A new direct flight route connecting the Chilean capital Santiago with Chiloé Island, off the Southern Coast of Chile, means that the remote island can now easily be included as part of a tour of Patagonia.
In addition to the new LAN flight, which began last December, Chiloé Island has been the beneficiary of much investment in recent months, with the Chilean government pouring billions of pesos into the island’s infrastructure. The results are already evident, with new paved roads, a new ferry terminal and the recently opened Mocopulli Airport in the town of Castro, which offers the direct flights to and from Santiago.
Chiloé (translated as ‘the Place of Seagulls’) is Chile’s second largest island, separated from the mainland by a narrow stretch of water and hardly known by overseas visitors. The wild, western side of the island is mostly uninhabited and is home to one of the world’s few temperate rainforests, while the northern and eastern sides are warmer and home to all of the island’s towns and agriculture.
The island is best known for its wooden churches, many of which are protected by the UNESCO World Heritage List, as well as the ‘palafitos’ – stilt houses built out over the water, and a distinctive and vibrant folklore. The northern region is also home to an array of marine life including blue whale, sei whale, Chilean dolphin, Peale’s dolphin, sea lion and marine otter – as well as Magellanic and Humbolt penguins.
It is hoped that the new flight and increased investment will encourage overseas visitors to spend time in Chiloé and the island now features as part of a new tour launched by Rainbow Tours.
The 12-night ‘Complete Chilean Patagonia’ itinerary includes many of the iconic sites of Patagonia and costs from £4,095 per person including flights, transfers, breakfast accommodation, all meals on Chiloé Island and in the Torres del Paine National Park, plus a range of excursions.
For details see www.rainbowtours.co.uk or call 020-7666 1260.