Penguins on an Island! (Ancud, Chiloé)

Have I mentioned that the public bus system in Chile is absolutely fabulous!  You can practically reach anywhere in Chile by bus.  Which is how we reached the island Chiloé – by bus.  Then the bus got onto a ferry and then we had a half hour ferry ride over the Chacao channel and then the bus drove off the ferry and carried on with the trip.  A busride from Puerto Varas to Ancud (the most Northern town in Chiloé) costs 5.000 CLP per person with Cruz del Sur and includes the fare of the ferry ride.  The trip is about three hours long in total.

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Large ferry over the Chacao channel

Everyone on the bus just carried on watching a random Johnny Depp movie in Spanish on the bus as if riding on a ferry is not the coolest thing ever!

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It was quite chilly in the wind on the ferry.

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A map of the island Chiloé

We arrived in Ancud on Christmas day, just in time to catch an open shop, to buy some ribs to braai for our Christmas lunch.  We spent two nights in Ancud camping at Arena Gruesa (price 4.500 CLP per person per night). The campground has a spectacular view over the ocean.  As with most campsites on the island, the warm water at the ablution facilities is unfortunately a myth.  The moment we pitched our tent, the rain started to first drizzle and eventually pour down.  Typical wet weather in Chiloé.

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Our camp site at Arena Gruesa

Ancud is a small town and there’s not a lot to do here.  Two nights is definitely enough time here.  It’s a quaint village where the houses and also larger buildings are covered in wooden shingles, but unfortunately the shingles are not maintained well.  I discovered that I have a love for shingles in Ancud!  It looks like the houses are made out of gingerbread!

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Beautiful shingle patterns

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Buildings in Ancud

The most amazing experience in Ancud for me was to eat Curanto; a huge dish of mussels and clams and potatoes, chorizo, and doughy things in between!  Enough to feed two people for only 4.500 CLP!  There’s a great courtyard with many affordable restaurants to choose from in Diciocho street.

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Dirk getting ready to attack the Curanto. Those mussels are almost as big as a person’s hand!

We took a very touristy trip to see the endangered Humbolt and Magallanes penguins at Punihuil islands (islotes)!

ImageWe paid 14.000 CLP per person for an hour busride to Penahuil and the boatride of about an hour.  There are not a lot of penguins (about fifty), but it’s a beautiful setting- three islands with green lush plants growing on them.  The endangered humbolt penguins have only one black stripe across their chests, while the Magallanica penguins have two stripes.

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A lone Magallanica penguin

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Can you spot the penguins at the bottom of the picture?

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Dirk wearing his life jacket that says ‘boss of the ocean’!

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The bear (oso) shaped rock!

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