walk away, Lider supermarket and city centre 5 min away, bus station 15 min walk (1 km). Multiple power sockets on lower bunks only. Local Chilean, Carolina speaks English and is a helpful host. Call/text for seasonal discounts. CLP$10,000 per person (+VAT).
- 2 , Ancud 107. Downtown and close to the bus terminal. Nothing special about this hospedaje. Many options around the bus station to choose from, so don't panic if you arrive late. No breakfast but a huge bathroom and fantastic high pressure hot water shower makes for a recommendation. CLP$14,000 for two people.
- Colectivo Bellavista, German Vargas Poblete, Fortuoso 9, ☏ , (cell). A friendly and quiet place, not so near to the city centre, free pickup and dropoff, breakfast included. From CLP$4,000/bed.