If you are heading to Chiloe Island in southern Chile, after crossing the Chacao Channel from Puerto Montt in the company of sea lions and Chilean dolphins, a narrow country road will lead you to Ancud, a city situated on the northern coast of Chiloé‘s larger island.
The bus from Puerto Montt that crosses over to Chiloe by a ferry is economical, but crossing by motorcycle and car is pricey. Motorcycle is 7,000 one way. The ferries run 24 hours now, albeit infrequently and usually only leave when full.
Bus companies are: Cruz del Sur ($4000) & Queilen.
What to do
Museo Regional de Ancud: The best way to learn about Ancud’s history is to visit the this museum, which contains objects used by the Huilliche and Chono peoples and photographs from the 1960 earthquake that nearly demolished the city. The museum is also a good place to see local arts and crafts and learn about the local legends that have lent an air of mystery to the island, which is said to have been inhabited by witches and sorcerers in ancient times. Entrance fee $600 CLP (~1 USD).
Fort San Antonio, (Baterías of Chaicura and Balcura) built by the Spaniards at the beginning of the 19th century, including beautiful views of the port.
Like everyone else in Chiloé, the people of Ancud live off the sea, which makes the island the best place to enjoy Chile’s extraordinary seafood. Memorable dishes include pulmay and fresh oysters. Some restaurants prepare dishes using ingredients from their own seafood beds.
You have not really experienced Chiloé until you have tasted curanto with the local residents, an easygoing and welcoming people. Curanto is a gastronomic and ancestral ritual in which meat and seafood are cooked over hot stones that are buried in a hole in the ground. The meal is accompanied by milcao (potato pancakes) and chapaleles(dumplings), both made with local potatoes.
To savor some nature, see hundreds of birds, go trekking and kayaking, and enjoy solitary beaches, do not miss out on the northern area of the Chiloe National Park, 38 km away from Ancud. Chepu is the sector and the place, with navigation services to access the trail.
In Puñihuil, 27 km south of Ancud, there are navigable tours that set sail from September to March to see how the Humboldt and Magallanes penguins nest and shelter in the nearby islets.
To access the Corona Lighthouse, considered among the three oldest in Chile, you must follow the Lacuy Peninsula route; its Site Museum is open year round.
The next stop is Quemchi, which is another 57 km south. This quiet, scenic town has a beautiful shoreline and is home to the former home of Francisco Coloane, a renowned Chilean author who set many of his novels in Chile’s southern waters.
Find more information at the chilean turism website