Travel Guide: Chile2021-08-27T14:48:20-07:00

— CHILE —

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Getting Around South America

Chile

With an extreme geographic character, Chile has the driest desert in the world in the Atacama Desert. In the Andes mountain range, sits the highest volcanoes in the world reaching over 22,000 feet (6,900 meters). The west coast of the country runs along the Pacific Ocean ending in Chilean Patagonia with fjords, islands and ever severe weather.

Photo: Villarrica Volcano (Elevation: 9,380ft / 2,860m) in Chile

Photos

Isla Grande de Chiloé, Chile – Gallery

At the southern edge of the Chilean mainland sits Isla Grande de Chiloé, a unique island filled with environmental delights and a history of the slow blend of European influence and native traditions.

After years of a slow integration from the outside world, the island is headed for a immense transition. A new mega-mall has opened in Castro – the largest city on the island. To add to the change, the usual 20-hour drive from Santiago has now been cut down to a 3-1/2 hour flight via LAN Airlines into the new airport in Castro.

Even with the new changes to the island, there are still great things to see on Chiloé. On the north coast is a penguin colony just outside of Ancud. There is Chiloé National Park(Parque Nacional Chiloé) on the west coast of the island and private nature reserve – Parque Tantauco – on the southern coast of the island. There are also sixteen wooden churches (video) designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 2000 that are unique Chiloé.

Please tread lightly if you visit Chiloé. Be aware that your actions of visiting the latest eco-lodges may encourage more development. Learn more about Chiloé in this article – At Risk: Nature Lover’s Paradise on Isla Grande de Chiloe, Chile and in the Chiloé video below.

Videos

Travelogue: Chiloé Island (Isla Grande de Chiloé) in Chile

Travelogue video about Chiloe Island (Isla Grande de Chiloe) in southern Chile complete with a penguin colony, national park, nature reserves, historic wooden churches and more.

Church of San Francisco – Chiloé Island, Chile

Enjoy this panorama video of the Church of San Francisco on Chiloé Island in Castro, Chile. The wooden churches on Chiloe were built in the 1600’s by local boat builders with inspiration from the Jesuit missionaries.

Chilean Musicians & Dancers Entertain on Deck of a Ferry

If you are caught on a 27-hour ferry ride with inclement weather, best to be traveling with accomplished traditional Chilean musicians and dancers.

In an impromptu performance on the deck of the ferry, the musicians and dancers entertained fellow passengers traveling from Quellón to Puerto Chacabucoin the Los Lagos Region of Patagonia in Chile. It was undoubtedly the highlight of the lengthy ferry ride and a most unexpected interlude from the gray skies. Watch the video of the skilled musicians and dancers, which include members of the Sonora CopaKbana Band.

Street Musicians in Ancud, Chile on Chiloé Island

Watch a video of street musicians in Ancud, Chile on Isla Grande de Chiloé. The Spanish language songs include a clip of Bob Marley’s “Stir it Up”. Things get going around the 1:05 mark making their way into “Stir it Up” shortly after. Hearing them playing from our room next door drove us out to find who was playing outside.

Articles

Graffiti Art Mural – Ancud, Chile

Located in Southern Chile, Ancúd sits on the northern coast of the Isla Grande de Chiloé – the second largest island in South America.

This photo was taken adjacent to the Plaza de Armas (main square). Many regular happenings take place here including outdoor markets and night movies in the summer.

The cultural presence of Ancúd can be experienced through the street music and graffiti murals. Posters on walls throughout the town publicize upcoming events such as cinema screenings, music festivals and fútbol events in Ancúd and in other areas on the island.

A highlight of visiting the area is to visit the penguin colony only 16 miles (26 km) from Ancúd. Half-day tours cost $26 including transportation and boat ride to view the penguins.

Flight over Chilean Patagonia

When it’s time to hop on a plane – To say South America is a massive continent is certainly an understatement. Solely relying on ground transportation, while cost effective, is extremely time consuming. Starting in Arica at the top of Chile, it took four weeks of coastal bus travel (taking in 10 cities for an average of 3 days each) and we had only made it a little more than half way down the Chilean coast.

Continuing south, another good chunk of travel was covered with a 20-hour ferry ride from the fishing village of Quellón on the island of Chiloé. Navigating through the fjords of southern Chile, we arrived in Puerto Chacabuco late on a Tuesday night.

Still at least an 18 hour bus ride to our destination of Punta Arenas, we finally had to give in and hop on a plane for the final southern stop on our travels in Chile.

Seeing the up-close, day to day life from your bus window as you pass small towns and countryside gives you an intimate portrait of your travels.

For a region as large as Patagonia, the breathtaking views from your airplane window gives you a special appreciation for the wondrous landscape which can rarely to be matched.

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