Chiloé is a large island on the southwest side of the 10th Region. I am always a bit bewildered by Chileans’ fascination with the place, along with San Pedro de Atacama in the north. Both places have some magical element for Chileans, partly on account of their culture and traditions. However, there are many other places to visit in Chile which are more spectacular. That is not to say that the bucolic and pastoral rolling hills of the island are not pleasant. They are! But they are not so extraordinary as Torres del Paine, Lago General Carrera, Lago Bertrand, Lago Espolón, Zapallar, Lago Todos los Santos, Lago Christie, Puerto Fuy, Queule (beach), Playa la Virgen, Siete Tazas, the Beagle Canal (glaciers), Lago Chungará, and just about every lake with a volcano backdrop in the 9th, 10th and 11th regions. Some parts of Chiloé are better than others. For me, the view overlooking the little town of Puqueldón (population 983) is the best spot on the island. Honorable mention goes, in order, to Queilen, Quemchi and Achao. Among the island’s two biggest cities, Ancud is nicer than Castro, although Castro definitely has more modern, nicer homes being built there, especially now with the new casino and commercial airline service having come to town. The following images capture something of the major towns on Chiloé. The whole island is full of romantic, often wave-less, seascapes and rolling verdant hillsides, covered with pines and small farms at times. It is certainly worth visiting, even if it is nothing staggering to write home about.
Queilen, a sleepy town on the southeastern side of the island:
Puqueldón, starting from the ferry out of Chonchi, passing some penguins and dolphins along the waterway. The most quaint of all Chiloé locations, replete with three world heritage churches on this island.
Castro, the island’s capital, now has regularly scheduled coomercial flights on LAN (three days per week), and a new casino. Some homes are nice in town, but most are very rustic. A new mall is being built and the landmark church has been repainted recently. The old landmark lavender obelisk has been removed.
Dalcahue, central Chiloé, with a short ferry to get across to the island that contains Achao:
Achao, central east part, peninsula off of Chiloé.
Quemchi, on a quaint inlet on the northwestern part of the island:
Cucao, west coast of the island, right in the middle of the coast. The only place on Chiloé where one really sees waves.
Huillinco, a nice lake and town on the road to Cucao:
Pumillahue (penguins), north shore, west side:
Unfortunately, I accidentally deleted all of my pictures of Chonchi, Ancud and downtown Quellón on my camera before downloading them to my computer. One can get an idea of what they look like from a photos search on Google. I did have a few images from the towns below that give some idea even if not the whole picture.
Curaco de Vélez (before one gets to Achao after leaving Dalcahue):
Quellón, third largest city on the island with Ferries to Melinka and Chaitén:
To get an overall feel for the country, I recommend that you buy and read both of my books on Chile (see below) to better inform yourself about Chile. Others have also recommended that you re-read them six months after living in Chile, too.
Dr. Cobin’s book, Life in Chile: A Former American’s Guide for Newcomers, is the most comprehensive treatise on Chilean life ever written, designed to help newcomers get settled in Chile. He covers almost ever topic imaginable for immigrants. This knowledge is applied in his valet consulting service (see http://www.chile-consulting.cl), where he guides expatriates through the process of finding a place to live and settle in Chile, helping them glide over the speed bumps that they would otherwise face in getting their visas, setting up businesses, buying real estate, investing in Chilean stocks or gold coins, etc. The cost is $49. If you have problems getting the book through the Overseasradio.com site, since the ORN Store is sometimes closed for maintenance, please use the PayPal info noted below.
Dr. Cobin’s sequel book, Expatriates to Chile: Topics for Living, adds even further depth on important topics to expatriates who either live in Chile already or who have Chile on the short list of countries where they hope to immigrate. The book deals with crucial issues pertaining to urban and rural real estate transactions, natural disasters, issues pertaining to emigration and its urgency, money and the quality of life, medical care and insurance, business opportunities, social manifestations (including welfare state and divorce policy concerns), Chile in the freedom indices, social maladies (lying, cheating, stealing and murder), as well as discussion of a few places worth visiting and some further comments about Santiago. Note: If the link to buy the book at the Overseasradio.com site does not appear, since the ORN Store is sometimes closed for maintenance, just send US$39 by PayPal to firstname.lastname@example.org and send an email or PayPal notice that you have completed your order. A download link will be sent to you directly.
The Overseasradio.com website also has Dr. Cobin’s abridged book (56 pages): Chile: A Primer for Expats ($19), or the little book can also be obtained directly by following the aforementioned PayPal steps.