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 best way to learn about Ancud's history is to visit the Museo Regional de Ancud, 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.
San Antonio Fort is another interesting place to visit. It was built by the Spanish in the early 19th century and boasts impressive 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.
Nature lovers will delight in the hundreds of bird species found here. If you're in the mood to see more, take a hike, kayak or visit local beaches. One of the local must-sees is Chiloé National Park, which is about 38 km from Ancud. The Chepu Lookout has the best view.
If you visit between September and April, you can take a boat tour from Puñihuil, 27 km south of Ancud, and visit nearby islets where you can watch the Humboldt and Magallanes penguins and view their nesting sites.
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.
|Quellón||Chonchi - Cucao|