The Lonely Planet were being kind when they called Puerto Montt a ‘grimy transport hub’. It’s a hole of a place and even worse than Mansfield
It should be nice. There’s a giant volcano towering over it, salmon galore and it’s the centre of the lake district but it’s truly horrible. Transient workers look for work in the salmon industry or cement factories and hotels charge by the hour.
If you have the misfortune to find yourself there, stay in the bus station with your rucksack to the wall and pray your bus connection arrives on time.
I left the bus station for a few hours to have a look round. You quite literally have to step over grubby overalled men sleeping in the street with their flies open to cross the street. As you do, men yell at you out of car windows and rubbish blows into your face. It’s got a leery, unpleasant vibe to it as if you’d somehow accidently walked into a mining town roadside bar dressed as a stripper.
Meanwhile, less than 20 minutes down the road is the divine Puerto Varas with friendly folk, lakeside views and good food. You would have to pay me a million pounds to live in Puerto Montt. Per hour.