We offer all-inclusive, or part inclusive itineraries for Chiloe. We can arrange your itinerary as a standalone or form part of your larger travel itinerary to Chile (Argentine and or Peru). Chiloe can be a very long full day tour from Puerto Varas, but, ideally, to do it justice you should consider a minimum of 4 nights here.
Chiloe is steeped in history. Charles Darwin spent some time here exploring and discovering new species of flora and fauna previously unknown to Western man when his ship, The Beagle, ventured this way in 1839. Today a Darwin research institute on the Island continues to study flora and fauna and there is the Chiloe National Park, a large area of forest bordering the Pacific, preserving the natural flora as it has always been.
The island of Chiloe is the largest island of the Chiloe Archipelago, located in the far south of Chile close to Puerto Montt (south west of Puerto Montt), with its northern tip, separated from the Chilean mainland by only a few kilometres, by the Chacao Strait. The sea separating the Island from mainland Chile on its eastern shore is divided into two sectors north and south. The northern sector is called the Golfo de Ancud , and the southern sector is called the Golfo de Corcovado. Like the rest of Chile, all along its western coast is the Pacific Ocean.
The island land mass covers 190km north to south and has an average width of 65km, covering 8,394km² (3,241sq mi). The eastern and northern sectors are very rural with a landscape very much like that of western England (think Cornwall and Devon), including small fishing villages with natural harbours that border the tidal inlets. There are a handful of coastal villages and towns on the eastern coast such as Quellon in the south east (from where ferries go to Chaiten on the mainland), Dalcahue and Chonchi. The main city, Castro, which is the capital, is located about half way down its eastern side, protected from the sea by islands and a peninsula, and the other town of significance is in the north called Ancud. The area north-west of Ancud is excellent from where to see a great diversity of marine fauna such as: dolphins, sea lions, sea otters, penguins and whales.
Life on the island is slow and there is still a lot of poverty. Consequently it is common to see Oxon-drawn carts laden with seaweed – harvested and then dried for export to Japan, and many simple, wooden houses built on stilts. Sea-weed cultivation is a viable business here as is fishing and shell fish cultivation. The way of life is also slow and somewhat “frozen” in time, especially in the rural parts.
From a visitors point of view the many wooden-tiled churches from the Jesuit era make for an interesting exploration into the period when the Jesuits made their mark and that, combined with an opportunity to unwind in a rural landscape by the sea, and the chance to sea marine life (tours to see penguins, sea lions and sea birds) combine for a relaxing experience.
To get to Chileno you need to either fly in to Castro from Santiago or Puerto Montt, or drive from mainland Chile after arrival to Puerto Montt.
Access to the island is by short ferry crossing from Pargua on the mainland (57km south-west from Puerto Montt) to Chacao on Chiloe, and takes about one hour often accompanied by dolphins and sea otters swimming by.
In the north of the island is Ancud. From Ancud if you get to Puñihuil (approx 1hr drive west from Ancud) you can board one of many fisherman´s long fibreglass boats and be taken around the islands to see marine life such as penguins, marine birds, seals and maybe dolphins.
From Castro, the main city, located about half way down the island on the eastern side, you can venture out to see numerous Jesuit-built churches as well as some of the smaller islands that offer opportunities to eat oysters, have nice beaches and rural countryside.
Always have a wind-breaker and water-proof jacket with you. A sweater, normal shirts, jeans and or trekking pants, and outdoor shoes for walking. Hat (that won´t blow off easily!).
Our selection of hotels includes many of the most popular accomodations in South America. You’ll find the perfect hotel in your budget.
Chiloe Island is a rural island, picturesque in parts, populated with small fishing villages, inlets, creeks and a few rivers. The tidal movement here is very evident. When the tide is out the coast lines expands to reveal mud flats where local bird life feeds on the abundant availability of food.