Puerto Montt, in the middle south of Chile and considered part of Patagonia, is 569 miles south of Santiago, a distance covered by air in a few hours, or on a (commonly) overnight busride of about ten. The city was founded in 1851 by German settlers, but little of the original architecture remains, and what remained until recently was destroyed in the 1960 earthquake which was the strongest earthquake ever recorded, a 9.5 referred to at the Valdivia earthquake.
What Puerto Montt is is a busy port and transportation hub, with access down to the big island of Chiloé and access to the Carretera Austral as well as to some smaller towns on the Reloncavi estuary. Puerto Montt is also where the NAVIMAG boats take off from, heading down to Laguna San Rafael or Puerto Natales. Many travelers spend a day here, but most will choose Puerto Varas, a 20 minute busride away, which is on the shores of Lago Llanquihue (Lake Llanquihue), but even people who live in Puerto Varas will come in to Puerto Montt to go to the fish market for lunch on occasion. If you want to know a part of how real Chile lives and breathes and handles commerce, Puerto Montt is a good place to take a look.
In addition to being a cheap place to spend the night headed north or south, and to fill up on good fish, there is also a bustling crafts market, a couple of interesting churches, a central plaza, lookouts from atop a couple of hills, as well as a mall, for any last-minute shopping emergencies.
, Puerto Montt, Los Lagos, Chile
Av Juan Soler Manfredini, 1667