Puerto Montt, Carretera Austral, Patagonia, Chile


Located: 1,025km south from Santiago

Located at the end of mainland Chile prior to the start of the Carretera Austral, Puerto Montt is also at the foot of Chile’s lake region. Served with regular, daily flights from Santiago with a flight time of around 2hrs, it is therefore an option for the first night prior to the start of your Carretera Austral adventure, or if you intend to venture out to explore Chiloe Island for the day and / or places such as Puerto Varas, only 22km away, and the Llanquihue lake.

Brief details
  • Open: Year-Round
  • Area: 97,001 acres
  • Climate: Rainy and mild
  • Rainfall: 157 inches annually
  • Ecosystem: Temperate Rainforest
  • Founded: January 3, 1982
Can't Miss
  • Visit the ancient Alerce (Fitzroya) trees in the Sargazo sector of the park––which are around 2,500 years old––or in the Las Chaicas sector of the park, where they’re nearly 3,000 years old
  • See the Las Chaicas waterfall
  • Cross the suspension bridge on the Lake Sargazo trail
  • Visit a few of the lakes you can reach via the trail network, such as Sargazo, Chaiquenes, Triángulo, Chilco, Fría, or Gaviota

Parque Nacional Alerce Andino

The trees of Alerce Andino National Park come from an old and storied lineage. This regional ecosystem remained isolated from the glaciers that covered the area 12 thousand years ago. Today, its forests are a global icon of endemic fauna––one in three species in this forest is not found anywhere else on the planet. Vertical walls of granite surround the park’s fifty or so lagoons, and its rugged geography has long protected millennia-old Alerce (Fitzroya) trees that grow over more than half of the park’s surface. This priceless ecosystem can be found south of Lake Chapo and is classified as a Biosphere.

Chiloe Island

Almost within “touching distance” so to speak, is the green and rural island of Chiloe, which is south west from Puerto Montt. If you have time to visit Chiloe, you will need a couple of nights minimum unless you want to do an “express” day trip. The drive time to Ancud to the north of the island is about 2hrs from Puerto Montt, which includes a 40min ferry ride. And, to Castro, the capital of the island, the drive time will be closer to 3hrs from Puerto Montt. Firstly, you need to drive to a place called Pargua, 60km south west from Puerto Montt and from where the many ferries depart for the crossing over to Chacao on Chiloe Island.

Jesuit Churches

Chiloe is known for is numerous Jesuit churches, entirely constructed from wood and covered in small wooden tiles. There are also marine animals such as penguins and sea lions to see on its western, Pacific coast and the picturesque, brightly-coloured houses on stilts around Castro.

What’s Here?

Apart from being the northern start point for the Carretera Austral, this is the embarkation port for the Navimag ferry that operates between Puerto Montt and Puerto Natales (for Torres del Paine), which also takes passengers. It also has a yacht marina and popular market called Angelmo, where small retailers sell hand-made textiles, food and wooden products.

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