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Cruises to Puerto Montt

Puerto Montt (Photo:Maciej Bledowski/Shutterstock)
Puerto Montt (Photo:Maciej Bledowski/Shutterstock)

About Puerto Montt

Puerto Montt, tucked into a V-shaped slit along the side of a mountain, isn't a big city, and when you arrive from the ship via tender, you might think you've been plunked down into a corner of Bavaria ... if it weren't for the signs in Spanish. Founded in 1853 and named for Manuel Montt, the president of Chile at the time, Puerto Montt was populated by German immigrants who brought with them their architecture, customs and culture.

You'll still experience Germanic influence today: Don't miss munching "kuchen," a German-influenced fruit flan, accompanied by the local German-style beer, Kunstmann. But what Puerto Montt is really all about is recreation -- lots of it. Though the small, mostly industrial city lacks the urban energy of Santiago to the north and the pristine beauty of the Tierra del Fuego region to the south, Puerto Montt -- at the southernmost end of Chile's Lake District -- is set among lakes, fjords and rivers, and nestled at the foot of snow-capped mountains.

After cruising up the coast from Punta Arenas, or down the coast from Valparaiso, a day enjoying the outdoor opportunities in and around Puerto Montt is just what most cruisers crave. Take your pick: hike up the perfectly symmetrical Osorno Volcano, try your hand at flyfishing, go whitewater rafting, waterski on Lake Llanquihue, try a zipline canopy tour, kayak along a river, paddle a canoe across a lake or ride a bicycle.

If you've come to Puerto Montt seeking less active pursuits, you can also have a lazy day with a lakeside picnic on a Pacific Ocean beach in the area, shop for local products and crafts at the artisan market, or try on leather boots in the shops.

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14 Night
Cruise to Puerto Montt

Leaving:
Buenos Aires
Visiting:
Montevideo, Puerto Madryn ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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14 Night
Cruise to Puerto Montt

Leaving:
Buenos Aires
Visiting:
Montevideo, Punta del Este ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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DAY 1: Lima

20 Night
Cruise to Puerto Montt

Leaving:
Lima
Visiting:
Pisco, Coquimbo ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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17 Night
Cruise to Puerto Montt

Leaving:
San Antonio
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Puerto Montt, Puerto Chcabuco ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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62 Night
Cruise to Puerto Montt

Leaving:
Miami
Visiting:
San Juan, St. Kitts ...
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Cruise Line:
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
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14 Night
Cruise to Puerto Montt

Leaving:
San Antonio
Visiting:
Puerto Montt, Puerto Chcabuco ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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Cruise Critic Favorite

20 Night
Cruise to Puerto Montt

Leaving:
Buenos Aires
Visiting:
Montevideo, Punta del Este ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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14 Night
Cruise to Puerto Montt

Leaving:
Buenos Aires
Visiting:
Montevideo, Puerto Madryn ...
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Cruise Line:
Norwegian Cruise Line
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14 Night
Cruise to Puerto Montt

Leaving:
San Antonio
Visiting:
Puerto Montt, Chilean Fjords ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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14 Night
Cruise to Puerto Montt

Leaving:
San Antonio
Visiting:
Puerto Montt, Chilean Fjords ...
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Cruise Line:
Celebrity Cruises
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19 Night
Cruise to Puerto Montt

Leaving:
Santiago
Visiting:
Puerto Montt, Puerto Chcabuco ...
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Cruise Line:
Regent Seven Seas Cruises
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22 Night
Cruise to Puerto Montt

Leaving:
Buenos Aires
Visiting:
Montevideo, Punta del Este ...
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Cruise Line:
Holland America Line
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14 Night
Cruise to Puerto Montt

Leaving:
Buenos Aires
Visiting:
Montevideo, Stanley ...
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Cruise Line:
Holland America Line
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22 Night
Cruise to Puerto Montt

Leaving:
San Antonio
Visiting:
Puerto Montt, Puerto Chcabuco ...
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Cruise Line:
Holland America Line
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14 Night
Cruise to Puerto Montt

Leaving:
San Antonio
Visiting:
Puerto Montt, Puerto Chcabuco ...
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Cruise Line:
Holland America Line
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20 Night
Cruise to Puerto Montt

Leaving:
Lima
Visiting:
Pisco, Coquimbo ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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17 Night
Cruise to Puerto Montt

Leaving:
Buenos Aires
Visiting:
Montevideo, Puerto Madryn ...
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Cruise Line:
Viking Ocean Cruises
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20 Night
Cruise to Puerto Montt

Leaving:
Buenos Aires
Visiting:
Montevideo, Stanley ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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50 Night
Cruise to Puerto Montt

Leaving:
Fort Lauderdale
Visiting:
St. Kitts, Martinique ...
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Cruise Line:
Princess Cruises
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20 Night
Cruise to Puerto Montt

Leaving:
San Antonio
Visiting:
Puerto Montt, Puerto Chcabuco ...
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Cruise Line:
Holland America Line
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Cruise Critic Favorite

34 Night
Cruise to Puerto Montt

Leaving:
Miami
Visiting:
Aruba, Curacao ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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38 Night
Cruise to Puerto Montt

Leaving:
Miami
Visiting:
Key West, Cozumel ...
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Cruise Line:
Oceania Cruises
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14 Night
Cruise to Puerto Montt

Leaving:
Buenos Aires
Visiting:
Montevideo, Puerto Madryn ...
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Cruise Line:
Princess Cruises
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22 Night
Cruise to Puerto Montt

Leaving:
San Antonio
Visiting:
Puerto Montt, Castro ...
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Cruise Line:
Holland America Line
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31 Night
Cruise to Puerto Montt

Leaving:
Buenos Aires
Visiting:
Montevideo, Stanley ...
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Cruise Line:
Holland America Line
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Why go to Puerto Montt?

Pros:

Plenty of fantastic outdoorsy adventures are on offer here. Plan a day trip to the surrounding wilds

Cons:

This region of Chile is very rainy and windy; be prepared for the weather

Bottom Line:

This German-influenced industrial city is surrounded by mountains, rivers, beaches and fjords

Puerto Montt Cruise Port Facilities?

There are a few kiosk-type shops directly beyond the docking area and some international telephones. If you are choosing to explore Puerto Montt itself or have plans that do not include a ship excursion, you can walk right from the dock into the city, where you'll find grocery stores, cafes and the craft market stalls for souvenirs. If you are taking a shore excursion arranged by the cruiseline, the buses line up at the parking lot adjacent to the dock.

Good to Know?

Chile's Lake District is rainy to begin with, but the summer season, when the cruise ships call, is also the wettest season in the area. The city itself, because of the way it's situated in the mountain crevasse, is also very windy. No matter: Just take appropriate clothing, be prepared and you're bound to enjoy your day.

If your chosen activity gets rained out, there are plenty of shopping and lunching opportunities in Puerto Montt and in the lakeside resort town of Puerto Varas, just a 15-minute taxi drive away, or the seaside town of Playa Pelluco, also very close.

Getting Around?

If you're visiting the town or going to the German village Frutillar or lakeside city of Puerto Varas, you can walk or grab a cab for a reasonable price. The best way to see the area on your own, however, is to rent a car for the day; all of the major U.S. rental firms (Hertz, Budget, Avis) have an office in downtown Puerto Montt and the rates are quite reasonable. The Pan American Highway and the roads to most of the main tourist attractions are well maintained (they're privately owned, so tolls are the norm. Plan on paying about $10 or $12 for a full day of sightseeing).

There are two types of taxis, "colectivos" and private. A "colectivo" works like a mini-bus, following a fixed route and picking up passengers -- up to four -- along the way. They are identified by their colors, either solid yellow or solid black, are extremely inexpensive and indicate their general route via a rooftop sign. A regular taxi is yellow with a black roof, will take you where you want to go and works on a meter (also quite inexpensive).

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

The currency is the Chilean peso (one U.S. dollar is equal to about 650 pesos). Most banks will not exchange money, and no banks in Chile will deal with traveler's checks. There are several ATM's throughout the city (including just outside the banks), and several casas de cambio (exchange centers) where, for a small fee, you can exchange U.S. dollars for pesos and cash traveler's checks. The artisans in the booths along Feria Artesanal Angelmo, near the tender dock, accept U.S. dollars, although the items are priced in pesos (i.e. if an item is priced at 1,100 pesos, you can pay $2 USD.)

Language?

Spanish, mostly, but there are a great many people in the region who also speak "Mapudungun," the language of the indigenous Mapuchu peoples, clusters of which are found throughout the Lake District. Tour operators, the occasional banker and hotel front desk personnel might speak English, but it's a rare occurrence.

Where You're Docked?

Puerto Montt is a tender port for larger cruise ships, but the ride isn't that long. The "tenders" are large, locally run, flat-bottomed boats that take you through an inlet to a small dock near the Puerto Angelmo fishing cove.

Smaller cruise ships can dock at the Public Dock inside Canal Tenglo.

Editor's note: If you look at a map of Chile, Puerto Montt almost looks as though it's landlocked in the middle of the country. Well, not quite, but it isn't on the Pacific Ocean, either. The city itself is at the edge of a huge estuary, Seno de Reloncavi, with a very narrow mouth to the ocean.


Awards and Recognition

Cruise Critic Cruisers’ Choice Destination

  • 2017 Top-Rated South America & Antarctica Destinations

Puerto Montt Cruise Reviews

Norwegian Star
Psomohano
Sail Date: Dec 2019
Good tour including petrohue falls national park, Puerto varas, frutillar and puerto Ays. Very good guides.... Read More
2freespirits
Sail Date: Nov 2018
In Puerto Montt we were greeted by intense rain, so much so that the roof of the Crow’s Nest developed a small leak, and crew needed to place towels on some seats to absorb the drips. We never saw rain of such... Read More
Star Princess
ozitripper
Sail Date: Feb 2019
Enjoyed the boat trip on the lake and the scenery in general. Had a nice lunch and some free time in Puerto Varas... Read More
bevdas
Sail Date: Mar 2019
We took the local bus to Puerto Varas and wandered around (and ran into people who took shore excursions). Total cost to us was about $5.50 US .... Read More
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