The distance between Punta Arenas and Puerto Natales is 154 miles (247 km), and the best way to travel between the two cities is by car, either self-driving or with a private transfer. Driving via Route 9 takes about three hours without stops, though you'll likely want to take your time at the various scenic points along the way, making it a full-day trip. You can also take the bus, either from the airport or from Punta Arenas city, though this is a less convenient option.
By Rental Car or Private Transfer
Duration: 3 hours (up to 6 hours with stops)
Driving directly from Punta Arenas to Puerto Natales, you can expect a 3-hour journey. It's a little less if you're traveling directly from the airport, which usually takes about two and a half hours. Hiring a driver is a convenient option, both for ease of travel and local insights along the way.
If you're leaving from the airport and want to make a stop in Punta Arenas city, it's on the way—about 20 minutes down Route 9. This is a good opportunity to grab snacks for your journey, especially if you're going to do sightseeing and hiking along the way.
There are several stops you can make for sightseeing, such as the natural monument Cueva del Milodón. After completing the first half of your journey, about 75 miles (120 km), you'll reach Laguna Blanca (White Lagoon) where you can relax for a few hours, hike, or take a swim. And keep your eyes peeled for flamingos along the route. With stops, the whole journey can take up to 6 hours—it usually takes about two hours to walk through each place.
Duration: 3 hours
Buses take about three hours; it's best to book in advance and the two companies, Bus-Sur and Buses Fernandez, leave from either the Punta Arenas Airport or from downtown. Taking the bus is pretty straightforward—they usually make one stop at the airport if you're traveling from the city. Most tourist buses have wifi onboard, air conditioning, and are equipped with phone chargers.