I’ve received several messages in recent weeks from travelers seeking details on bus travel between various points in Patagonia, so I’m publishing the info I’ve collected so those who need it can hopefully find it here.
I’m not making any claims that the information presented here is complete, but it is accurate as of the date(s) listed. If you have additional or more recent info, please share it in the comments section.
Punta Arenas to Puerto Natales, Chile
Driving distance: 246 km/153 miles
Duration: Approximately three hours
Travel date: 05-Feb-2013
Highlights: The mute harmlessly psychotic steward
The Nitty and the Gritty
My notes here are pretty spare.
These two southern Chilean cities are well connected, at least during high season, with about a half dozen companies servicing the route. I nonetheless played it safe and booked immediately upon arrival at the Busses Pacheco office. There is no central bus terminal in Punta Arenas and I didn’t feel like hunting the others down with my bags in tow.
Pacheco offers four departures daily: 07:30, 11:00, 15:00 and 18:00. Cost was 5000 CLP / 10.50 USD / 8.10 EUR.
But don’t let the number of departures fool you. I had to revise my plans and cut my visit to Punta Arenas short by a day when I learned that all four departures were sold out for the day I initially planned to leave. Puerto Natales is the main jump off point for Torres Del Paine National Park, south America’s most popular, so buses do fill quickly.
The bus was a comfortable double decker whose steward was an animated mute with a harmlessly psychotic sense of humor. Particularly amusing were his hand and facial gestures when explaining the damage open rooftops vents can do to low flying birds.
Like much of the Ushuaia-Punta Arenas route, this too is primarily grazing territory, but slightly more hilly with more lakes and rivers breaking through the landscape. And perhaps even more sheep. What I remember most vividly are the swaths of clear cuts, as in the photo above, carved into the landscape as Puerto Natales approached.
And finally, 30 seconds of mildly shaky and uninspired video from the mildly shaky ride to make up for my lackadaisical note-taking efforts. Enough to give you the general idea. Minus the harmlessly psychotic steward.