Ancud, Chile – 22-25 May 2011

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South America » Chile » Los Lagos » Chiloé Island » Ancud
May 27th 2011
Published: May 27th 2011
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We arrived in Ancud from Pucon, after a 6 hour bus trip, at about 7.00pm We went to Puerto Montt where we caught a ferry onto the Chiloe Island. Once on the Island, we drove to the NW corner to Ancud. It was cold and we soon learned that it rains frequently, in fact 2,500 mm p.a. Just 100 kms south, it rains 4,500 mm per year!!! We were to stay for 3 nights (2 full days) and it rained on and off for these 2 days. The area is also king of fogs. They come over quickly and so the site of the town disappears quickly.

We stayed at Hostal Lluhay, which is near the docks at 458 Lord Cochrane Ave. It sits high from the road to provide wonderful views of the quaint city and harbor. Breakfast was included. There was internet and Wi-Fi available as it is in most places throughout South America and a sitting room with a grand piano and traditional decoration, much of which was made from wood. They also had an old gramophone, harp and very old deep-sea diving helmet and boots. We had a really large room with large windows, which looked toward the harbour. There was a combustion heater in our room which we never lit because there was another central heater in the room. They also had a fire in the lounge which made the accommodation very cosy.

The family who owned the hotel were very friendly and made us feel very welcome and nothing was any trouble.

For breakfast we had warm bread rolls with cheese, jam or ham spread, plus a slice of some sort (chocolate, cherry and caramel slices), orange juice and coffee and tea. During the day we used their family kitchen if we wanted to. They also had Pisco Sours, wine and beer for sale if we wanted them.
Ancud is a city in southern Chile located in the northernmost part of the island and province of Chiloe, in Los Lagos Region, Chile's eleventh region from north to south (Lakes District).

Numerous glaciations have dredged the Chacao Channel to the north, separating Chiloe Island from mainland Chile to the north, marking the border between two natural regions of Chile, Zona Sur to the north and Zona Austral to the south. The Pacific Ocean lies on the west as the Chilean Coastal Range continues as a chain of islands.

Ancud has a population of over 40,000 people.

Between 1767 and 1982, Ancud was the capital of the Province of Chiloe and in 1840 became the seat of a Catholic diocese.

Ancud was founded on August 20, 1767 during the reign of Charles 111 of Spain. The viceroy of Peru, Manuel de Amaty Juniet, was commanded to fortify the north end of the island of Chiloé; he instructed the Brigadier Don Carlos de Berangery Renaud to raise a fort on the north-western tip of the island. The fort was built to defend navigation
around the southern tip of South America from English encroachment.

Beranger, who was named governor of Chiloé, founded the Villa y Fuerte Real de San Carlos de Chiloé in 1768. He moved the inhabitants of Chacao to the new settlement and from that moment the new town became the seat of the governor and the main port of the island. Fortifications on the bay, as well as artillery batteries, were constructed, as well as the castle of San Miguel de Agüi.

On June 28, 1834, Charles Darwin visited the town during his second voyage of HMS Beagle. The Island recognizes Darwin through naming some of their features after him.

On July 4, 1834, the name of the town was changed from San Carlos de Chiloé to Ancud, and was officially named a city as well as the capital of the province of Chiloé.

During the 19th century, the city of Ancud, with its intense maritime commercial activity, became an important center for industry and commerce, but it suffered a decline as a result of the building of the Panama Canal. In the 20th century, an important settlement near the city was founded by German immigrants, whose activities led to the growth of commerce, agriculture, livestock, and education in the city. In 1912, however, Ancud suffered from competition with Pueto Montt, which was newly linked by rail with the rest of the country. This led to a slow economic decline. Ancud lost its status as capital of the province of Chiloé in 1982, but still retains a court of law for the province (Juzgado de capital de provincia).

The forecast was for rain so we decided to go on a day’s tour to the centre of the Island (Chiloe). We spoke with a tourist operator and van driver, Jose who was a real laugh and a trickster as we found out. We thought it was best to do a bus trip rather than sit in the hotel because of the rain and do nothing.....and we couldn’t do nothing!!!!!

The morning of the tour we debated if we would go because the day did not look friendly, but we decided to go anyway. We headed towards Castro and saw that the economy of the island was strongly supported by forestry, salmon fishing, crustacean farming and all that is associated with the dairy industry.

We first drove south through Degan to Castro which was a town of 41000 which is now the capital of Isle Chiloe. The photos represent the unusual houses of the island. WE also visited Dalcahue on the east coast after catching a ferry over to Isle Quinchao The people of this island are very independent and self-supporting, mainly through farming. There are several very sort-after, high standard secondary education institutes which some of the children from the larger Chiloe Island attend rather than their local schools.

We visited a local market and Jose was well known is this fresh food market.

We tried the native dessert derived from European influences called "Kuchen" (also the word for cake in German) which also had kiwi fruit and custard in it – yum! We also had a try of potato-cake and wholegrain roll.

For lunch Tom had the beef steak soup (with potato and corn) and I had vegetable soup. The funny thing was this place was not licensed to sell alcohol (not that I felt like drinking at lunch time). To get around this, the customer’s order ‘cold coffee’ if they want red wine and ‘cold tea’ if they want white wine. Tom ordered cold coffee and got a mug full of red wine. How funny is that? We added chilli to the soup which was wonderful.

We saw plenty of churches and main squares and beautiful scenery. We got back to the hotel at about 7.30pm pleased that we had done the trip.

The next day we were going to do a half day tour. In 1960 the Island was badly affected by a tsunami. I had read about Kayaking to see the effects of this tsunami on this Island. The area is now called the Valley of the Dead Trees at Chepu Wetlands, which is an overwhelming landscape of sunken dead logs and nature. Kayak at Dawn was the recommendation however as it was raining and very cold, even if we got to the lookout we couldn’t get close enough to the best, unique scene. We were here at the wrong time of the year. If you are interested, Google “Valley of the Dead Trees, Chile” and you will see some spectacular photos.

The other attraction in this area is the penguin colony on the west coast however, they disappear on March. Oh well, we can’t see everything!

The 2nd day in Ancud we decided to look around the town and when we got too cold, we returned to the hotel in front of the fire. We also played some card games. We found a relatively new arcade of shops and restaurants which we had lunch at. All shops were warm and dry. They make great cappuccinos in Chile so we always add this to our order. We visited the local Artisan Market and bought little Gemma some mittens she can put in her dress-up box. We had a good look around, including the local main square called Plaza del Armas.

We bought a few bits and pieces for a light dinner as well as being ready to stay back at the hotel. The rain and wind persisted all day.

The next day (26 May) we were leaving for Bariloche (back in Argentina). When we got up for breakfast the sun was shining and there was no wind – bugger! During our quick breakfast in front of the open fire, a fog came over in a matter of 10 minutes. Not to be deterred, I went for a walk/run to clear the night’s ‘cobwebs’ ready for the day. By the time I got back to the hotel, the fog was lifting very quickly. We took a few more photos of the town. One of our group was down at the harbour and a lady in a car was in trouble. The front 2 tyres were hanging over the jetty and all the local fishermen were trying to lift her car up to get it back onto 4 wheels. Poor lady!

At 10.30 am we said our farewells to the hotel family, ready for the next leg of our journey further into the Lakes District of Argentina.

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