El Calafate - Puerto Natales
A lot of travellers will visit both El Calafate and Torres del Paine (Puerto Natales) during their vacation. The best way to travel to/from Chile between El Calafate and Puerto Natales is by bus. There are a couple of companies running services between these cities. We took Cootra to cross the border between Argentina and Chile. The ride takes about 5 hours, depending the time at the two customs offices in Villa Dorotea (we needed about 1 hour to cross).
Be aware: Chile is very strict about food (fruit, veggies) crossing the border. Be sure and consume or throw away your food before the customs office.
In Puerto Natales the buses leave from their own town offices (Cootra: Baquedano); in El Calafate from a central bus station at Avenida Julia a Roca (1 block from Avenida del Libertador).
There are three options for travelling by bus from El Calafate to Puerto Natales. The three companies do all have their own schedules; see:
There is another possibility for travellers between El Calafate and Torres del Paine NP by El Chalten Turismo (didn't use it myself, but did read a lot about it). They organise excursions to the park, but you can also take the (direct) bus service (see for more info: http://www.chaltentravel.com/transporte.asp?trans_id=7)
Some websites with more information about bus transportation.
- Road Trip
SKY Airlines no longer to service Puerto Natales
SKY Airlines has been servicing Puerto Natales in past years, during high season. There has been an announcement that due to Sky's conflict with the national aviation agency over lack of timely modernisation of the Natales airport, Sky will no longer serve Puerto Natales (but will continue to serve Punta Arenas). There is political influence involved in this: Punta Arenas was losing a portion of the tourism money that was going to Natales, and their political connections have worked for years to keep the Natales airport from any sort of growth or additional safety features (e.g., de-icing equipment, longer runway). Now there are no Chilean national carriers that serve the Natales airport.
- Budget Travel
New: Puerto Natales by plane
SKY doesn't fly longer flies to Puerto Natales.
SKY Airlines has been servicing Puerto Natales in past years, during high season. There has been an announcement (August 2013) that due to a conflict with the national aviation agency over lack of timely modernisation of the Natales airport, Sky will no longer serve Puerto Natales (but will continue to serve Punta Arenas). There is political influence involved in this: Punta Arenas was losing a portion of the tourism money that was going to Natales, and their political connections have worked for years to keep the Natales airport from any sort of growth or additional safety features (e.g., de-icing equipment, longer runway). Now - at least for the time being - there are no Chilean national carriers that serve the Natales airport.
Since the beginning of the year 2009 it is possible to fly to/from Puerto Natales. The 'second' Chilean airline 'Sky Airline' is flying from a couple of cities - among them Santiago - to Puerto Natales.
Didn't use it myself, but heard about the flights from a friend and checked it on the internet.
It will no longer be necessary to travel by bus first to Punta Arenas to catch a domestic flight.
For the time being there are a couple of flights a week scheduled.
A good option
Comfortable, simple and very punctual, Bus Fernandez takes from Punta Arenas to Puerto Natales and of return, it has seven schedules per day, the trip lasts 3 hours approximately, and you will be able to enjoy a very pretty landscape is worth the trouble to be awake. The price it is 3000 pesos Chileans one way (5,50 US$).
Cómodo, sencillo y muy puntuales, Buses Fernández te lleva desde Punta arenas a puerto natales y de vuelta, tiene siete horarios de salida por día, el viaje dura 3 horas aproximadamente, y podrás disfrutar unos paisaje muy lindos vale la pena estar despierto. El precio es de 3000 pesos chilenos viaje de ida (5,50 US$).
Dirección: Eleuterio Ramirez #399
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- Road Trip
Bus from Punta Arenas Airport
There are at least 3 bus companies (Fernandez, Pacheco, Sur) that make a stop at the airport on the way to Puerto Natales, so if you are arriving by plane, you can arrange to get on the bus there instead of the bus station in downtown Punta Areans. However, you cannot actually buy tickets at the airport as the bus companies do not have kiosks at the airport. I tried to make an email reservation 1 week before our arrival but I have yet to hear from Buses Fernandez.
We ended up asking our hotel in Puerto Natales to purchase the bus ticket in advance. The owner arranged for his taxi driver to buy the ticket from the Punta Arenas bus office of Buses Fernandez. He then gave the tickets to the bus driver of the specific bus we were taking (so make sure you're not late). We then gave our names to the bus driver and he gave us our tickets. It sounded convoluted but it actually worked pretty smoothly.
(BTW, the taxi driver actually came to the airport to make sure we got on the bus OK - we were quite impressed. Since he had to send his taxi driver to go buy the tickets and go to the airport, he did charge us 2,000 CLP extra but it saved us a lot of time and hassle. Normal ticket price was 4,000 CLP per person.)
I'm not sure if all hotels / bus companies work this way, but it doesn't hurt to check and see if they can help you buy the bus ticket so you can board the bus from the airport. Otherwise, you'll need to take a taxi to downtown Punta Arenas (7,000 clp), find the bus company, and then board the bus from there.
On Buses Fernandes itself, it is recommended that you make reservations at least 1 day in advance during the busy seasons. The bus stop at the airport is just outside the farthest left door. You should be able to find it easily.
- Budget Travel
Car rental – a lot of freedom
When on holiday we love our freedom and if possible we try to travel by (rental) car. We feel it is much more convenient and flexible. We drive and stop when and how long we want and not when a tour guide does. And self driving allows to take minor roads and to visit ‘off the beaten path’ sights.
And often it is not more expensive (with 2 persons) than visiting sights by guided tours. We did drive 340 km’s and paid 42.000 pesos.
In Puerto Natales we rented our car from EMSA (in co-operation with Avis); a lot of paperwork, but a friendly and helpful staff. They offer a free pick up and drop off from your accommodation.
We just had our car for a day trip to Torres del Paine. In my opinion you really need your own transportation to explore this fantastic National Park. I even can’t count the stops we made to enjoy the landscape and to make pictures along the road. I’m absolutely sure this was the best way for an one day trip.
EMSA Rentacar is located at Bulnes 632.
- Road Trip
Punta Arenas - Puerto Natales
Arriving in or leaving from Punta Arenas by plane a lot of tourists do have to travel by bus to/from Puerto Natales.
We made our reservation at the office of Buses Fernández two days in advance and we got reserved seats.
The departure at the local office (corner Ramirez/Esmeralda) was just like one on an airport and we had to check in and drop off our luggage. The bus ride takes 3 hours through a rather pleasant scenery. And our bus even had a TV with a movie.
Buses Fernández operates 7 services from 7.15 am till 8.00 pm; we paid 4.000 Chilean pesos for an one way ticket. There is also a stop at the airport of Punta Arenas before reaching the city office/station.
- Road Trip
To travel between Puerto Montt and Puerto Natales, one can take a cruise along the Chilean fjords.
The scenery is beautiful but not as spectacular as I had imagined.
Navimag runs several cruises, some to Laguna San Rafael; others from Puerto Montt to Puerto Natales or vice-versa.
From Puerto Montt, it leaves on Monday afternoon. From Puerto Natales, you check in on Thursday night and it departs on Friday morning.
The cheapest is the 'C' cabin which is a bunk bed in a 22-bed cabin. Prices vary depending on the season. A locker is provided and there is curtain for privacy. Very comfortable.
Check out the website below.
I think that Dap is the only airline that uses the landing strip here so if you want to catch a flight you will have to go to Punta Arenas.
There are 3 bus companies that do this trip, most twice daily.
It is a 3 1/2 - 4 hour ride over rather bumpy gravel roads.
The driver will drop you off at the airport or take you on into town. Your choice.
The scenery is nice and you will see a lot of sheep.
- Budget Travel
We flew from El Calafate, Argentina to Puerto Natales on a little 8 seater, Dap Airplane.
It was a beautiful day and the scenery was terrific.
It took us about 30 minutes flight time, $50 for the ticket, and $21 airport tax each.
- Adventure Travel
Navimag, of course - Navimag, bien sur...
The one (and only ?) company that will make you dream on their "love boat", the Puerto Eden, from Puerto Montt to Puerto Natales, across the chilean fjords and some wonderful landscapes (see Travelogues on my pages Region del Aisen and Magallanes)
La seule (et l'unique ?) compagnie qui vous fera amuser tout au long d'une croisiere sur le Puerto Eden, depuis Puerto Monnt jusqu'a Puerto Natales, a travers les Fjords Chiliens et les magnifiques paysages de la Patagonie (cf Travelogues sur mes pages Region del Aisen et Magallanes)
- Save money, Book now!
- Booking.com Excellent choice, Low rates
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