Chiloe Island: A Vacationer’s Dream

South America - Editor - 25 December 2008

Chiloe Island: A Vacationer’s Dream

As the fog lifts slightly from the ocean’s waters, the eerie shadow of a ghost ship begins to appear, while La Pincoya, the breathtaking mermaid, works her charms to lure men into the unpredictable waves that crash against the shore. These are only two of the myths and legends that have shrouded Chiloe Island in mystery and intrigue. Many visitors to Chile want to share in the secrecy and discover the beauty and mythical wonders of the island.

Between waiting for the arrival of the ghost ship and exploring the folklores of the island, visitors will discover a destination that is picturesque beyond imagination and locals who are eager to share their knowledge and traditions with visitors. The Chiloe Archipelago can be found just off the coast of Chile and Chiloe Island is the biggest in the grouping. Lying silently in the Pacific Ocean, the island is filled with fascinating tales and truths.

The local population of the island has learnt how to rely on themselves, and while a number of residents have left Chiloe Island to find job opportunities, those remaining have seized the moment and are working towards creating an infrastructure to accommodate tourism. Paddling, bird watching, hiking, fishing, boat cruises and biking have been popular activities on the island, but there are many attractions for visitors to enjoy. Jesuit missionaries came to the island in the 1600’s and their presence has left behind approximately a hundred and fifty wooden churches still used by the Chilotes, who practice a form of religion that is a combination of pagan beliefs and Catholicism. The Chiloe National Park has a magnificent variety of animal species, birds and plants. The Alfaguara Project is opening up the doors to marine ecotourism, showing off the island’s diverse marine life that includes sea lions, blue whales, humpback whales, Chilean dolphins, Magellan penguins, Humboldt penguins, marine otters, sei whales and Peales dolphins.

Visitors to the island can also look forward to fascinating craft markets, unique cuisine, exhibitions, cultural activities and discovering the conservation efforts of the islanders to protect the forests and wildlife, while carving an existence through farming and building boats. The Chiloe Island is definitely one of Chile’s finest gems.

 



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