What excursions does Tierra Chiloe offer?

Illustrated Guide

1. Duhatao to Chepu hike

The ‘Sendero de Chile’ connects the entire length of Chile along scenic trekking trails. This particular excursion will take in a small section of the wider trail, beginning at the beautiful Bay of Duhatao. From here, we’ll walk along the twisting coastal cliffs as they merge into lush forest, taking time to appreciate the fantastic views from lookout points, before heading deep into the woods.

Birdlife abounds amongst the ancient trees – hummingbirds dash between foliage amid the call of chucao, rayaditos and other native songbirds.

The trekking will be steady, with any strenuous effort or ascents being rewarded with stunning views of the surrounding woodland and out to Río Chepu in the distance. The trail descends gradually to the islet of Aulen, where we’ll take a relaxing stroll along the beach towards our awaiting boat. This will take us for an exhilarating and well-earned boat ride upstream.

Towards the end of this excursion, we’ll be rewarded with views of the sunken forest (bosque hundido), from the boat itself.

Full-day | Difficulty: Medium-Difficult

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On the trek from Duahatao to Chepu, Chiloé

On the trek from Duahatao to Chepu

2. Chepu: Hidden Corners hike

We’ll begin this excursion by driving to Chepu and sailing downstream to the mouth of the river. This is where our trek starts, south of the river, passing through native and coastal forests that have been beaten down by the wind. Arriving at Guabil Beach, we will take in a landscape characteristic of the western coast of Chiloé – green cliffs that fall abruptly into the sea.

A little farther along we’ll come across an old, grounded ship. Returning to the mouth of the river, we will continue sailing to the ‘Pier of Light’ (Muelle de la Luz). Legend has it that from this place at night, it is common to see lights in the sky, on the horizon and on the ocean. Sometimes the lights of a wizard, sometimes those of a Caleuche and other times light from other planets.

We will return to our boat and start our return trip upriver among gorgeous submerged forests.

Full-day | Difficulty: Easy

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Coastline of western Chiloé, Chile

Coastline of western Chiloé

3. Ahuenco Park hike

We’ll begin our journey to Ahuenco Park by driving to Chepu, the small town on the shore of the island’s largest river.

On the way, we’ll cross Río Chepu by boat, passing through a sunken forest to the pier, where we’ll start our trek through native forests with some great lookout points over the Pacific Ocean.

During the summer months (October to April), we’ll have the opportunity to see the island’s two main penguin species, Magallanes and Humbold, when they come here to raise their chicks.

We’ll return on the same path and cross back over the river on the way back to the hotel.

Full-day | Difficulty: Medium-Difficult

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Sunken forest on Río Chepu, Chiloé, Chile

Sunken forest on Río Chepu

4. Route of the churches tour

This fascinating tour to Quemchi on Aucar Island and three local churches can be undertaken either on foot or by bicycle. It’s the perfect chance to explore the north of the island on two wheels!

After driving from the hotel to Quemchi, the first stop on this cultural excursion is the museum and former home of Francisco Coloane, one of Chile’s best writers who is well-known for his seafaring stories, inspired by the landscapes and myths of Chiloé.

We’ll then head to Aucar Island, which Coloane himself named the ‘Island of Sailors’ Spirits’. We’ll cross a long bridge to reach the chapel and cemetery here, before starting on the meandering path which leads around Aucar Island. This allows us time to soak up the scenery here, which is bursting with fascinating flora.

We’ll finish this tour by visiting three churches, all designated UNESCO World Heritage Sites: Colo, Tenaún and Dalcahue. These centuries-old buildings are all fantastic examples of the region’s unique architectural style, blending Jesuit and ancient Chilote techniques to create a unique style: the ‘Chilote school of architecture’.

It’s here that our cultural excursion into northern Chiloé concludes, before heading back to the hotel in our support vehicle.

Full-day | Difficulty: Medium-Difficult

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On the Route of the Churches, Chiloé, Chile

On the Route of the Churches

5. Castro tour

The beating heart of Chiloé lies in the traditional stilt houses, grand churches and authentic craft markets of Castro. This city, a 16th-century former stronghold of Chilean governance, was used as an entry point to capture the island as an extension of the mainland. The history and cultural influences surrounding Castro make for an adventure of discovery. It begins with a visit to the colourful Mercado Yumbel. This vibrant market is awash with local produce, freshly caught fish and rustically woven wares – a place for islanders as well as visitors.

From Yumbel, head to the iconic stilt houses in an area protected by the curve of the coastline – it’s a great photo opportunity. The streets from the bay lead to the central church of San Francisco, a UNESCO World Heritage site. The excursion ends with time in the shipyards and the carpentry school, both of which are an important part of the city’s economy and cultural heritage.

Half-day | Difficulty: Easy

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Stilt houses in Castro, Chiloé, Chile

Stilt houses in Castro

6. Self-guided biking

A self-guided biking excursion is the perfect way to get out, stretch your legs and familiarise yourself with the land that lies around the hotel.

Depending on your particular interests, physical ability and local weather conditions, our guides can offer tailor-made recommendations for your biking adventures in Chiloé. There are numerous trails to choose from – everything from easy cycles to challenging off-road routes.

Rides begin from the hotel and generally head towards the village of San Jose. Here, you can explore local life and stop for a well-earned break, having traversed woodland, open fields and coastal paths along the way and soaking up the mountain and sea views as you go.

Half-day | Difficulty: Medium-Difficult

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Biking from Tierra Chiloé, Chile

Biking from Tierra Chiloé

7. Pullao Marsh birdwatching

The Humedales Orientales de Chiloé, or ‘Eastern Wetlands of Chiloé’, are a vital ecosystem and a welcome resting place for thousands of migrating shorebirds each year.

Expanding across a total area of 30,000km², these marshy plains are an important conservational site and highlight some of Chile’s rich biodiversity and changeable geography.

Though the exact number and variety species varies depending on the time of year and weather conditions, regular residents include no less than 27% of the world’s entire Hudsonian Godwit population, families of Chilean flamingos, cormorants and large numbers of both coastal ducks and gulls.

During this excursion into some of the more accessible sections of wetland, our local guide will be on hand to point out wildlife and explain more about the local seaweed collectors, who you may see at low tide.

You can also enjoy a similar experience on the water by kayak, or visit nearby salmon and mussel farms, depending on your interests and preferences.

Half-day | Difficulty: Easy

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Kayaking near Pullao Marsh, Chiloé, Chile

Kayaking near Pullao Marsh

Swoop Says background image

Iain says

Tierra Chiloé allows you to dig deeper in a different, more subtle part of Northern Patagonia. Famed for the wooden stilt churches, I love the variety of excursions you can actually do on this surprisingly diverse island. I kayaked with dolphins, hiked on the dramatic Pacific coast and enjoyed birdwatching at the end of each day. The island can truly offer something for everyone.

Iain Rylance Patagonia Sales Manager

8. Quinchao Island tour

We’ll start this excursion by boarding the ferry to Quinchao Island. Here we’ll visit a quiet village that once a year transforms, receiving hundreds of tourists for one of the archipelago’s most important religious festivals.

We’ll then head to Achao, the capital of the island, and walk along the bay to reach the church. Depending on the time of year, we could see the work of local artisans.

We’ll also have time to visit a local organic farm and learn about the work of the farmers on Chiloé and their famous crops of native potato and giant garlic.

Lunch will be somewhere in the area, after which we’ll head to Curaco de Vélez to see the traditional houses, more than 100 years old, with their distinctive colourful shingles. We’ll then travel by land to Dalcahue where artisans gather every weekend from the farthest islands to sell their weavings, baskets and woodwork at the traditional market.

Full-day | Difficulty: Easy

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Church on Quinchao Island, Chiloé

Church on Quinchao Island

9. Chelin tour

Set sail on our boat, the Williche, and journey southwest to the island of Chelin on this exciting full-day expedition.

We’ll dock at Chelin, a beautiful island resplendent with traditional houses lining old-fashioned streets. We’ll stumble upon the neoclassical World Heritage Site church which has been painstakingly preserved with the skills of local artisans and architects.

Afterwards, we’ll continue to the cemetery, a fascinating sight with tombstones imitating the village’s wooden shingled homes, making it appear like a miniature town of the dead.

Full-day | Difficulty: Easy

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Cemetery on Chelin island, Chiloé, Chile

Cemetery on Chelin island

10. Low-tide ancestral experience

At low tide, and dependent on the cycle of the moon, it’s possible to collect numerous types of seafood from this beach, especially clams.

This traditional activity is a fundamental part of the culture of families from Chiloé. Taking part can help us to connect to their experience of life in this unique part of the world.

Half-day | Difficulty: Easy

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Collecting clams at low tide, Chiloé, Chile

Collecting clams at low tide

11. Cole Cole Beach hike

We start this trek by driving to Cucao Beach on the west coast of Chiloé. We then follow the beach north for 12km. Along this route we’ll see locals diving for razor clams.

When we reach the end of the beach, in the Huentemo area, we’ll arrive at a stream. This is where we begin our 8km trek through forests and along cliffs with amazing views.

Finally, we’ll arrive at the beautiful, remote Cole Cole Beach with its white sand. This is the perfect place to enjoy our Tierra Hotel classic picnic.

We’ll return along the same route.

Full-day | Difficulty: Medium-Difficult

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Cole Cole Beach, Chiloé, Chile

Cole Cole Beach

12. Pier of Souls hike

The Muelle de las Almas, or ‘Pier of Souls’, is a wooden pier perched on the edge of the cliffs above the sea, leading nowhere. It’s the work of local artist and sculptor Chumono, Muelle de las Almas pays homage to the legend of the boatman Tempilcahue who takes the souls of the dead to their final resting place.

Trekking to the pier will start with a scenic drive along the shores of Lago Huillinco towards the beach at Cucao. Once at the beach, we can walk along the coastal trails that overlook the ocean, followed by hilly terrain in the open before reaching the cliffs. This is where the coastal trail overlooks the ocean. We’ll have a picnic lunch here and climb a nearby cliff to view the the resident sea lion colony below.

Full-day | Difficulty: Medium-Difficult

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Trekking to the Pier of Souls, Chiloé, Chile

Trekking to the Pier of Souls

13. Tricolor Beach hike

The name of this beach, on the Pacific Ocean, comes from the colours of the forest, sand and sea. On our trek we’ll cross dunes, pampas and native forests with fantastic views of the enormous cliffs.

We’ll pass through the Quilan Estate, an old gold-panning site that was also one of the principal sheep ranches in the area, but which was abandoned after the 1960 earthquake.

This trek will also connect us with the island’s indigenous ancestors who left evidence of their presence in the area.

Full-day | Difficulty: Medium-Difficult

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Trekking to Tricolor Beach, Chiloé, Chile

Trekking to Triclor Beach

14. Tantauco Park hike

This trek takes us through evergreen and cypress forests and past peat bogs from the last glacial era. We’ll walk to large lakes and rivers, distributed throughout a vast landscape which is home to a magnificent variety of flora and fauna.

Tantauco Park covers 118,000 hectares and is located in a remote and wild area in the south of Chiloé.

Full-day | Difficulty: Medium

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Trekking in Tantauco Park, Chiloé, Chile

Trekking in Tantauco Park