Puerto Natales’ landscapes have fantastic geography, incredible light, and dramatic skies! The town is surrounded by Seno Ultima Esperenza (Last Hope Sound), Canal Señoret, and peaks of the Riesco Mountains, Paine Massif, and Southern Patagonia Ice Field Glaciers. That means it’s gorgeous beyond description!
Many species of birds inhabit the area, including black-necked swans, penguins, and condors. I took a walk along the shoreline today to admire the swans and watch the sea birds getting lift from the wind. No matter what they’re doing – fishing, sunning, or just goofing off – they simply spread their wings, lean back a little, and get a lift like a kite.
Another lovely thing about the area is the rainbows. In two days I’ve seen one or more rainbows every day. When they appear in pairs it’s unbelievable!
My B&B is in Puerto Bories about two miles from the center of town along Ultima Esperenza Fjord. It’s peaceful and having the mountains and water visible every time you gaze out the window is a treat. There are several horse ranches, spas, and lodges along the shoreline.
Puerto Bories is a great location. The only problem is getting back and forth to town. The taxis are reasonable, and I try to walk at least one way each time, but when the wind is blowing really hard, it’s tough.
As you enter Puerto Natales there’s a large statue of a giant Milodon. I’d never heard of Milodons before and honestly think they are ugly-looking animals. They’re extinct giant sloths that roamed the primordial landscape of Chilean Patagonia. You can visit a Milodon cave near Puerto Natales.
As in other parts of Chile, lunch and dinner are served late in the day – after 2:00 p.m. for lunch and 8:00 or later for dinner. I’m finally getting into the swing and today had lunch at a popular restaurant for locals – La Picada De Carlitos. It was packed with Chilean families. Not sure if family lunches on Saturday afternoon are a regular thing here or if the Easter holiday has something to do with it.
It was fun watching families with their rosy, fat-cheeked babies laughing and enjoying themselves. Everyone is friendly in Chile and the custom is to kiss people you greet on the cheeks. Chileans eat lots of meat and La Picada De Carlitos keeps them happy by serving what seemed like really large portions.
Many Torres del Paine tour offices were closed today to honor the Easter weekend. I will chill tomorrow and attend a lecture at one of the agencies on Monday morning. Every day of the week, a professional guide and lecturer discusses the transportation, accommodation, food, and trail options available. Apparently one part of the W circuit closed in April due to bad conditions.
Wish I‘d visited Patagonia years ago and hiked the 62-mile Torres del Paine Circuit. That trek is beyond my reach now. It’s a summer trek, as a run of bad weather would clearly put a damper on things. As with all hiking, it’s essential to plan well before embarking on a Patagonia trek.