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Puerto Montt

Llanquihue Province
Puerto Montt
Type of Location
About Location

Puerto Montt is a port city and commune in southern Chile, located at the northern end of the Reloncavi Sound in the Llanquihue Province, Los Lagos Region.The commune spans an area of 1,673 km2 (646 sq mi) and had a population of 175,938 in 2002.It is located 1,055 km to the south of the capital of the Chile, Santiago.Founded as late as 1853 during the German colonization of southern Chile, Puerto Montt soon outgrew older neigboring cities due to its strategic position at the southern end of the Chilean Central Valley being a gateway city into Chiloe Archipelago, Llanquihue and Nahuel Huapi lakes and Western Patagonia.

Puerto Montt has gained renown and grown significantly due to the rise of Chile as the second largest salmon producer of the world during the 1990s and 2000s.However, the Chilean salmon aquaculture crisis of the late 2000s resulted at least temporarily in severe unemployment and exposed weaknesses in the local economy.The city's cultural heritage mixes elements of Chiloe culture with German heritage although the city has attracted a significant number of newcomers from all over Chile in the last 30 years due to employment opportunities.

Originally, the site was covered by a thick forest and was called Melipulli (which means Four hills in Mapudungun).It was selected as an entrance to Lake Llanquihue when its proximity to the open sea was discovered.In the summer of 1851, an expedition arrived from Chiloe to begin the clearing of the area and the building of houses for the new inhabitants.The city itself was founded on February 12, 1853, after government-sponsored immigration from Germany that began in 1848 populated the region and integrated it politically to the rest of the country.It was named after Manuel Montt, President of Chile between 1851 and 1861, who set in motion the German immigration.

Puerto Montt is the capital of the Los Lagos Region and the Llanquihue Province, and the main sea port at the lower end of Chile's western continental land. The city is the principal commercial, services, and financial hub of the of Chilean Northern Patagonia—Zona Austral.As the geographic region's main port, Puerto Montt is often considered the 'capital' of Chilean Patagonia.Puerto Montt is also the gateway to the Chiloe Archipelago and Chiloe Island across the Chacao Channel, and the many other smaller islands in Chile's inland Sea of Chiloe.Other major cities and towns around Lake Llanquihue include Osorno, Valdivia, Puerto Varas, the industrial town of Llanquihue, the cultural town of Frutillar, and Puerto Octay, all adding importance to Puerto Montt and the region.

The city's economy is now based upon agriculture, cattle, and forestry on the surrounding islands, and fishing and salmon aquaculture in the fjords and nearby Pacific Ocean. It is the fastest-growing city in southern Chile, mainly because of the explosive growth of the salmon industry's enterprises.

How to Reach

By Air

Puerto Montt has the El Tepual Airport, where two airlines operate regular flights to and from Santiago, Punta Arenas, Balmaceda, Concepcion,Temuco and Bariloche (Argentina).The airlines operating at the airport are LAN Airlines (the country's largest) and Sky Airlines.The flight time to Santiago is approximately two hours.

By Bus

Buses pull in at the large and bustling termnial in the middle of town close to the harbour.Many departures to cities in the north, as well as services to Chiloe Island.Cruz del Sur are the fastest, since they own many of the ferries crossing the strait and the bus bypasses the waiting line.Buses to Bariloche in Argentina takes around 7 hours.

By Ferries

Navimag has boats to and from Punta Arenas and Puerto Chacabuco.The latter costs Ch$ 38000 pp, Ch$ 100000 for a car.Other companies whose name and routes change frequently have ferries to Chaiten on the carretera austral.Many departures in summer, but often only one per week in winter.The ferry to Chiloe Island leaves about 50 km south west of town, takes 30 min and cost Ch$ 1000 pp and Ch$ 8300 for a car.

Key places to visit
Alerce Andino National Park, Monte Verde Stone Museum, The Osorno Volcano, Lake Llanquihue


Places to Visit

Alerce Andino National Park

Leaving Puerto Montt and taking the southern road, the Alerce Andino National Park is reached.The last 20 thousand hectares of an ancient forest rest there with a lot to teach us.The Alerce Andino National Park is a real piece of natural heritage of mankind.It occupies 40 thousand hectares, out of which 20 thousand correspond to alerce forests located in the mountain areas corresponding to the Chilean Lake District.

Monte Verde Stone Museum

The small Monte Verde Stone Museum has worked in a typical house of this Chilean city since November, 2000, but its heritage dates back from the beginnings of civilization in the continent which, according to archeological research, would acknowledge Monte Verde as the earliest site to develop in America.The Monte Verde Stone Museum treasures incredible testimonies of the Pre-Columbian cultures that first dwelled in the continent.

The Osorno Volcano

The first volcanoes we made out were the Yates and the Calbuco.But the one that catches our attention most is a dark green and black snow-capped mass with arms of snow that almost reach the base.Flying over the vast Lake Todos los Santos, with an intense turquoise color, we could make out the source of the Petrohue River and its famous falls, the Casa Blanca and Puyehue Volcanoes and the National Park bearing the same name.

Lake Llanquihue

Is the second largest lake in Chile with an area of about 860 square kilometres (330 sq mi).It is situated in the southern Los Lagos Region in the Llanquihue and Osorno provinces.The lake's fan-like form was created by successive piedmont glaciers during the Quaternary glaciations.The last glacial period is called Llanquihue glaciation in Chile after the terminal moraine systems around the lake.Lake Llanquihue is located in southern Chile a territory of northern Patagonia in the Los Lagos Region.The lake's spectacular views of Volcán Osorno make the surrounding cities such as Puerto Varas tourism hotspots.

Right Time to Visit

January - April
May - August
September - December


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