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TORRES DEL PAINE
The Chilean city of Puerto Natales, capital of the Puerto Natales district, is located 247 km from Punta Arenas, 48 km from Río Turbio, 256 km from Río Gallegos and 362 km from El Calafate, the last three in Argentina.
Founded in 1911, Puerto Natales has a population of around 19000 inhabitants. It is the capital city of the province of Ultima Esperanza and it is situated on a headland of mild slope.
It is the main access to beautiful landscapes such as the worldwide famous Torres del Paine National Park, "Cueva del Milodón" Natural Monument and Los Glaciares National Park in Argentina. In winter, the main attractions are the ski runs in Río Turbio, the glaciers in Balmaceda and Serrano mountains and the seven glaciers located in "Canal de las Montañas" (Mountains Channel).
Puerto Natales, whose name derives from the Latin term "natalis" meaning "birth" is located near the sea inlet called Señoret Channel, between Almirante Montt gulf in the south and the Ultima Esperanza ("Last Hope") fjord in the north. The latter was named so by its discoverer, Juan de Ladrillero, who, in 1557, was desperately trying to find the western exit of the Strait of Magellan.
It was colonized by Chileans coming from the magical island of Chiloé, who contributed with their labor to the development of cattle raising. This activity was initiated mostly by German and English colonists, who, with great persistence, turned Patagonia into one of the main stockbreeding producers and exporting areas in the world until the end of the seventies.
The splendid territory surrounding the city is mainly dominated by cattle ranches, and the immediate mountain range by small holdings and organic vegetable orchards.
The city presents a solid tourist including cafés, restaurants, a casino - the southernmost in the world-, small and picturesque stores, a historical museum and travel agencies which offer the most tempting alternatives.
The place offers attractive accommodations options, ranging from big hotels to small guest houses with personalized service.
A well-equipped airport connects Puerto Natales with any other place in the world.