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Puerto Montt

 

Puerto Montt is the end of the road for some travelers, and for others a breather before heading to the magical isle of Chilo茅 or the end of the world in Patagonia. Many will find themselves picking up provisions before the trip south, or restocking and repairing after the grueling adventure up the Carretera Austral.

The city has its bounty of attractions, from museums, like Museo Juan Pablo II and Casa del Arte Diego Rivera, to unique religious and secular architecture. Within an hour are some of the region鈥檚 most spectacular national parks, like Vicente P茅rez Rosales and Alerce Andino, as well as Puerto Varas, Frutillar and other villages ringing Lago Llanquihue. Puerto Montt also makes a good point from which to visit small places along the Seno de Reloncav铆 and Pacific coasts.

Puerto Montt, capital of X Regi贸n de los Lagos, is the Puerta de entrada a la Patagonia (Entrance to the Patagonia). It is Chile's link with XI Regi贸n General Carlos Ib谩帽ez del Campo (also called Regi贸n de Ays茅n) and XII Regi贸n Magallanes. It is also a strategic transportation hub. Here the Pan-American Highway seemingly ends, yet a short ferry ride across the Canal de Chacao, Ruta 5 continues again to Quell贸n on the southern tip of Chilo茅. The Carretera Austral, Ruta 7, begins in Puerto Montt, wending along the Patagonia coast in strips connected by boat. Ferries depart this port for Chait茅n, Puerto Chacabuco, the ice fields of Laguna San Rafael and Puerto Natales.The southernmost train station is here. Daily flights depart from Aeropuerto El Tepual for destinations in the Patagonia and north to Temuco and Santiago. The port is the most important in the south, in transporting both commerce and passengers. Puerto Montt is the departure point for the most exclusive border crossing to Argentina, by way of Lago Todos los Santos.

For visitors familiar with the US鈥 Pacific Northwest, Puerto Montt may be reminiscent of Seattle, Washington, another great city on a sound complete with a volcano backdrop. The city spreads across a narrow coastal plain that then steeply rises up the flanks for those four hills. From Puerto Montt you see the perfect cone of Volc谩n Osorno (2652 meters / 8619 feet) to far northeast, behind which is Puntiagudo (2498 meters / 8119 feet), and its neighbor Volc谩n Calbuco (2015 meters / 6549 feet), a squatter-looking mount with streaks of snow. On a clear day, the snowy peaks of the craggy Andes down the Patagonian coast to the south, along the east edge of Reloncav铆 Sound, are visible.

Puerto Montt is a young city, but the area has a long history. Seno de Reloncav铆 (Reloncav铆 Sound) was a prehistoric inland sea. Remnants of a petrified forest exist at Playa de Pelluhu铆n. The oldest remains of a human community ever found in the Americas are near Puerto Montt. At the end of the last glacial age 12,500 years ago, a community at Monte Verde left their steps behind 35 kilometers (21 miles) from Puerto Montt on the shores of the Estero Chinchihuapi. Millennia later, at the end of 1852, German immigrants and Chilotes migrating from Chilo茅 island arrived at Astilleros de Melipulli (meli鈥攆our, pulli鈥攈ills). With the official founding of the city on February 12, 1853 by Vicente P茅rez Rosales, the name was changed to Puerto Montt, in honor of then-Chilean President Manuel Montt. From the port began the re-populating of the Lago Llanquihue area. People looking for a new beginning came from other lands as well, including Spain, France, Sweden, Denmark, Syria and Palestine. At the time of its establishment, Puerto Montt鈥檚 economy was based on the exploitation of alerce. Timber continues to be important, as are fishing and shipping.

Like other cities in southern Chile, May 22, 1960, spelled a dramatic change for Puerto Montt. That day鈥檚 historic earthquake left the city isolated. It had no telephone or telegraph communications with the rest of the country. Bridges were destroyed. The Pan-American Highway and railroad lines were cut in several places. The port was left without electricity and water throughout the autumn. The outside world would eventually learn that 70% of Puerto Montt was destroyed and 80 persons had died. Puertomontinos cite this as the day their future began.

 

 

(Altitude: 14 meters / 46 feet, Population: 153,120, Phone Code: 065)

 

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Other places nearby Puerto Montt: Temuco, Lago Panguipulli, Co帽aripe, Puerto Varas, Parque Nacional Tolhuaca, Parque Nacional Vicente P茅rez Rosales, Reserva Nacional Alto B铆o B铆o, Frutillar , Lago Llanquihue and Lago Pirehueico.







By Lorraine Caputo

Upon re-declaring her independence at age 29, Lorraine Caputo packed her trusty Rocinante (so her knapsack's called) and began...

02 Jul 2009

Things to do in Puerto Montt

Monte Verde Stone Museum

Puerto Montt鈥檚 history, from pre-Colombian times to the present is on display, including authentic totems and hunting tools.Luis Mansilla 173, esquina Manuel Montt (5480000)  Tel: 56 65 ...
Museum
Puerto Montt, Chile

Catedral

The architecture of the cathedral built in 1856 by Matias Doggenweiler and August Trauttmann was inspired by the simple lines of the Parthenon in Athens. The church is built of alerce (fitzroya ...
Historical Building
Puerto Montt, Chile

Museo Hist贸rico Juan Pablo II

From the mid-1950s to early 1980s the building was the Mercado de la Rampa, the principal marketplace. With Pope John Paul II鈥檚 1987 visit, it was renovated for a mass. Afterwards it became this ...
Museum
Puerto Montt, Chile

Iglesia de los Jesuitas

Walking down Gallardo Street, most people just pass by this yellow church next to a school. Take a step back, though, and Iglesia de los Jesuitas鈥 architecture becomes more interesting. Upon the ...
Historical Building
Puerto Montt, Chile

Costanera Walking Tour

From the bus terminal, a broad malec贸n hugs the sound鈥檚 coast. Westward, it ends at the dock for Isla Tenglo boats. Walking East, the promenade passes many places of interest, before arriving to ...
City Walk
Puerto Montt, Chile

Isla Tenglo

Where do Puertomontinos go to relax come weekends and holidays? They head right across the narrow channel, Canal de Tenglo, that separates Isla Tenglo from the mainland by only 100-150 meters ...
Beach
Puerto Montt, Chile

Angelm贸

In the sheltered waters of the Canal de Tenglo fishermen had been anchoring their boats long before the founding of Puerto Montt. In this small cove, or caleta, people came from around the sound and ...
Market
Puerto Montt, Chile

Sail Through the Patagonian Archipelago

Navimag Ferries operates a four-day ferry trip south from Puerto Montt to Puerto Natales, the portal city to Parque Nacional Torres del Paine. Aboard either the Puerto Ed茅n or the Evangelistas, ...
Other Activity
Puerto Montt, Chile
Mapa
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