So getting into Puerto Montt tends to be pretty easy. Getting out is another story.
We traveled from Santiago to Puerto Montt overnight (12 hours, in cama seats), and all I can say about that trip is a little girl kept kicking my seat through most of the night.
Most people tell you to get out, get out of Puerto Montt. It’s the largest seaport in the area and the last good-sized town with roads before heading farther south in Chile. According to Lonely Planet, it’s called “Muerto Montt” by Chileans, or “Dead Montt.” We arrived expecting it to smell a little fishy, but we decided to continue on to Punta Arenas (a very long trip that crosses into Argentina and back again) immediately.
But we had no such luck. Most bus companies were full until March 10 or 11, a full week and a half from now. Boats and cruise liners travel through the area, but only on certain days. Planes were a little expensive for us. So, grumbling and frustrated to be stuck in a dirty, smelly, expensive town, we purchased bus tickets heading to Punta Arenas on March 5.
We had four and a half days to spend in Puerto Montt, and we began it by looking for a hostel. Turns out those are expensive, too. The best and cheapest one we could find was 40 USD a night, which is pretty expensive. But we had no choice, so we began the hike there. Seriously, this entire city smells like a stray dog rolled in garbage. I’m trying to be nice here.
Our hostel/hotel is quaint and the workers friendly, so they suggested we do a few tours around the area. To the south of Puerto Montt are a few very pretty islands, and to the north by a couple of hours is Chile’s lake district. So I guess we’re doing that for a few days. Thankfully, we’re told the tours are very cheap–the same price as the regular bus to get there and back–so we aren’t losing money that way. Hopefully no more problems develop.
We weren’t expecting to stay here for so long, nor did we want to, but I suppose that’s all a part of the adventure! We will see what happens.