Things to Do on Chiloe Island
The population of Chiloe, a fusion of indigenous Mapuche, colonial Spanish and German immigrants from the 1850's, has led to a curious combination of foods, folkloric tales and music. As an island cut off from the rest of Chile, life on here is still very traditional and slow paced, the food is home-grown, the fish freshly caught and there is always time for a friendly wave to the passers-by.
Chiloe Island offers some great day hikes, bird watching and also more vehicle based excursions for those not looking for anything too strenuous. As a first stop on a longer itinerary, Chiloe offers a great introduction into Chile and is a great place to wind down and get into the holiday mode.
With your own wheels and unique, charming hotels pre-booked, this options gives you the total freedom to explore the villages and landscapes that you'd like. Visit the colourful 'palafitos' - houses on stilts, of Castro, the wooden Jesuit churches on the east coast, drive through rolling hills out to the crashing pacific coast. We recommend a visit of 3 night with 1 night spent in the north of the island and 2 nights in or near the city of Castro.
For other self drive ideas in and around the Chilean Lake District, see our Road Trips page.
Get off the beaten track for a few days hiking the rugged pacific coast, sea kayak in the peaceful water channels and visit penguin colonies. Return each evening to a cosy wooden cabin by the beach for a home cooked meal and the noise of the waves lapping against the shore as you drop off to sleep - simply idyllic.
Chiloe's vast coastlands, wetlands, river systems, forests and fields offer some of the richest bird watching in Southern Chile; even from the 30 minute ferry journey to access the island, you can spot dolphins, penguins and groups of playful sea lions. Spend 2 days with an specialised birding guide visiting different areas of the island, be intrigued by the native flora and do some gentle hiking.
Explore the fjords and discover the variety of wildlife found in Chiloe. These wildlife discovery cruises offer you the chance to see dolphins, sea-birds and even catch a glimpse of Blue Whales. You may also have the opportunity to explore even more of the wonderful island with possibilities for hiking & kayaking.
Explore from a Luxury Lodge in Chiloe
Set high up on a hill, surrounded by rolling countryside, the hotel looks out onto the one of the many channels that surround the Chiloe Archipelago. The hotel itself is an extremely impressive wooden building, perfectly designed to create comfortable spaces inside, create the most of the incredible view, yet be totally unobtrusive to the landscape. The hotel offers a variety of excursions from horse riding to vehicle based exploration but the gem of the hotel is the 'Wiliche', the wooden boat, that allows its passengers to go to villages where very few other visitors have the privilege of visiting.
How to Get There
Chiloe Island is accessible by air from the airports of Puerto Montt (best for the north of the island) and Castro (best for the south of the island). Both airports have regular flights from Santiago, and Puerto Montt has regular flights to/from Punta Arenas the access point to Torres del Paine.
There is currently no bridge that connects Chiloe with the mainland (it is in construction), but there are 2 companies running regular car ferries between the villages or Pargua (on the mainland) and Chacao (on Chiloe). The ferry does not need to be pre-booked but be warned, the queue during the summer months of January and February can at times take up to 2 hours. The drive from Puerto Montt to Ancud, including the 30 minute ferry trip takes 2.5 - 3 hours.
Landmarks near Chiloe Island
Patagonia is a vast and varied region, with a wealth of things to see and do, a range of places to stay and a limited transport network.
Why not let us do the hard work for you? Our team of experts will work with you to design a 2–3 week adventure to your exact requirements, from hiking and horse-riding trips to wine-tasting tours and undiscovered lodges.
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