visiting Puerto Williams, Patagonia, Chile

FIRST you need get to the end of the world. Puerto Williams (pop. 2000) on the island of Navarino.

There are three ways:

– flight from Punta Arenas
– slow (30hrs) ferry from Punta Arenas
– fast boat from Ushuaia, Chile (45min)

BEST is the slow ferry, I’d say. I returned to Punta Arenas on it over 30 hours.

I arrived on the fast boat. About 45 minutes across the Beagle Channel. That can be a rough ride but it was calm as a lake when I crossed.

Your passport is checked. Then you load on a mini-bus for the 45min ride to Puerto Williams.

Ushuaia is a full service city with a population of about 50,000. Puerto Williams has only 2000 full-time residents, many of those associated with the Chilean Navy.

On a hill, you spend a lot of time climbing up and down these stairs.

It’s certainly a port. There are plenty of boats of all descriptions coming and going during the high season.

I met a guy there for 2 weeks sailing on his own boat.

They’ve made some attempts to decorate the town for tourists.

During the short summer a lot of construction / renovation is in progress.

But if your vehicle breaks down in Puerto Williams, there’s no auto wrecker. You leave it parked in front of your house and let the winter storms break it down.

Far fewer tourists come here than Ushuaia. Those that do want to get as far south as they can in the world. Navarino is the last official town. The next place south is Cape Horn. But you need your own private transport to get there. Or you might possibly find a tour that will take you there.

MANY come to Navarino to hike.

There are a number of developed trails including the famed Teeth of Navarino Circuit.

Another highlight for me was the museum. The southernmost museum in the world is extremely good. We watched a Spanish language film about the indigenous people there one evening.

For some odd reason everyone I talked to enjoyed visiting this very remote town. Sam from Calgary was planning to stay at least 2 weeks.

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