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Getting There

By Plane -- Puerto Montt's El Tepual airport (PMC; tel. 65/294159) is currently served by airlines LANExpress (tel. 600/526-2000; www.lan.com) and Sky (tel. 600/600-2828; www.skyairline.cl), with multiple daily flights to Santiago, Punta Arenas, Balmaceda (Coyhaique), and Temuco. An ETM bus from the airport to the city's downtown bus terminal costs $3 (£2); a taxi costs $13 (£8.70). Agree on the fare before getting into the cab. There are several car-rental agencies at the airport, including Hertz, Alamo, and Avis.

By Bus -- Puerto Montt's main terminal is at the waterfront (Diego Portales s/n), a 10- to 15-minute walk from downtown, or there are taxis to transport you. Regular bus service to and from most major cities, including Santiago, is provided by Cruz del Sur (tel. 65/254731), Tur Bus (tel. 65/253329), Tas Choapa (tel. 65/254828), and Bus Norte (tel. 65/252783).

By Car -- The Pan-American Highway ends at Puerto Montt.

Getting Around

Puerto Montt is divided into poblaciones, or neighborhoods, scattered around the city's hilltops. From the city center to the east is the Pelluco district, where many of the city's good restaurants can be found, and to the west is the district Angelmó, with the city's fish market, port departures, and Feria Artesanal with great shopping; the two districts are connected by the coastal road Diego Portales. The city center is laid out on a grid system that abuts a steep cliff.

By Foot -- The city center is small enough to be seen on foot. The crafts market and fish market in Angelmó are a 20-minute walk from the center, but you can take a cab. You'll need a taxi to reach the Pelluco district.

By Bus -- Buses Cruz del Sur (tel. 65/254731) leaves for Puerto Varas 19 times daily from the bus terminal, and so do the independent white shuttle buses to the left of the coaches; look for the sign in the window that says PUERTO VARAS. Cruz del Sur also serves Chiloé, including Castro and Ancud, with 25 trips per day. TransChiloé (tel. 65/254934) goes to Chiloé seven times per day from the terminal.

By Car -- This is one of those places where renting a car can come in handy, given the ample sightseeing opportunities and pleasant drives in the area. Local car-rental agencies in Puerto Montt include Hertz, Calle de Servicio 1031 (tel. 65/313445; www.hertz.com); Avis, Benavente 670 (tel./fax 65/258199; www.avischile.cl); and Econo Rent, Guillermo Gallardo 450 (tel. 65/254888; econorent@telsur.cl). Hertz and Avis rent cars to travelers who wish to drive south along the Carretera Austral, and they can arrange to have the vehicle dropped off in Coyhaique. Some companies insist that you rent a 4*4 for the Carretera Austral (the importance of this during the summer is debatable; during the winter it could help if the road turns muddy). Calling the local office of each company is usually the best way to get bargain rates; but, in general, the rental drop-off fee is $500 (£333), in addition to the daily cost.

Visitor Information

The municipality has a small tourist office in the plaza at the corner of Antonio Varas and San Martín (tel. 65/261823); it's open December through March daily from 9am to 9pm, and April through November Monday through Friday from 9am to 1pm and 2:30 to 7pm, Saturday and Sunday from 9am to 1pm. There is a largely unhelpful tourism kiosk in the main plaza (tel. 65/261808; www.puertomonttchile.cl).

Special Events -- During the second week of February, the city holds its annual Semana Puertomontina (www.puertomonttchile.cl), with weeklong festivities that culminate in a fireworks display over the bay celebrating Puerto Montt's anniversary. Throughout the summer, arts and crafts exhibits are held in public plazas.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.