Puerto Montt is a fast growing city in the south of Chile, just north of Chiloé Island. It boasts great views of the ocean and towering peaks of the Andes, and is a centre for travelers heading further south along the carretera austral, or east to Argentina.
Buses pull in at the large and bustling terminal in the middle of town close to the harbor. There are 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 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.
Navimag has boats to and from Punta Arenas, to and from Puerto Natales and Puerto Chacabuco. The latter costs CLP$38,000 pp, CLP$100,000 for a car. Other companies whose name and routes change frequently have ferries to Chaitén on the Carretera Austral. Many departures in summer, but often only one per week in winter. 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.
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.
Kémelbus now has a service called "ruta bimodal" which takes passengers to Chaitén by bus and ship in a daily, 10-hour scenic trip through the fjords south of Puerton Montt.
The thousands of taxis and colectivos that bounce like ping pong balls across and along the streets are a fast and usually cheap way of travelling across town, although you will find that your feet will take you to most places. If walking, take extra care when crossing streets in this city. Colectivos tend to appear from out of nowhere!
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.
- Alerce Andino National Park (the park has two entrances to the east of Puerto Montt). 09:00-15:00. After many of Chiles 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.
A good place to have some seafood is at the fishing community of Angelmó. Along with the seafood market there are some restaurants. There are also a lot of options for shopping Mapuche craftworks.
- 1 El Fogon de Cotele (Cotele), Av. Juan Soler Manfredini at Playa de Pelluco (Go south along the 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.
- , 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.