Okay, you have to eat the empanadas!! Bigger in size than the Argentine empanadas these can fill you up fast. They are everywhere and cheap cheap cheap. However, the seafood empanadas are GREAT. For those empanada newbies.. it is similar to a pastry turnover, usually filled with beef or seafood, and as common as a burger is in the USA. The seafood and the people!!
pack warm clothings even for the summer !
When coming to Puerto Montt be aware of the fact that even though it might be the southern summer in December or january, it still might be quite windy and cold. In fact we had some fog every morning in that area, so it makes sense to have some warm clothings with you, when going there. Make sure that your hat has also a string in order to fix it on your neck ! In the modern shopping-centres of Puerto Montt you will find most of the photo-equipment you will be looking for !
Cruceros - Cruiser
Puerto Montt es una escala de cruceros que van a visitar la Patagonia
La vista de los trasatlánticos con los volcanes es muy bonita
Puerto Montt is a Cruiser scale on their way to the Patagonia
The view of the transatlantics with the volcanoes is very nice
What if you have to go?
Anyone who has travelled much has come across this problem - where are the public toilet facilities? Puerto Montt is no different. My advice is that you use the facilities at the harbour (if you come from a cruise ship) or the bus station if you arrive by bus.
At Angelmo there are bathroom facilities.
When in the centre, you have two easy options. The two malls! Mall Paseo del Mar is at the end of Talca, a pedestrian walkway that is only two blocks long. Just go up to the foodcourt. The other is in the big mall at the Eastern end of town. Here again the toilets are located on the food court level.
"Home sweet home"
Although not the most exciting place in the world in terms of night life or culture, Puerto Montt is the gateway to Chilean Patagonia. We moved here mid 2009 because of the beauty of the region. From here one is only 40km away from stunningly beautiful places which I will mention in the tips below.
The most interesting place in Puerto Montt for tourists is the crafts market at Angelmo. Here real handcraft is sold, not "made in China" stuff. People living on the islands around Purto Montt use the wool from their sheep to produce products of very high quality. Remember that this is a cold place in winter, so their jerseys and ponchos are warm. Also available here is lapic lazuli jewelery. This semi-precious stone is mined only in Chile and Afganistan.
The central plaza is quite nice with a fountain in summer. The cathedral is on the plaza and is open to the public.
There is a big fairly new mall on the foreshore with a food court selling mostly fast foods if you prefer this.
The harbour and bus station are at the opposite end of town from the mall and just before Angelmo. The city is not that big. A walk from the harbour to the mall can be done in 15 to 20 minutes without exerting yourself.
The weather is temperate to cool. Although it does not snow here we have had sleet on many occasions. The average rainfall is over 2000mm per year so a good raincoat or rainsuit is handy. Although Puerto Montt is not a very windy place rain is often accompanied by some wind making umbrellas useless.
Second only to the sugar cone pine in longevity, the alerce can grow over 4 000 years old. Imaging a tree that was already old when Plato wrote his "Republic". It also grows very very slowly. About 1m in diameter in 1500 years.
Then came the European. Cut it down and build homes. Almost as if a 2000 year old tree is a renewable resource..... Today very few remain and they are still being poached because the wood is of such exceptional quality. Alerce should be treated like ivory. Ban the trade. And enforce the ban.
Unfortunately even if we do manage a ban, none of us will see the recovery of the alerce like we saw the recovery of the African elephant as it grows so slowly.
Douglas Tompkins and his Conservatio Land Trust is doing a marvelous job of rehabilitating destroyed eco systems in Patagonia but the name of the project gives an idea of the challenge: Project 3000. Yes, the third millenium.