Puerto Natales city is located in the austral end of Chile, opposite the Andes, at the edge from Señoret Channel, between the Almirante Montt gulf and Ultima Esperanza sound. It is the provincial capital of Ultima Esperanza.
From its seaside it can be observed several species of birds, such as flamingos, black neck swans, coscoroba swan, cormorans among other. Besides, it has a beautiful view towards Riesco mountain range, the Paine Massif and Southern Patagonian Ice Fields.
It can be said that Puerto Natales is the main city for aventure travel in Chile, due to the thousands of enthusiasts on mountain climbing, kayaking, and others, that arrive to the city while looking for new routes and emotions. Apart from that, it is the gate to Torres del Paine National Park.
Puerto Natales History
The area from Ultima Esperanza was discovered by Juan Ladrilleros in 1558, in a colonizer mission, that wanted to extend Chilean government up to the strait of Magellan. In his desperate searching to find a southeast exit to the strait, he named the seaway “Ultima Esperanza” (last hope) to the one that goes deeper to the nowadays location of Puerto Natales.
In 1830, the expedition of the “Beagle “ fragrate, sent by the British admiralship, explores all the area discovered by Ladrillero. Among the members we can name well-known names of the region: Robert Fitz Roy, William Skyring, James Kirke, and the naturalist Charles Darwin. Around 1870, there is a new interest in the territory of Ultima Esperanza. Among the adventurous travellers that made through those desolated territories is Santiago Zamora, also known in history as Baqueano Zamora, who discovered the lacustrine region of Paine and great mobs of wild horses called baguales.
Around 1877, Tomás Rogers presents an expedition with scientific purposes. In 1892, the information about the quality and quantity of land located in the north of Punta Arenas is issued. An excaptain from the German merchant navy, Hermann Eberhard, decides to establish in this area and requests permission to go deeper in the area of Ultima Esperanza. In 1893, starts the colonization of the province. Along with Eberhard, other British and German colonizers such as Stubenrauch, Kark, Carpenter, Tweedie, Otten and many others joined into the task. As a result, Puerto Consuelo, Puerto Condor and Puerto Bories were born, being the latter 5km northeast Puerto Natales. The development of the stockbreeding activity, mainly ovine, was the main cause of the establishment in all this area.
In 1894, German pioneers Ernesto von Heinz and Kurt Meyer denominated Natalis to the river that flows into the present Almirante Montt gulf. This was due to the sighting of the river occured on 24th December, prior to the anniversary of the birth of Christ.
Finally, on May 31st 1911, Puerto Natales was founded officially. Nowadays, Puerto Natales has 19319 inhabitants and it is surrounded by stockbreeding farms. Furthermore, in the immediate outskirts there are small family gardens and small farms that provide food to the area which is mostly cultivated organically.
Today it continues to be an important stockbreeding and commercial point in the area, and besides, an increasing importance that the touristic activity has been acquiring due to the varied and picturesque offer.
This city is surrounded by stockbreeding farms and the close encircling by small farms and small vegetable gardens and other products. In the last few years, it has been concentrating its infrastructure towards tourism, that causes that nowadays you can find pleasant coffee shops, restaurants, a casino, small and quaint shops, souvenirs shops and travel agencies. Apart from that, it has a diverse hotel suggestions, that go from big and modern buildings to small guest houses.