Puerto Bories Historical Museum

Wayne Bernhardson


Long before the city of Puerto Natales became a gateway for Patagonia vacations and a ferry terminal for Chile’s northern fjords, tiny Puerto Bories was one of the region’s economic powerhouses. A century ago, when the granite needles of Torres del Paine symbolized little more than the presence of pasture to graze sheep, Bories became the processing point for wool and lamb exports that helped provide prosperity for southernmost Argentina and Chile.

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Built by the Sociedad Explotadora de Tierra del Fuego, Patagonia’s most powerful 20th-century institution, Bories was a post-Victorian industrial architecture landmark that became a national historical monument a few years after it closed operations in 1993. After weathering in the wind and rain for another decade-plus, it’s now reopened as part of a luxury hotel that’s preserved the original installations as a museum open to the public.

Source: Wikipedia

Approached through the former woolshed, present-day Bories has recycled parts of the historic structure into a spacious bar and restaurant while preserving the boiler room, engine room and even a steam locomotive in their original configuration – even though they’re no longer operative. Hotel guests, in fact, pass through those rooms en route to their sleeping quarters.

Nature and its landscapes may be the main reason for taking a Patagonia vacation, but detours to historic sites like Puerto Bories can enrich the experience.

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About the author: Wayne Bernhardson

Having spent more than 30 years living and traveling in southernmost South America, Wayne Bernhardson is the author of Moon Handbooks to Argentina, Buenos Aires, Chile and Patagonia, and the National Geographic Traveler guide to Argentina. He is also on the editorial advisory board of Patagon Journal, is the South America editor for the website Bindu Trips. Wayne has a PhD in Geography from the University of California at Berkeley, and has done research in Peru, Chile, Argentina and the Falkland Islands. He resides in Oakland, California, but spends four to five months every year in southern South America, where he owns an apartment in Buenos Aires’s Palermo neighborhood. He can be contacted through www.southernconetravel.com.

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