Ancud and Dalcahue

The seawall of Ancud.


Following our penguin tour, we wandered the hilly streets of Ancud and relaxed in the town square. It was a few days from the summer festival and vacationers were starting to arrive. Making it even more attractive was the clear weather; Chiloe Island is known for having 200 days of rain each year and for being foggy much of the time. Once the summer is over, the tourists leave and the town settles back to the businesses of fishing and dairy farming.

The downtown the buildings are two and three stories, while the surrounding residences are mostly single family homes. The exterior paint of many buildings showed weathering from persistent rain and wind. But, the color choices were bright, probably to instil some life into the gloom of short, dark days.

As in Puerto Montt, the shopping was functional and not particularly geared to tourists. That is a good thing. There was an ice cream and sweets shop, but the bakery sold mostly bread. It was hard to find any goods made locally. As with the rest of the world, most clothing and hard goods came from China.

At 6 PM we caught our bus to Dalcahue, a community on the southeast coast of the island. We had a hotel reserved and we hoped to spend half of the next day exploring not only Dalcahue but a neighboring island a short ferry ride across the channel.

In rural Chile, the commercial busses also serve as school buses. We had students from Ancud High School standing in the aisle and being dropped off occasionally the entire 40 miles to Dalcahue. Each student was listening to his or her own mp3 player and managed to zone out for the long ride home.

At 8 PM, we arrived in Dalcahue and checked into the very cute Hotel Isla. We were told to hurry to the waterfront to find a restaurant before they closed. They recommended a food court built on stilts over the water, as we could pick from half a dozen kitchens. We ended up each getting a meal from a different kitchen and sharing items at a community table. I ordered a roast leg of vicuna, a species of small llama, and found that it tasted like lamb but slightly stronger. It was very good.

After dinner, we wandered the streets a bit and watched the sun set behind the hills. The fishing fleet was in from a day on the water and some of the fishermen were still putting away their nets. A small supermarket and a handful of other shops made up the retail shopping. The rest of the community consisted of a half dozen blocks of single family homes.

We found out that there were only two buses out of Dalcahue, one at 9 AM and one in the evening, so it was essential that we catch the morning bus to make it to Puerto Varas the next day. We would have to skip the island hopping we had planned.



Park Ancud

Backpackers at the town square in Ancud.


Main Street Ancud

Looking up the main shopping street of Ancud.

Dogs at a home in Ancud

Dogs and lace curtains. A sense of home.


Boats in Ancud

Fishing boats in Ancud.

Island brush

Most of the interior of Chiloe Island is unpopulated. An invasive juniper type of brush appears to quickly take over pastures that are not well tended. Wild bamboo, giant ferns and eucalyptus trees are prolific and seem to spread naturally.



Fisherman tending his net.

In Dalcahue, a fisherman tends his net.



Cultural Center Dalcahue

"Pelafitos" means houses on stilts. These are very much associated with Chiloe. The boat in this picture tells a story in paint.


Sunset in Dalcahue

Sunset in Dalcahue.


Hotel Lounge

Hotel la Isla was the most attractive three star hotel in which we stayed.

Hotel Isla, Dalcahue

Hotel la Isla in Dalcahue.