Friday, January 18, 2013


The archipelago of Chiloé lies south of Chile's Lake District and comprises one large island and several smaller ones. It is famous for its myths and folklore, but fortunately we didn't encounter the evil 'Trauco' (abducts and impregnates virgins) or the 'Basilisco' (snake with a rooster's red crest) or the 'Pincoya' (woman of incomparable beauty)! We visited Isla Grande and only encountered some small fishing villages, a few Jesuit churches and, of course, Chiloé's famous penguins.

Palafitos in Castro: traditional wooden houses built on stilts and painted in vibrant colours

The street entrance to some palafitos

Iglesia San Francisco: a UNESCO-protected building constructed entirely from native woods

We drove past the picturesque fishing village of Ancud to Monumento Natural Islotes de Puñihuil on the northwestern coast of Chiloé. Here, three rocky islets of volcanic origin serve as breeding grounds to colonies of Humboldt and Magellanic penguins every year. We hopped on a small boat and cruised around the islands, where we saw both species of penguins, red-legged cormorants, flightless steamer ducks, sea lions and a little aquatic beaver (a rare sighting!).

The rocky island refuge of the penguins
Bahía Puñihuil

Some young penguins hidden among the rocks

A little coipo (beaver) coming out for a snack

1 comment:

Kate said...

Iglesia San Francisco is such a lovely cheerful colour. And I would just like to say PENGUINS! I must go down to Boulders again to see them soon.