Puerto Natales is an outpost town in Chile that is entry point to the Torres del Paine National Park. It is about 150 miles northwest of Punta Arenas and serves also as an entry point to the glaciers that kiss the water in this part of Patagonia (Grey, Serrano, Balmaceda, etc.). It is a small town by our standards (it was founded in 1911) but I venture say that it is impressively big given where it is in this planet! So far south, in such tough climate, and hard to reach (to continue by road up to the rest of Chile, one must cross over east to Argentina, then north, and then head back west into Chile!).
I first visited this town of 18,500 inhabitants in December 2010, at the start of summer. I got to return earlier this year when I went hiking in Patagonia in February towards the end of summer and I was delighted to walk around town again, but with friends this time. I noticed some improvements like the main square across from the church and a little better tourism infrastructure. I also got to go to two restaurants that I greatly enjoyed back in 2010: La Burbuja and La Picada de Carlitos.
I realize that the idea may be crazy but I would enjoy experiencing this town in the middle of winter (which I know means perhaps living there a few months!) just to see what life in a southern town is!
I leave you with images of this Patagonian town in Chile. Click on a photo to enlarge!