From Puerto Varas to Punta Arenas it's a distance of 1,340 miles (2,155 km). Booking a flight is the fastest way to travel, and it only takes two hours. The trip can also be done by driving or taking the bus—the latter being the more comfortable option—while a car rental allows you to see more of the country. By driving a car, you can make stops along the way in Puerto Montt, spend a few hours on Chiloé Island, and hike in Coyhaique. Another route lets you experience El Bolsón.
If you're driving, expect around 26-30 hours behind the wheel, and a total time of two-three days, depending on how many stops you make, and how long the stops are. If choosing the bus, it will take you from Puerto Varas to Puerto Montt in only 15 minutes, and after that, it is a direct trip to Punta Arenas in about 28-32 hours.
Duration: 4 hours
Traveling by plane from Puerto Varas to Punta Arenas is the fastest choice. You will fly directly from Puerto Montt Airport (PMC) to Punta Arenas Airport (PUQ), and land just 10 minutes from the city center. To reach the airport, there are frequent bus shuttles available, and when you land, you can book a private transfer in advance, take the bus, or possibly grab a taxi. The whole journey—including transfers to and from the airport—will take approximately 4 hours.
Duration: 2-3 days
To drive from Puerto Varas to Punta Arenas, you have two route options. Both will take you through Argentina, but with different sights along the way—one takes about 26 hours, and the other totals 32 hours. However, the total time of the trip is between two and three days, which includes stops, sightseeing, and sleep.
Begin your driving on Route RN3, and drive for about 10 minutes, until you get to Puerto Montt. Stop here for a couple of hours of sightseeing. Continue on the same route, and head to Chiloé Island, or skip the detour and keep driving toward Coyhaique. Continue driving for about 6 hours, and you'll have the option to continue on Route 40 or take Route 43 to Perito Moreno. You can then continue on the same road to pass through Torres del Paine and Puerto Natales, and finish in Punta Arenas. Or, you can get back on Route 43 toward Fitz Roy. All of the stops mentioned are worthy of a visit, so choose your route depending on your personal preferences. (This route is the longer of the two.)
Begin your drive on NR40 and head to El Bolsón. Stop here for a few hours, and take a swim in the crystal-clear water, hike, and get some food. Continue driving for about 7 hours to Coleta Olivia, and spend the night here. Continue the next day, and drive for about 9 hours until you get to Punta Arenas. Along the way, you can also make a stop in Fitz Roy—a major attraction with beautiful scenery.
Duration: 2-3 days
If you choose the bus, you will first make a stop in Puerto Montt, and then get on another bus that will take you straight to Punta Arenas. There are a few stops along the way to stretch your legs, grab some food, and get some fresh air. However, there is not much room on this trek for sightseeing.