Patagonia Day 5 & 6: Puerto Natales

*Our Patagonia trip was from 28 November to 19 December 2016.

After four amazing days in Ushuaia, it was time to head north. We woke up early at about 5am. Our taxi driver was all smiley and waiting for us at our accommodation to pick us up! 🙂 We settled on a taxi though the bus station was a mere 20 min walk away, due to our heavy backpacks (plus it was too cold and too early in the morning!) The taxi ride cost us 45 pesos (SGD4) – it was a pre-agreed rate.

The bus ride from Ushuaia to Punta Arenas took us 11 hours. As mentioned, we managed to get the last two seats on the bus!

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The ride was pretty smooth, and we were soon drifting in and out of sleep. In between our naps, we munched on some chocolate bars and observed the guanacos, sheep and cows grazing on the rolling hillsides 😀 The guanacos were everywhere!

ja22-038.jpgImage from Conservacion Patagonia

Soon, we reached the Argentinian border and had to get down at the Customs. The waiting time was pretty long – it took about an hour for the entire bus to get cleared. We then de-bussed and got onto a ferry to cross over to Chile. We managed to reach Punta Arenas a while later, and rushed to catch our connecting bus to Puerto Natales. The locals were friendly and helpful 🙂

About 4 hours later, we arrived at Puerto Natales and checked into our accommodation for the night, Hostel Yemel.

The accommodation was decent, not too bad – we didn’t manage to get the en-suite but the place was pretty clean. There was also breakfast provided, which was quite yummy. We had scrambled eggs, yogurt, toast, butter, jam, cheese, ham, coffee and juice! Most of these were refillable too – we definitely ate to our hearts’ content 🙂 This is a recommended option if you are looking for basic accommodation complete with delicious breakfast. Our only grouse was that it got a little cold at night, despite the heater being turned on at full power.

Verdict:
paw.png paw.png paw.png paw.png

Hostal Yemel
Address: Esmeralda 1283, Natales,
Región de Magallanes y de la Antártica Chilena, Chile
Contact: +56 9 8901 5821

The next day, we checked out of Hostal Yemel and checked into our next accommodation – Hostel Pire Mapu – which was by far the BEST place we stayed in during our trip. You know, every once in a while, you come across that perfect accommodation – great location, affordable, wonderful facilities, and with amazing hosts to boot. Pire Mapu Cottage was one such place we were lucky to chance upon. We’ll write another post on our accommodation later – because they so deserve it 🙂

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Anyway, after checking in, we walked around town and explored Puerto Natales. It’s a pretty small town, but we still managed to find some interesting places to share 🙂

image1 (3)Picnic by the pier

image3 (3)Random standalone shops in the city centre with beautiful murals

image5 (3)Craft shops and a chocolateria

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We then headed to the Erratic Rock for a free briefing of the W Trek. If you are heading for the W Trek or O Trek, we highly recommend attending this briefing at the Erratic Rock. They have a free talk every day for hikers embarking on the trek, and they provide you with the most up-to-date information on the trek. More details here.

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The briefing was very useful. They even taught us what to pack for the trek and the kinds of food to get, and where to get them. We headed to Unimarc to get some trekking necessities, before getting our fruits and nuts supplies at the local stores. We recommend Itahue Dried Fruit and Nuts Store.

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And… we packed all this food for our trek. (Disclaimer: Before you judge us, this food could barely keep us full for our trek!)

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And to treat ourselves before our gruelling trek, we ended the day with a  hearty meal at El Bote (perhaps my favourite restaurant till this very day!)

Refreshing beer – drunk with happiness

We were the only patrons in the whole restaurant because we were there at 6pm! (We later realised that the South Americans take very late dinners… sometimes even at 9pm)

And of course… the FOOD… to die for.

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This is the bomb. In fact, during our three full days at Puerto Natales, I went back to eat this every day. Grilled sea bass with white wine and cheese and caramelized onions… Just. heavenly.

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Verdict:
paw.png paw.png paw.png paw.png paw.png
(it would have been 6 paws if the max weren’t 5)

Restaurante el Bote Cerveza Natales
Address: Manuel Bulnes 380, Puerto Natales, Natales,
Región de Magallanes y de la Antártica Chilena, Chile
Contact: +56 61 241 0045

If you ever pop by Puerto Natales, you have to try this restaurant. The prices were pretty affordable too – typical cafe pricing. Portions were large and satisfying. 🙂

We rested early ahead of our W Trek – a new adventure awaits!

Previous: Day Four – Laguna Esmeralda

Next: Day Seven to Eleven – W Trek >

*This is a non-sponsored post. 

xoxo,
The Bears
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