12 Best Things to do in Puerto Montt, Chile (with Map)

The capital of Chile’s Lake District, Puerto Montt acts as a gateway to both the Patagonian fjords and Andes Mountains. As it is a bustling port city, most visitors spend their time exploring all the nearby volcanoes, forests and rivers.

Set at the mouth of the Central Valley with the immense Volcan Osorno rising in the distance, it was founded in 1853 by German settlers. While a handful of monuments and churches highlight the city’s heritage, in truth, its traffic-choked streets are quite unremarkable. There are however a few vibrant markets and malls where you can shop for souvenirs, try some seafood or pick up supplies for a trip further south.

It is Puerto Montt’s proximity to so much stunning nature that is the real reason most people stop by. As well as visiting the fabulous Petrohué Waterfalls other things to do in Puerto Montt including exploring the Alerce Andino National Park and several soaring stratovolcanoes. From here, adventurous travelers can also take unforgettable ferry trips to some of the wildest parts of the planet: the gorgeous glaciers and giant fjords of Patagonia.

Where to Stay in Puerto Montt

The best area to stay is in or around Puerto Montt’s center and down by the waterfront. Here you can see most of its main sights, visit the Angelmo market and arrange excursions to its national parks.

Just a short stroll from Plaza de Armas is the four-star Hotel Don Luis. Besides its central location, it has comfy rooms and a warm, inviting decor. In addition to a gym and sauna, its top floors also offer panoramic views of the Reloncavi Sound. Guests particularly enjoyed its excellent restaurant and the friendly nature of its staff.

Also close to all the action is Hotel Apart Colón. Set a block back from the ocean, the three-star hotel has well-equipped apartments and studios for visitors to stay in. Its clean rooms overlook the Sound with continental breakfasts being provided each morning.

How to get there

Despite its remote setting, the city is quite well connected to the rest of Chile with flights, ferries and buses departing all the time.

On the northwestern outskirts of town, El Tepual Airport connects visitors to Santiago, Punta Arenas and a couple of other destinations in Chile. Even closer to the city centre is Marcel Marchant Airport which services secluded towns and cities amidst the Patagonian Fjords.

Other than flying up and down the coast, you can take long distance buses and ferries to many main cities. These depart from the Terminal de Buses and Angelmo wharf.

Once you arrive, you can either walk around the center or take a bus, taxi or tour to its nearby nature spots and national parks.

14. Mercado Presidente Ibanez

Mercado Presidente Ibanez

Loads of fun to explore, the lively Mercado Presidente Ibanez lies only ten minutes’ drive north of the center. At the market, you can pick out fresh fruit and vegetables, fish, meats and cheeses. There are also plenty of little eateries to try, serving up delicious local dishes and street food.

Named after the former president Carlos Ibanez del Campo, the market was now established almost two decades ago. Crammed around its cavernous central hall and along its surrounding arcades are roughly 140 stands and stalls to check out. These sell almost everything under the sun with a couple also specializing in amazing arts and crafts produced in Chile.

Aside from shopping til you drop and taking in the intoxicating atmosphere, you can also taste some sumptuous seafood. Countless cafes and restaurants are scattered about with many on the second floor providing fantastic views of the chaos going on below.

13. Catedral de Puerto Montt

Quite a unique looking cathedral, Puerto Montt’s most important place of worship can be found right in the city center. Lining one side of Plaza de Armas, its unusual alerce exterior and equally distinct interior make it well worth visiting.

Certainly one of the oldest and most attractive buildings in town, the church was originally erected in 1856 before being used as both an army barracks and theater. Later on, it was restored and elevated to a cathedral by Pope Pius XII.

Overlooking its fine facade with its sturdy Doric columns and stained-glass windows is a lovely little copper cupola. Inside is just as arresting as two imposing rows of pillars direct you to an impressive painting of Christ on the cross. As lovers of architecture, it was definitely our favorite building in the otherwise rather ugly looking city.

12. Travel on the Navimag Ferry

Navimag Ferry

If you’re after an absolutely incredible travel experience like no other, book a trip aboard the Navimag Ferry. From Puerto Montt’s harbourfront, big boats depart each week, heading straight to the heart of Chilean Patagonia.

From the cabins and decks of the enormous Esperanza ferry, you’ll watch the country’s spectacular coastal scenery slowly pass by. On show are not just glacier-topped volcanoes and snowy mountain ranges but vast, verdant forests and plunging fjords shaped over the course of millennia.

Not for the impatient, the journey to Puerto Natales usually takes four days to complete. Departures are also sometimes delayed due to adverse weather conditions. Adventurous travelers however will love life aboard the cargo ship and the chance to disconnect and enjoy the dramatic scenery.

Once you arrive, you’ll be refreshed and ready to explore the Torres del Paine and Bernardo O’Higgins national parks nearby.

11. Rafting the Petrohue River

Rafting the Petrohue River

Just one of the many thrilling activities you can arrange in town is rafting along the rushing Petrohue River. From the city centre, a couple of companies run tours out to its rapids which are surrounded by soaring volcanoes, dense forests and rugged rock formations.

Stretching 36 kilometres, the scenic river originates at Todos los Santos Lake before meandering its way to the Reloncavi Estuary. Its route provides spellbinding views of Vicente Perez Rosales National Park and the Calbuco, Osorno and Puntiagudo volcanoes.

Accompanied by expert guides, you’ll shoot along a section of the river and hurtle down Class III and IV rapids. Ideal for all ages and abilities, the exciting excursion promises to be one of the best things you do in Puerto Montt.

10. Visit Puerto Varas

Puerto Varas

Not far away is the picturesque city of Puerto Varas. Set along the south shore of Llanquihue Lake, it is famed for its charming German buildings and centuries-old traditions. It also boasts phenomenal views of the Osorno and Calbuco volcanoes rising up dramatically in the distance.

Located only half an hour’s drive directly north of town, the ‘city of roses’ was settled back in 1853 by German immigrants come to colonize Chile’s Lake District. While ambling around its historic centre, you’ll come across numerous sights that reflect this fascinating past.

Besides admiring its most iconic landmark, the Sacred Heart of Jesus Church which was completed in 1918, you can see tons of wonderful old wood buildings. The city’s restaurants and breweries also serve up some great German dishes and pints of strong craft beers.

9. Monte Verde

For those interested in history, the rather mysterious Monte Verde archaeological site is an absolute must. Situated just thirty minutes’ drive west of Puerto Montt, the marshy area preserves an ancient open-air human settlement that continues to confuse archaeologists even today.

In late 1975, the discovery of a small child’s footprint shocked the scientific world and challenged the ‘Clovis first’ model. This remarkably pushed back the evidence of human settlement in the Americas by roughly a thousand years. Initially controversial, Monte Verde is now thought to be at least 18,500 years old.

At its site along Chinchihuapi Creek, you can see where various old stone objects and animal bones were unearthed. Informative plaques also teach you more about the findings and explain the impact it had on archaeologists and the intriguing, unanswered questions it still poses today. Don’t expect to see all that much here though as the important site is sadly quite neglected by the government.

8. Angelmo


On your way back into town, stop off at the bustling Angelmo market for some splendid seafood and souvenir shopping. Lying on the western edge of Puerto Montt, it has scores of streetside stalls and rather touristy restaurants to try. Prepare to be hassled though as everyone wants you to take a seat or purchase some handicrafts to take home!

One of the most famous markets in the country, it lies along the waterfront with a cluster of wooden buildings bordering its quaint old fishing wharf. Here, you can see colourful boats come and go while sea lions bask on the jetty and beg for scraps.

Vendors also display the fresh catch of the day and all kinds of fruit, vegetables, beef and artisanal products from the Chiloe area. Aside from being great fun to wander around, it is the perfect spot to stop for some authentic local dishes. You can also pick up some traditional arts and crafts made out of locally produced wool, leather and copper.

7. Monumento a la Colonización Alemana

Further along the waterfront is one of Puerto Montt’s standout symbols and sites: the Monumento a la Colonización Alemana. Located right next to Plaza de Armas, it pays tribute to the initial 200 or so German settlers who migrated to the area in 1852.

First unveiled to the public in 2002, the monument depicts a recently arrived German family speaking to a local guide. While the mother holds a baby and the father a satchel, the Chiloen native points the way they should go. Perched upon his shoulder is an axe and at his feet a dog.

Beneath the group of bronze statues is a small plaque explaining the outdoor art installation in both Spanish and German. Although nothing truly special, we still enjoyed seeing the historical monument and snapping some photos with the waterfront behind it. As with Monte Verde, it gives you a greater feeling and appreciation for the region’s remarkable past.

6. Mall Paseo Costanera

Mall Paseo Costanera

Just a stone’s throw from all the striking sculptures is the chic and stylish Mall Paseo Costanera. The largest shopping center in southern Chile, its innumerable stores display almost everything you could ever want.

Overlooking the waterfront, the massive mall and its two tall tower blocks was built back in 2001. As well as the usual shops like Adidas, Nike and Skechers, its gigantic, gleaming interior contains a vast food court and a movie theater showing all the latest releases.

After perusing its 200 or so sparkling shop windows, you can grab a bite to eat at McDonalds, KFC or one of its more upmarket options. Accessories and electronics are also sold here alongside camping gear for when you head off to explore its national parks.

5. Muelle de Paseo

Muelle de Paseo

Back by the monument and Plaza de Armas is the popular and picturesque Muelle de Paseo that juts out into the bay before it. Instantly recognizable thanks to its distinctive tent-topped canopy, the pier boasts beautiful views of Puerto Montt and its reflective waters.

Originally inaugurated in 1888, the 140-meter-long pier was once the spot where ships unloaded their passengers and cargo. In recent years, its wooden walkway has finally been replaced with the sleek, simple structure and awnings we see today.

Softly lit up at night, it makes for some fine photos what with the water, coast and city behind it. On top of strolling along it and enjoying the brisk sea breeze, you can sometimes see ships and dolphins from the end of the pier.

4. Boat Ride on the Seno de Reloncavi

A wonderful way to see more of the city’s stunning scenery is to take a boat ride around the Seno de Reloncavi. Lying right in front of Puerto Montt, its shimmering surface is surrounded by lots of lovely mountains, forests and bays.

Absolutely enormous, the almost endless sound is the point where the Chilean Central Valley meets the Pacific Ocean. Scattered about its waters are various islands while its indented eastern shoreline is home to Alerce Andino National Park.

Taking a boat ride about the sound is therefore a very rewarding affair with unbelievable panoramas wherever you look. From the center of town, both short and long-distance ferries depart through the immense waterway with private cruises and tours also being available.

3. Petrohué Waterfalls

Petrohué Waterfalls

With the snow-capped Osorno volcano rising up in the background, the Petrohué Waterfalls don’t half make for a spectacular sight. Lying along the river of the same name, the churning chute-type rapids can be reached in around about an hour from Puerto Montt.

Part of Vicente Perez Rosales National Park, the falls are situated halfway between Todos los Santos Lake and Llanquihue Lake. Bordered by black basalt rocks, the color of its teeming waters fluctuate from emerald green to frothy white and blue.

While the waterfalls are only a couple of meters in height at most, their sheer force and volume more than make up for it. Both banks of the river have a few trails to explore that offer incredible views of the falls and volcano. Coupled together, these two natural sights actually produced some of the best photos from our time in Chile.

2. Volcan Osorno

Volcan Osorno

Towering dramatically above the lakes, forests and rivers about it is the phenomenal Volcan Osorno. One of the Lake District’s must-see sights, the conical stratovolcano lies ninety minutes northeast of town, in between the two large lakes mentioned above.

Topped by glimmering glaciers, the majestic mount stands 2,652 meters tall with ancient lava flows scarring its lower slopes. Considered a symbol of the local landscape, its soaring summit marks the northern boundary of Chilean Patagonia for many.

Asides from ogling at its staggering size and snapping some pics of its peak, you can also scale and even summit Osorno if you feel like it. Hiking about its colossal slopes is an awe-inspiring experience with the views from up high being just as good. A couple of ski lifts are also on-hand to whisk you up the side of the hulking great stratovolcano.

1. Alerce Andino National Park

Alerce Andino National Park

The highlight of anyone’s time in town though has to be exploring the untouched and unspoiled Alerce Andino National Park. Set just under an hour’s drive southeast of the center, its wild reaches offer all kinds of fun outdoor activities.

Named after the endangered alerce tree that dominates the park, it was established back in 1992 to protect the region’s pristine fauna and flora. Amidst its vast tracts of virgin woodland are around fifty sparkling lakes and ponds for you to find. Waterfalls also abound with hiking trails weaving their way here and there.

Bounded by the Reloncavi Estuary, Sound and Chapo Lake, its rugged mountains and lush forests are a treat to explore. With barely another soul around, you can see such epic sights as Laguna Sargazo and the Rio Chaica waterfall. Add in all the towering 3,000-year-old trees around you and the national park really is not to be missed out on.

Map of Things to do in Puerto Montt, Chile

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *