Monte Verde

Puerto Montt

A small child's footprint discovered in a marshy field 28km west of Puerto Montt turned the archaeological world on its head in 1975 – evidence of human settlement in the Americas suddenly predated the long-accepted Clovis paradigm by roughly 1000 years. Located on the banks of Chinchihuapi Creek, the site is now believed to date back some 18,500 years into the coldest moment of the Ice Age.

The site is under the direction of American anthropologist Tom Dillehay. Recent excavations in the open-air human settlement have uncovered ropes with knots, tool-shaped implements, mastodon bones – some 39 stone objects and 12 small bonfires with associated bones and vegetables in all. Infrastructure here is minimal, but there are instructive panels explaining the site as well as a 200m-long trail marked with instructive plaques showing where excavations have occurred. A museum project is in the works. You'll need your own wheels to visit.

Lonely Planet's must-see attractions

Nearby Puerto Montt attractions

1. Av Angelmó Street Stalls

12.53 MILES

Along busy, diesel-fume-laden Av Angelmó is a dizzying mix of streetside stalls (selling artifacts, smoked mussels, cochayuyo – an edible sea plant – and…

2. Catedral de Puerto Montt

13.7 MILES

Built entirely of alerce in 1856, this church, located on the Plaza de Armas, is the town's oldest building and one of its few attractive ones.

3. Casa del Arte Diego Rivera

13.78 MILES

A joint Mexican-Chilean project finished in 1964, the upstairs Sala Hardy Wistuba specializes in works by local artists, sculptors and photographers. Also…

4. Iglesia del Sagrado Corazón

16.93 MILES

The imposing and colorful 1915 Iglesia del Sagrado Corazón, overlooking downtown from a promontory, is based on the Marienkirche of the Black Forest,…

5. Teatro del Lago

26.87 MILES

This amazing 12-years-in-the-making, US$25-million world-class performing-arts center opened in 2010, and has single-handedly put Frutillar on the global…

6. Museo Histórico Alemán

27.24 MILES

The Museo Histórico Colonial Alemán was built with assistance from Germany and is managed by the Universidad Austral. It features nearly perfect…