If I had to give one word to describe this little port town called Puerto Natales that is an hour and a half drive outside of Torres Del Paine National Park, I would say “pantry.” That’s because it’s where you fill your coffers for hiking snacks. Plus if you need to rent anything for your outdoor adventures, this town has it.
Puerto Natales was more of a bustling town than I had imagined. It’s still small, but it has everything you could possibly need before you head into Torres Del Paine National Park. Some people actually stayed in town and took tour buses out to the park for the day. C’mon. Are you seriously going to travel all this way just to stay in town and do day trips to one of the most beautiful places on earth? I’m guessing they didn’t plan ahead and couldn’t get a room near or in the park. I feel their pain. We almost didn’t have places to stay either and we booked in July for our end of November trip. Book early, people! I cannot stress this enough! There are very few rooms near and in the park and they go FAST.
While you are in town, load up on snacks and food because there are no stores in or near the park. Some of the refugios sell snacks, but they have a small selection and the pickins’ are slim. Remember, Puerto Natales is the pantry. Load up here while you can because like us, you’re going to wish that you had. DO NOT worry about buying water. You can drink straight from the tap in this neck of the woods. Their water comes straight from the glaciers. It’s got minerals, but it’s cold and delicious.
We had lunch at Mesita Grande Pizzeria before driving another hour and a half to the park. The food was tasty and I definitely recommend it.
We only spent one night here after our time in Torres. It’s not exactly a destination city – it’s more of a hopping off point for the park. But we found a cute restaurant and had a tasty dinner at Cangrejo Rojo Cafe.
We stayed at Hostal Alcázar because it was a 10 minute walk to the Puerto Natales bus station. The hotel served its purpose and I would not recommend it for longer than a one-night stay. There are nicer places to stay, but as I said, treat Puerto Natales as your pantry stop, not your destination. Get in and out. There’s so much more the area has to offer closer to Torres Del Paine.