As we crossed the border from Argentina to Chile, Puerto Natales on the Pacific ocean was only 35 km away. The scenery changed from a dry Steppe grassland in Argentina to cows grazing on the green cover of the fertile rain-soaked land of Chile. It took some time though for the people to notice this difference and by the time they did the Pacific ocean was already in sight.
The ‘Welcome to Puerto Natales’ comes much before the actual town begins. What comes with the actual town are beautifully laid outhouses. The town has a distinct end of the world feel but without feeling away from it all, unlike Ushuaia, which is the actual last city in South America. Puerto Natales, on the other side, feels more lived. That day though there were fewer people on the streets. The streets had ropes tied at some corners.
Around the regular cities of the world, ropes are tied on the streets for the crowds to adhere to a line or not cross it. Puerto Natales in Patagonia is not just some city, so the ropes were not just tied to keep the people in a place but to help them from not flying off! The town had a very strong wind warning the next day.
The wind of Patagonia
The wind a constant force and that’s why dressing for it is very important. Wool doesn’t help as much as a windproof jacket. Also, the danger of flying off for the kids and underweight adults is real, so hold on to the ropes or don’t get out!
It didn’t take me an evening to walk around the town to fall in love with it. I already had liked it from inside the bus. As my footsteps lead me to the town center and my cell phone took some mandatory pictures, the caffeine craving crept in.
Coffee in Patagonia
The ‘Patagonia’ brand of coffee is my favorite. The beans come from Columbia but the roasting is done in Patagonia. If you like what you are having to make sure to ask where to buy it from. The supermarkets in South Patagonia don’t sell the Patagonia Coffee.
The Patagonia coffee in Puerto Natales and much of Patagonia is served in Café’s which have equally interesting pastry selection. So with the double espresso came a lovely hand made pastry in the café.
In the night after the people finished their dinner, I knew where I was headed. The whiskey and gin bar set up by an Australian couple was just a sign that things are getting better with the food and beverage scene. I learned from speaking to the owners that they came here a year back and never really left, other than going back home and getting stuff back to Puerto Natales and set up the first brewery in town.
I almost imagined myself doing the same in some years. But this is not the first town and the first time that I have felt this. At least I left Natales knowing that I will be back again.
Day Trip from Puerto Natales
- Torres Del Paine National Park.
- The park is one of the wonders of South America and even though there are multiple ways of doing it, I still prefer going there on a day trip from Puerto Natales.
- Estancia Visit
- Spending half a day in an Estancia (a ranch) is cool way to use up your extra day in Puerto Natales. Most of the Estancia’s have lunch included in their day trip along with activities like horse riding and some hiking.