Puerto Natales and its surroundings are a paradise for people who love outstanding nature, mountains, glaciers and to challenge themselves physical and mentally by doing outdoor activities. I have done all these tours myself and I can recommend them for everybody to do it. Are you short in time you can do a half day activity in the morning and another half day activity in the afternoon. When you have seen how many opportunities Puerto Natales has you´ll wish you had more time to explore the area because there are so much more to see and do than the famous national park Torres del Paine.
For whom: This guide is ideal for people who are not planning to hike in the national park Torres del Paine but still want to experience the park and the surrounding area of Puerto Natales. The tours are either half-day tours or full days.
TORRES DEL PAINE (FULL DAY):
This tour is ideal for people who wants to see some of the most beautiful places on the way to and in the park Torres del Paine. Torres del Paine is places more or less 2 hours from Puerto Natales. On the way you will see bunch of animals like the guanacos, a South American relative to the llama, the ñandu, the South American rhea and the condor, the Chilean national bird.
You will be transported by bus and on the way the guide will explain you about the history of the region, flora and fauna. On the stops you will see amazing waterfalls, lagunes, mountains and the iconic towers (Torres del Paine) of the mountains in the national park. Most impressive – in my opinion – is Lake Grey, a beach where you will experience amazing icebergs in the water and be able to see the glacier Grey from a distance. It´s a very photo friendly tour and the tour gives you a need to come back and explore this beautiful park even more.
BOAT TRIP TO THE GLACIERS BALMACEDA AND SERRANO (FULL DAY)
I went on this trip a cloudy, windy and very cold day in the beginning of October. Standing on the boat, freezing and observing the extreme wild nature that you can only enter by boat is a very special experience. This boat trip gives you this feeling that you literally are at the end of the world. This trip was also very emotional for me for one particular reason beside the beauty of the glaciers; in this part of the world you can really see the outcome of the climate changes! The glaciers are little by little disappearing because of the global warming. It makes you appreciate the experience even more because in 15 years they may not be a tourist attraction anymore. On the return you will pass the beautiful ranch “Estancia Perales” where you will get served a typical Chilean asado with grilled lamp, chicken and pork.
THE MYLODON CAVE (4 HRS)
With the FULL DAY Torres del Paine tour you will on the way back from the park visit the “Cueva Grande” which is the biggest cave in this park, 24km from Puerto Natales. My personal opinion is that this cave is not the highlight of this park. The founds of the prehistoric animal, the Mylodon, is interesting yes. But I would recommend to skip this part of the full day and then do the 4 hour tour around the park to see all the caves, climb the curious looking conglomerate “Silla del Diablo” (the Devil´s chair) and discover “Cueva Chica” where an ancestor to the jaguar is said to be living thousand of years ago. If you want to imagine how the first habitants of Patagonia lived, like to know more about prehistoric animals and are interested in geologi this guided tour is a must-do.
A little tip: When you buy your entrance the ticket works for 3 days of access. Meaning you can do Cueva Grande on your full day Torres del Paine tour on day 1 and on day 2 or 3 do the Mylodon tour. Instead of using time again on Cueva Grande you can go to the view point on top of the cave and watch condors. And then you can tell people that you have seen the whole park! 🙂
ROCK CLIMBING AT LAGUNA SOFIA (4 HRS)
If you love nature and are an active person who like to challenge yourself you have to do rock climbing! It was my first time and I got to be honest that my body and mind were challenged! Laguna Sofía is such a beautiful place – the surrounding conglomerates, mountains and hills make this area looks like something from another planet. The instructor is professional and you will receive instructions on how the equipment works and the climbing movements – all you need to feel safe and enjoy the climb. When not doing the climbing you can enjoy this beautiful place and its stunning view of the lagune and the mountain chain.
HORSEBACK RIDING AT CERRO DOROTEA (4 HRS)
After doing this horseback riding I was a bit in doubt how I would describe it to people. The best word to describe it is authenticity. This tour gives you a unique experience to see how the local gauchos (local word for cowboys) of Puerto Natales live. The horses are not expensive horses with a fine pedigree – they are local horses that the gauchos use when working with the cattle or sheep. The guide is a local gaucho, the house you will visit after the tour is the house of the gaucho and the homemade bread is made by the wife of the gaucho. During the tour you will see the hill Dorotea and get a beautiful viewpoint of Puerto Natales. I liked to hear the local stories from our guide, but if you dont speak or understand Spanish you will miss some of the experience. The hill in itself is not a mind-blowing place but combined with the experience of get to know the life of a gaucho makes the tour really authentic.
These 5 tours are just some of the most famous once. No worries, you will not get bored here and do you have the time (and money) you will get some incredible memories here.
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