Puerto Montt is a city in the south of Chile, just north of Chiloé Island. Puerto Montt, with great views of the ocean and towering peaks of the Andes, is a center in Northern Patagonia for heading south along the Carretera Austral to Chiloé island, Chaitén, Torres del Paine, Puerto Natales, or east to Bariloche, Argentina.
It was founded as late as 1853 during the German colonization of southern Chile. The city's cultural endowment mixes elements of Chiloé culture with a German heritage, although the city has attracted a significant number of newcomers from all over Chile since the 1990s in search of employment opportunities.
Puerto Montt, with a population of almost 250,000 in 2017, is the capital of the Los Lagos Region, and the main sea port at the lower end of Chile's western continental land. The city is the principal commercial, services, and financial hub of the Chilean Northern Patagonia—Zona Austral.
Puerto Montt is also the gateway to the Chiloé Archipelago and Chiloé Island across the Chacao Channel, and the many other smaller islands in Chile's inland Sea of Chiloé.
The city's economy is based upon agriculture, cattle, and forestry on the surrounding islands, and fishing and salmon aquaculture in the fjords and nearby Pacific Ocean.
- 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 6,000 pesos. Buses to Bariloche in Argentina take around 7 hours for CLP$13,000 pesos.
- 3 , Diego Portales 2000 - near Puerto Montt bus station. Navimag has boats to Puerto Natales (Fridays), Punta Arenas and Puerto Chacabuco. The latter costs 38,000 pesos pp, 100,000 pesos 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 at 07:00 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 19,000 pesos, 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 (31 mi) southwest of town, takes 30 min and costs 1,000 pesos pp and 8,300 pesos for a car. See entry for Cruz del Sur above.
Your feet will take you most places, but plentiful taxis and colectivos.
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. 4,000 pesos for foreigners.
In Angelmo you can find different types of crafts, such as clothing, hair accessories, earrings, key rings, rugs, figures, and ornaments among others. Most are made from wood, leather, wool, copper, and lapis lazuli. You can also enjoy varied gastronomic offers.
Also in the Mall Paseo Costanera there is the so-called "entre piso" where you will find different products at a reasonable price, such as clothing, accessories, and musical instruments.
Being a port, Puerto Montt has a rich variety of seafood and fish. You can go to Angelmó, where you can find fresh products, both for consumption and for purchase.
Micro-entrepreneurs have stalls in Angelmó and on the waterfront, where you will find various artisan products, such as chocolates, fruit jams, liqueurs and cookies.
There are many cafés, restaurants and bars in the centre, but a good place to have some seafood is a 15- to 20-m walk, 1 km 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 5 km 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. 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 Chucao Puerto Montt Hostel (Casa Chucao), Vial 839, ☏ (WhatsApp). New hostel open in 2019. Wifi, 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. 10,000 pesos 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. 14,000 pesos for two people.