Founded in 1911, Puerto Natales nestles on the flat eastern slope of the Ultima Esperanza Sound.
The capital of the Ultima Esperanza province is a hub of Patagonian tourism at the crossroads of important travel routes. Before the tourist boom, Puerto Natales relied on the export of meat and wool from the sheep grazing in the Patagonian steppe of the hinterland. The small town with 17,000 inhabitants has hardly any tourist attractions to offer. Puerto Natales’ city map follows the well-known checkerboard pattern, where the main institutions and local sights are concentrated within a core of five blocks around the yellow parish church. The historical museum “Museo Histórico Puerto Natales” houses a collection on the settlement history of the region from indigenous cultures to the immigrant groups of the 18th and 19th centuries, as well as the municipal tourist office.
Puerto Natales’ distinctive tourist infrastructure with small and increasingly expensive hotels, restaurants, pubs, tour operators and shops makes the small town the hub of Patagonia tourism and the base for day trips to the Torres del Paine National Park.