Tuesday morning we left Quellón at the south end of Chiloé and headed north. We stopped in Castro, the Capital of Chiloé. Right on the central square there is a beautiful, big yellow and lavender church, Iglesias de San Francisco. I think the all wood interior is gorgeous.
Just north of Castro we headed east and then took a short car ferry ride to the island of Quinchao, one of the 41 islands in the Chiloé archipelago. We are staying just out side of the town of Achao. In town we walked around a bit and visited the wooden Iglesias de Santa Maria de Loreto. It was built on 1730 and is the oldest house of worship in Chili. I especially liked the floors that still have the axe marks from when they were cut.
The hotel where we stayed is on a hill overlooking the harbor. The building appeared to be relatively new. It had pretty rough wood paneling throughout. Our room had a nice big window and expansive view. The building wasn’t heated but our room was warm because we had an electric heater. The whole place was a bit strange. We were the only people in the building besides the owner, there was no internet, and the bottom sheet on the squeaky bed had no elastic so it only covered the mattress when we first went to bed!
Today we hiked in Parque Tantauco. We were lucky that the weather was much better than yesterday. It rained some but there was also a bit of sunshine. We drove for more than an hour on a bumpy dirt road to get to the park. Below is a picture of the bridge right before the park entrance. It had a five ton limit!
We hiked about two miles on the Rio Yaldad Trail and then walked on the dirt road back to the park headquarters. The trail was beautiful and extremely well built, signed and maintained.
There were also uneven, steep and muddy parts.
The first part of the trail which coincided with the Darwin Nature Trail had some great animal information.
We also saw a live Darwin Fox right outside the visitor center.
Today was rainy, wet, and cool but we still saw a lot of Chiloé. This morning we visited the San Miguel de Agüi Fort. It was originally built in 1779 and was the last outpost of the Spanish in the Americas until it became a part of Chili in 1826.
The fort is directly across the harbor from where we stayed last night but because of the fog and rain we couldn’t see across the harbor.
Next we went out to the Corona lighthouse.
For lunch we stopped overlooking the shore and ate our leftover fish from last night. The seagulls were picking up shells and flying up to drop them over and over until the shell opened so the gulls could eat what was inside.
In the afternoon we drove 100 miles south to Quellón where we are tonight. Quellón is the southern terminus of the Pam American Highway and is close to the southern end of Chiloé Island.
We arrived in Puerto Montt first thing in the morning on the ferry Evangelista. We had to wait for the lower deck of trucks to be unloaded but eventually we got off the ferry and picked up our rental car. We headed for Chiloé Island. Getting to the island requires taking a 30 minute car ferry. We plan to stay on Chiloé and explore for four nights.
On Chiloé our first stop was Ostras (oysters) Caulin (highly recommended by Fodor’s). The oysters come from the coast in front of the restaurant.
Our hotel is in Ancud, a town on the north end of the island. We took it easy for the rest of the afternoon and ate dinner near the center of town at a fabulous place called Club Social Baquedano. We had locally made beer with our seafood. Duke had squid and I had fish with four different sauces. It was a total surprise when mine arrived and it had 15 fish fillets. We couldn’t finish them all but oh my were they good! The platter wouldn’t fit on the table so they brought a stool to set it on.
The atmosphere was great too. The wood stove in the picture below warmed us and there were children playing with toys in a play area in the back. The building originally was the Ancud social club.
We boarded the ferry Evangelista at 9 pm Tuesday October 29. The ferry’s primarily purpose is to carry trucks and cargo through the Chilean Fjords 700 miles. We took the ferry from Puerto Natales to Puerto Mont. the ferry also carries passengers. There were twenty eight passengers total. Seven young backpackers, four older couples like us, ten truck drivers and a woman with two boys who got off half way through the journey in Port Eden. Bxov
Accommodations and food were very basic but it was a fun trip.
Navimag the ferry company describes the journey as “for people who are not looking for luxuries, but rather an authentic journey for slow travelers and backpackers who want to enjoy the romanticism of traveling in a vessel from the 70’s”. That is a good description of the experience. Yoga classes were offered and we had a couple of lectures about what we were seeing.
There was a movie night.
A classical guitar concert
A class on the culture and drinking of maté.
The scenery was spectacular.
We saw a shipwreck from the sixties.
And stopped briefly at the only settlement an the route, Port Eden. Port Eden has a population of about 170 and no road access.
This morning Saturday November 2 we arrived in Puerto Montt.
On Tuesday we checked in mid afternoon for the ferry we were taking north. We couldn’t actually board until 9 pm so we walked back through town to our hotel.
We visited the excellent Puerto Natales historical museum. They had both English and Spanish explanations of the displays. The displays were about all the people who lived in the area from the earliest to the present.
We stopped in at a yarn store.
We hung out and ate dinner at our hotel before boarding the ferry that we would be on for the next four nights.