Puerto Natales - Chile
Known as the gateway to Torres del Paine, Puerto Natales is a lively little fishing village full of adventurous souls. With the closest entrance to TDP just an hour drive away, its a big hub for Patagonia travel.
What to do:
The main focus of this town is experiencing Torres Del Paine. Although there are also many other things to do that you may have not known about like:
* Kayaking excursions
* Take a boat tour to some of the glaciers in the Fjords
* Exploring the Milodon Caves
* Rock Climbing at Laguna Sofia
* Fishing in the Fjords
You can get everything you need for going into TDP here. Make sure your well prepared because once in the park there isn't much. Although it is possible to go through the whole park staying in refugios and having all your meals made, Its more costly & I wouldn't rely on it. I suggest walking the streets & checking out the local shops before going to the monopoly that is the supermercado. You will find more of what you need around town like fruit and nuts that you wont find in the grocery store anyway. If I don't find everything I need then I'll go to the supermercado last. In this region you will find the stores don't have bags. If you don't bring your own your going to have an interesting time juggling your groceries back to the hostel/hotel!
Some good hostels are "The Singing Lamb", "Hostel Nancy", and "Erratic Rock". Theres lots more all over the place along with some good Hotels and b&b's. You wont run into a problem if you decide to just show up and take it from there. When you get off the bus make sure to grab a map of the town. Theres also great accommodation inside the park if you don't want to brave the wind in a tent. Ive heard great things about staying with Ecocamp. Erratic Rock and Ecocamp both offer A++ guide services inside of the park.
Erratic Rock & Base Camp info talk:
If you plan on hiking the circuit or W trek. Make sure to stop in here first. Base Camp is hands down the best source of information if your headed to . They give an hour talk everyday at 3pm with current park conditions and information about every aspect of the park. Bring a note pad and ask questions! Erratic Rock is the hostel right next door. Its a small place, english speaking, with a killer breakfast, & owned by a couple of cool dudes from Oregon.
From Chile - Fly to Santiago, go through customs here, and then another flight to Punta Arenas. Catch the bus at the Airport or bus station for 4 more hours to Puerto Natales.
From Argentina - Fly to Buenos Aries, go through customs here, and then another flight to either El Calafate or Ushuia. Both have busses that go to Rio Gallegos and then its a quick bus to Puerto Natales, Chile. This will take a little longer however to get to Chile but its another way get into Patagonia and experience more. This would be a good option if you wanted to also see Fitz Roy, Tierra del Fuego along the way. Not to mention Ushuia is a Major hub for cruises to Antarctica.
These bus routes are very reliable and the long distance busses in this region are quite comfortable, especially in Argentina. Seats that fully recline, movies, and basic meals.