A Puerto Montt cruise port of call places you at the southern end of Chile’s lovely Lake District. The scenery surrounding Puerto Montt is just what you might expect from a port of call near the Andes Mountains and Patagonian fjords: towering volcanoes, snow-capped mountaintops, and wild forests. Puerto Montt’s distinct German vibe comes from its German settlers, who founded the city in the mid 1800s. When you’re visiting the area from a South America cruise, you’ll find that German architecture, customs, and cuisine are still prevalent today.
In addition to bustling squares, great shopping, and delicious restaurants that you’ll find in the city center, a cruise to Puerto Montt provides an excellent opportunity to get out into nature. Puerto Montt is a gateway to many of the natural wonders that the Patagonia region of South America provides.
Osorno Volcano is located in the Vicente Perez National Park and is often considered to be the starting point of the Chilean Patagonia region. Reaching an impressive 8,700 feet into the sky, the still-active volcano even has glaciers on it, making it a truly majestic sight to behold. The volcano is visible from the city, and experiencing it on a shore excursion is one of the top things to do while on a Puerto Montt cruise.
Sentados Frente al Mar, also called the Odd Couple, is a unique piece of art in Puerto Montt. Located on the sea promenade, this massive sculpture showcases a giant couple looking forlorn and sitting on a park bench holding hands. It’s a bit funky, a bit kitschy, and it’s hard to miss!
Puerto Montt is the gateway to the beauty of the Chilean Lake District. One of the top things to see is the Vicente Perez Rosales National Park, home to the spectacular Petrohue Falls. Watch how the water rushes over volcanic rock chutes created by lava from previous eruptions. While at the park, you can see those impressive volcanoes, including Osorno Volcano and Tronador Volcano.
One of the top things to do in Puerto Montt is to get away from the city center and have an outdoor adventure. Hike through a rainforest, go whitewater rafting down Petrohue River, do some watersports on Lake Llanquihue, or spend the day at a working Chilean farm.
Visiting the nearby city of Puerto Varas provides you with a spectacular view of Osorno Volcano and takes you to the edge of Lake Llanquihue, a peaceful lake situated 230 feet above sea level. This setting gives Puerto Varas an alpine vibe made even more distinct thanks to its German-influenced design. Part of the aesthetic that stands out most are the rose-filled squares, thus giving the city the nickname “City of Roses and Volcanoes”.
The town of Frutillar, also located on the shore of Lake Llanquihue, is a fun place to visit during a Puerto Montt cruise stop due to its frequent music festivals and German architecture. Like most of the cities in the region, it is known for its plentiful outdoor activities and beautiful surrounding scenery. Frutillar also stands out due to its black sand beaches along Lake Llanquihue that get that hue due to the volcanic rock in the soil.
The Chilean dishes you’ll find in Puerto Montt tend to have German and Portuguese influences. You’ll also find spicy flavors mixed with some sweetness, which makes these Chilean dishes stand out. Seafood reigns supreme in Puerto Montt, and you’ll find delicious seafood items on many restaurant menus in town. For some excellent seafood, try the razor clams at the Club de Yates, the congrio fish dishes at Restaurant Nana Bahamonde, and fresh seafood pasta at Entre Mar Y Pasta.
Puerto Montt was first settled in 1853 and was named after Manuel Montt, who led the motion for its separation from Germany. German architecture and customs help influence the culture of Puerto Montt. However, what will most stand out is how focused the town is on the nature surrounding it and the recreational activities you can do while in port. Its location right at the base of Chile’s scenic Lake District, as well as its close proximity to Tierra del Fuego, mean that locals and visitors alike are constantly hiking, trekking, biking, rock climbing, and partaking in any number of other outdoor sports. You’ll find outdoor outfitters renting all sorts of outdoor gear in town.
When you cruise to Puerto Montt, your ship will anchor offshore and tender its passengers to shore. On the tender boat, you’ll travel through an inlet to Puerto Montt, where the boat will pull up by a small dock. You’ll be right by the Puerto Angelmo fishing cove, which is a short walk to the central area of Puerto Montt. You’ll also find buses and guides for your shore excursions waiting at the dock.
The best mode of public transportation in Puerto Montt is the bus, the main station for which is located right by the waterfront.
Along Feria Artesanal Angelmo, right by the tender pier, you’ll find many artisan stalls and small stores selling local goods. This is a great place to get a locally handcrafted souvenir that won’t cost too much, as the vendors are usually open to some haggling. In the city center, the best place for shopping is at the crafts market near the center of town. Some memorable souvenirs to get in Puerto Montt are alpaca rugs, handmade boots, handwoven clothing items, and wood figurines carved by hand.
The official currency for Chile is the Chilean peso. The best way to get cash during a Puerto Montt cruise port of call is from one of the ATMs located around the city, since most banks in Chile won’t exchange money. Look for a bank and you’ll likely find an ATM just outside it. Some vendors will accept U.S. dollars, but don’t count on it if you think you’ll be going somewhere that doesn’t accept credit cards. However, in general, credit cards are widely accepted in the city center of Puerto Montt.