And so I ventured towards the end of the earth where everyman is Captain Birdseye and every women capable of putting Bear Grylls to shame. But not me and my TRX of course.
How to backpack Puerto Natales. I mean it’s cold. Not as cold as it got down in Ushuaia but my balls still complained. 99% of people come here to trek Torres Del Paine. I wrote a simple, short step by step guide with tips here (no nonsense straight to the point) that you may find useful. Especially if you’re thinking of wandering into this epic land.
Reaching this far I certainly felt cut off from the modern day world. Not to say the place isn’t modern in itself, it’s just so isolated from anything. You really feel the distance. Chile isn’t the cheapest but down here it gets a little pricey compared to the usual backpacker price list. I chose a hostel that came from a recommendation of a fellow German traveller. He far out seeded my intelligence, figured I’d take his word on it. It’s called Hostal Lili-Patagonicos.
The family home
It was a true family home, the mum is a legend. She did have a pesky little 7 year-old (honestly he was a little brat). But I put up with him and teased him now and then. I hired all my gear from her for Torres del Paine and stored my stuff whilst on the trek. All of which she was more than happy to aid with.
Above, Puerto Natales the gateway to Patagonia. I gave myself two full days’ prep before heading into Torres Del Paine on the 3rd. Fucked it. Went out for a quiet solo drink on my own to a nice bar before the big day arrived. Made friends with two 40-year-old Chilean fisherman sitting at the bar. Got hammered on Whiskey and didn’t get in till 5am. Missed the bus. So the 4th day came round and Boom! Set off from the little hostel and hitchhiked my way to Camp Pehoe. It’s on the outskirts of the national Park, more on that immense spot and the Torres Del Paine adventure in this post.
I found Puerto Natales ok. Enjoyed running along the shore. Hitting the little local gym and wandering the shops stocking up on trekking food. It was an ideal place to finish planning my days pooing in the wild.
- Stay at Hostal Lili-Patagonicos
- Go to the trek meeting in the centre there’s some useful info to stop you dying whilst trekking
- Wander along the shore line taking in the wicked mountain views
- Buy your trek food prep from the big supermarket it’s much cheaper, post on food prep here
- Visit Vertice information centre here if you need to check bookings or change them for Torres del Paine
- Enjoy a Whiskey black at Baguales (coffee and whiskey) but be careful they get you steaming, they also have great meat dishes
- Hitchhike to Torres del Paine, lots of people do it and as far as I understand and from what I was told it’s safe. Plus, it’s fun and cheap.
- Come here to see stuff, there’s nothing to see. It’s the gateway to a trek in my opinion.
- Get sucked into buying loads of expensive trekking gear, rent it from the hostels. It’s good stuff and Torres del Paine trekking is mind over matter anyway. No matter how good your gear is. I trekked the entire thing in Nike Airs.
Puerto Natales does have a lovely charm to it. Chileans are super friendly and the two fellas I ran into at the bar became good mates. They checked-up on my little ass regularly via Facebook messages. Even to this day 1 year in they send me photos and well wishes.
Tips for healthy eats
- Being honest I cooked for myself each day here as I spent the time prepping, Natales wasn’t about seeing or doing for me it was just a stop to venture forth into trekking.
- There’s a main square which has a large supermarket, fruits, veg the full works.
How to get meat for that protein hit
- The supermarket has cooked chickens which are always ideal and good value for money. They last about 3 days giving you around 66g protein a day. I bought fully cooked chickens from the main super market on the strip that lasted a couple of days, tearing off pieces adding them to a veg stir fry.
- The standard 6 egg veg omelette at breakfast always set me up for the day and the kitchens at Chili Kiwi are a pleasure to cook in.
Where to exercise
There’s a gym on calle Eusebio Lillo at the start of the street, it’s got everything and is cheap. A couple of times I ran along the water front and around town and used the playgrounds on the water front to do a variety of pull-ups and holds.