Towns of Chiloe
Chiloe is the land of magic and legend, a group of mysterious islands with a unique identity. The majesty of its landscapes, the hospitality of its people and the beauty of its cities and towns make this destination a must-visit for any backpacker.Chiloe has a great number of localities and towns both in the main island and the smaller islands as well, and a myriad of corners worth visiting. Here we present a selection of these locations, combining emblematic places with others that are smaller and less known.Share this destination:
Mobilization and AccommodationTo get to the main island of Chiloe you have to cross the Chacao canal by ferry from the locality of Pargua in the continental side. The crossing takes 35 min and you can take a ferry every 15 minutes, starting from 7:00 am. The ferry ticket's cost will depend on the type of vehicle, or lack thereof. Cars have a cost of CLP 11.400, bikes CLP 1.900 and pedestrians CLP 600. You can check prices here.Once on the island there is public transportation that can get you to the different towns and cities. Prices can vary depending on the distance you will travel. Hitchhiking and traveling by car are both valid options as well.Regarding accommodation, there is a wide range of accommodation offer in Chiloe (hotels, hostels and campsites). Negotiating with the local people to camp in their yards is also a possibility.AncudAfter crossing the canal, the trip starts heading to Ancud. This is a modern and big city (compared to the rest of towns in the island), second in importance behind the capital, Castro. It combines typical local architecture with modern structures. Like the rest of the island, this city lives from the sea and thus offering a wide variety of local seafood cuisine, like the curanto and pulmay. Many of the inhabitants of this city are direct descendants of the first inhabitants of this area, gentle and kind people who are more than happy to share with travelers.The city has accommodation and camping services. It also has a wide range of attractions to visit in the outskirts of the city. Viewpoints, lonely beaches and old Spanish forts stand out.
QuemchiThe next stop is Quemchi, located in the northern coast of Chiloe. Here starts the route through magical coves and small fishing towns along the coast. This is a beautiful and picturesque town, which is standing on a hill. You can enjoy spectacular panoramic views of the surrounding nature and walk along the coast road and the local knitting factory. Close to Quemchi it is also possible to visit the small and beautiful island of Aucar. This island, that has no more than a graveyard and a chapel, is accessible thanks to a beautiful 500 mt wooden bridge.
TenaunTenaun is one of the most beautiful towns on the island, which still has its typical wooden houses from the XIX century. It is known as the "town where houses sail", since many of the houses in the town where carried there by land and even by sea in the traditional "mingas". The church of Tenaun, named Nuestra Señora del Patrocinio, is part of the group of churches designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites since 2000.San JuanAfter visiting Tenaun, the next stop is San Juan, a small town surrounded by hills, sea and the river of the same name. The church of San Juan is a UNESCO World Heritage Site as well, and the panoramic view of the church as you arrive to the town is amazing.
DalcahueFew kilometers away from San Juan you find Dalcahue. This is a homely and beautiful city, where the patrimonial church Nuestra Señora de los Dolores and the local craft fair stand out. The aforementioned fair is open each Sunday, where you can find all sorts of typical crafts of Chiloe, like woolen caps and vests, carved wood, basketry local sweets and typical cuisine dishes. The city has a wide range of accommodation options, like hostels and campsites.This city is the base point to go to the Quinchao island. The crossing takes 5 min, and on the island you can visit several beautiful and picturesque towns and localities, like Cucao de Velez and Achao.CastroAfter visiting Dalcahue, the trip continues to Castro, one of the most emblematic cities in Chile. Castro is the capital of the Chiloe province and is the third oldest city in the country with a continued existence. It is located in the center of the island, surrounded by hills and an exuberant vegetation, and is usually considered the starting point to explore the rest of the island. It is in this city where you can find the iconic "palafitos" which seem to float over the sea, the classic wooden houses of Chiloe and the beautiful church San Francisco de Castro, the biggest of the patrimonial churches.In Castro you will find a wide offer of hostels and campsites, gastronomy, craft fairs and cultural events, like the Festival Costumbrista de Castro festival celebrated in February.
ChonchiThis locality is located 19 km south of Castro, and is known as the "three floor city" since it is perched up on a hill of 3 terraces. Here you can taste the local "roscas chonchinas" and the "licor de oro", plus enjoying the beautiful scenery of the Chonchi bay. This locality is also the entrance doorway to the Lemuy island, one of the most beautiful islands in the Chiloe archipelago.Lemuy IslandThe Lemuy island is one of Chiloe's treasures. Spectacular landscapes and scenery, small and picturesque towns, fine-sand beaches and beautiful wooden churches are some of the elements characteristic to this place. The towns of Ichuac, Puqueldon, Aldachilco and Detif (among others) are located on this island, localities of different shapes and forms with a rich tradition. The peculiar shape of the island allows for trips in which you will find yourself looking at the sea at both sides of the road, offering unique sights. To get to the island you have to take a shuttle in Puerto Huichas, 5 km south of Chonchi. It has a cost of CLP 2.000 for vehicles and it is free if you are travelling on foot. The crossing takes 10 min. Although it is ideal to explore the island with a vehicle (you can do it in a 1 day circuit), it is also possible to hitchhike or take local public transportation. You can find a few hostels in the island as well.
CucaoThis little rural locality of no more than 450 inhabitants, is one of the favorite destinations for backpackers. It is located in the western side of the lake of the same name, boasting of incredibly beautiful and green surroundings. The local people are dedicated to fishing, agriculture and animal husbandry. The bay of Cucao stands out for its beautiful, large and calm white sand beaches. This is without a doubt one of the most exquisite corners of the main island. This locality has a good offer of campsites and cabins, and it is very frequented by backpackers who gather to enjoy nature and, why not, a good "melon con vino" (melon with wine) under the magical starry nights of Chiloe.