Because of its strategic location, Puerto Montt is the distribution centre and connecting point to most of the tourist destinations in the south. You all find the Tepual International Airport, the ferry port and a main bus station here in this capital of the Lakes Region. Small busses leave almost every 15 minutes to nearby Puerto Varas and many buses a day leave for Chiloé Island.
To reach the Carretera Austral, choose one of the following options: buy a ticket for the breathtaking bus ride, which includes amazing ferry crossings, to Hornopirén and further to Chaitén, hop on the Naviera Austral ferry (www.navieraustral.cl) to Chaitén or take the 24h Navimag ferry (www.navimag.com) to Puerto Chacabuco, close to Coyhaique.
Navimag also offers an amazing 3 day trip to Puerto Natales in the south of Patagonia. Winding through the islands and fjords, these cruises amongst the glaciers are enough of a reason to book the trip, if not to get to the actual towns. There is only one long-distance Navimag ferry per week, which leaves on Fridays; reserve ahead in summer time! Check www.navimag.com for the full schedules and reservations.
But Puerto Montt is not only a transport hub. While youre waiting for your ship to come in, dont miss walking along the Pelluco Beach or having an amazing (and cheap) seafood meal at the Angelmó market. While youre there, visit the artisan market, cross to Tenglo Island by boat and hike up its nature trail to the top for a great view of Puerto Montt and the Osorno, Calbuco and Puntiagudo volcanoes, or make a boat trip to Isla Maillén & Isla Capera. Last but not least, its fantastic to explore the Alerce Andino NP, located to the east of Puerto Montt, with its impressive alerce trees & many trails.