Chiloé Archipelago


History of the Archipelago
History of Ancud
Things to do in and around Ancud 
World Heritage churches of Chiloé
Darwin on Chiloé


Formation of the Archipelago

Andean tectonostratigraphy in the third stage: late Palaeogene - recent
Click here to read PDF file

Volcanism of the Central Depression and Coastal Cordillera in the late Oligocene - early Miocene
Click here to read PDF file

Biodiversity and glacial history
Click here to read PDF file

History of the Archipelago of Chiloé

First inhabitants

16 km west of Ancud is the archeological site of Puente Quilo (see map). Puente Quilo is a place with evidence of more than 6.200 year old human presence on the island of Chiloé.

There are three principal theories of how Chiloé became inhabited:

  • The first theory states that hunter gatherers during the Holocene (7.000 years ago) started to experiment with different ways to exploit the resources of the sea. There are two places where this might have started: the coasts of the ‘Seno Otway’ and surroundings (northwest of Punta Arenas) or the Beagle channel. The archeological sites of canoe tribes there date 7.000 years back in time. Those tribes then slowly traveled northwards to the archipelago of Chiloé.
  • The second theory says that on the archipelago of Chiloé and surroundings groups of hunter gatherers ventured into the ocean because of the enormous biodiversity of the coastal environment and the fact that there were no more glaciers two thousand years before the last glaciation in the Patagonian area. Until now there is no archeological evidence for this.
  • The third hypothesis explains that canoe tribes crossed the Bering Strait the same time as the terrestrial hunters during the Pleistocene. If there would be archeological evidence it would be below the ocean as in the Pleistocene the sea level was lower than the actual sea level.

7.000 years ago the first groups of canoe tribes hunted for sea-lions, fish, sea- birds and gathered shellfish. They travelled in small boats where they constantly had a fire burning for cooking and staying warm. A layer of sand avoided that the bottom of the boat burned. Sometimes they would make improvised huts from sea- lion skin, animal tendons and sticks from the forest. Caves were also used to refuge from the rain and cold.

Slowly the different tribes developed their own language, habits, believes, etc. and were called Yámana in the Beagle Channel, Kawéshkar in the Gulf of Penas and Chono in Chiloé and the Guaitecas islands.

Why did people live in Puente Quilo thousands of years ago?

-A nearby forest was indispensable to collect firewood and gather material for the huts, canoes, fishing and hunting equipment. The Chono sometimes hunted for deer, otters, birds and small rodents. In the forest they collected edible plants, berries, mushrooms and medicinal plants.
-The availability of drinkable water from the Quilo river.
-An interior sea protected from the strong winds allowed tranquil navigation. The muddy bottom of the bay of Ancud is excellent to gather razor clams and other shellfish. The Chono placed corrals made out of stone or woven wood to trap fish.
-The ocean provided an uncountable amount of food such as sea-lions, eggs from cormorants and gulls, edible birds, clams, mussels and sometimes the meat and fat of whales that beached.

Discovery of the archeological site

In 1995 don Serafín González found some ancient artifacts while he was digging in his backyard. He found arrow points, stone axes and human bones. Don Serafín reported this to the Regional Museum of Ancud and a team of specialists from the Universidad de Chile investigated the site. The team of archeologists discovered 7 bodies carefully buried together with rests of food and artifacts. They also found many arrow points made out of volcanic and sedimentary rock, stone axes and food rests.
6.200 years ago people already prepared the famous Curanto dish. Stones were heated and shellfish was put on top of the hot stones and than covered with big leaves and soil. After one hour the leaves were taken away and the cooked shellfish was placed on strings and smoked to conserve during the winter.

New inhabitants: the Williche tribes

Approximately 800 years ago new tribes arrived at the island in wooden bongos (hollowed out tree trunks).They were culturally very different from the canoe tribes. The Williches were sedentary, cultivated edible plants and domesticated animals. Great part of the actual Chiloé culture comes from the Williche. Many words that are still in use nowadays come from their language as well as forms of practicing agriculture and constructing. During centuries they experimented with the cultivation of potatoes until there were about 200 varieties. 95% of the potatoes that we eat today are genetically related to the potatoes of Chiloé. Quinoa was also grown together with a variety of vegetables and a kind of guanaco, now extinct, was domesticated. The Williche used the wool of this Chiliweke guanaco to weave clothes and blankets and the meat was prepared for the tribes’ most important ceremonies.

In difference with the Chono who lived in small family groups, the Williche formed large communities with a Lonko (tribe leader) in charge of the community. The families lived in rukas made out of firm wood and the roof and outer walls of straw. These houses eventually evolved into houses with wooden planks on the outside and a straw roof and eventually the roof was made out of wooden shingles. There was a central fire to prepare the food, smoke fish, meat and shellfish, a separate sleeping room for the parents and an attic to store the quinoa and potatoes.                                             back to top

(source: DIBAM

Literature: Los primeros pobladores de Chiloé, Génesis del horizonte Mapuche by Alberto Trivero Rivera

Colonial times (1541-1826)

Literature: Historia de Chiloé by Pedro J. Barrientos Diaz

Post-colonial times

As Chiloé had been a defensive stronghold during colonial times, the Republic of Chile used Chiloé as a starting point for its territorial expansion into the southern territories. The expedition to the Straits of Magellan, that founded Fuerte Bulnes in 1843, was assembled in Chiloé. The schooner that undertook the voyage was the 'Goleta Ancud'. The Goleta Ancud sailed out from Ancud on May 22, 1843. The crew were carrying supplies for the estimated seven months journey, as well as supplies to settle a colony in the Strait of Magellan. On board were 23 crew (20 men, 2 women, 1 child), of which about half would stay in the Magallanes region with the mission of establish a permanent settlement.

In the 1850s Chiloé was again instrumental in the logistical support of the colonization of the Llanquihue Lake, where German settlers were given land. The last major portion of Patagonia to be incorporated into Chile, Aysén was also explored and settled from Chiloé. In the colonization process of Patagonia, Chilotes immigrants constituted a large part of the work force of the livestock enterprises that were established in Patagonia between 1890 and 1950. In Argentinean Patagonia between 1921 and 1922 there was a short rebellion organized by Spanish anarchists and Chilote laborers to demand an improvement of work and living conditions. The uprising was brutally oppressed and about 1500 Chilotes and Spaniards were shot. Bruce Chatwin tells some of this story in his book 'In Patagonia' in chapter 51.

During the late 19th century and the beginning of the 20th century, Chiloé lost economic and political importance to Puerto Montt on the mainland, so that by 1863 Puerto Montt was made capital of its own province and in 1927 the Chiloé Archipelago was incorporated into a new province headed by Puerto Montt.
(Sources: Wikipedia)

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History of Ancud (41º 52’ Lat. S  73º 50’ Long. W)

The archipelago of Chiloé became important geo-strategically during the mandate of the viceroy of Peru Don Manuel Amat y Juniet (1761-1776) because of the Spanish - English conflict and commercial interests that both had to occupy the Strait of Magellan.

Possession of the islands of Chiloé secured passage to the Strait and so the extreme south of the american continent. In 1768 Don Carlos de Beranguer was named governor of Chiloé and was charged with the building of fortifications in the north of the island. Ancud was chosen because of the easy access in and out of the bay, the depth of the bay and the facility to defend the city. He named the fortified city ‘San Carlos’ in honor of the ruling king of Spain ‘Carlos III’. Formerly the place was known as Lappi and nowadays it is called Ancud. Ancud in the native language means ‘potbellied’ because of the belly- shape of its hills.

At the end of 1768 there was a main square, a church, the house of the governor, a franciscan convent, a hospital and several shops. In 1770 the fortress of San Antonio, the Plaza de Armas and the port were finished. After clearing the forest between the fortress and the actual town 138 houses were constructed and in 1771 Ancud counted about 500 inhabitants. The inhabitants from neighboring village Chacao were forced to move to Ancud and populate the new city. Ancud became the new garrison town instead of Chacao and so the population was a mixture of military and civil.

(source: José A. Ulloa C.   Memorias de una epopeya: La guerra de anexión de Chiloé a Chile)

Chiloé, under the royal governor Antonio de Quintanilla continued to remain loyal to Spain. The fortress of San Carlos was defended against the attack led by Lord Cochrane who was defeated while attempting to assault the castle of San Miguel de Agüi in 1820. The expedition led by Ramon Freire against the Chiloé royalists would also be defeated at the Battle of Mocopulli (April 1824). In 1826, Chilean forces would finally defeat the Chiloé resistance at Pudeto and Bellavista (January 14, 1826). The Treaty of Tantauco would confirm the annexation of Chiloé to the republic of Chile.
With Chiloé annexed to the Republic of Chile, administration was placed in the hands of Colonel José Santiago de Aldunate (1826), who was arrested in the Villa de San Carlos de Chiloé by sergeant-major Manuel Fuentes, who organized an assembly on May 12, 1826 that declared the independence of Chiloé. This rebellion was suppressed by July 19, 1826.

On June 28, 1834, Charles Darwin visited the town during the Voyage of the Beagle. 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.

(source: Municipality of Ancud and

On July 1, 1840, Pope Gregory XVI, in his papal bull Ubi primum, created the diocese of San Carlos de Ancud. The episcopal seat was located at Ancud.  On April 13, 1845, the seminary known as the Seminario Conciliar de Ancud was founded in the city during his episcopate. The school known as the "Liceo de Ancud" was founded on October 11, 1868. Nuns of the Congregation of the Immaculate Concepción settled in the city on November 3, 1874. Nowadays it is the headquarter for the ‘Fundación de las iglesias de Chiloé’, the organization   that administrates and restores  the UNESCO World Heritage churches 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 Puerto 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.

(source: Municipality Ancud and

On Sunday the 22nd of May 1960 the heaviest earthquake ever recorded hit the city of Ancud. It had a magnitude of 9,5 on the scale of Richter and produced and enormous tsunami that destroyed most of the houses on the coastline of the archipelago. Other major cities that were affected were Concepción and Valdivia. 2000 people died in total and 2 million people suffered losses.
The earthquake lasted 10 minutes and a little afterwards a second tsunami hit the coast with a 10 meter high wave.

(source: Geografía del alma, Terremoto en Ancud, año 1960, Escuela Anexa dirigido por profesora Viviana Choloux Retamal)

Literature: El Maremoto del 22 de mayo de 1960 en las costas de Chile by Servicio Hidrográfico y Oceanográfico de la Armada de Chile

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Things to see and do in and around Ancud

City walk

For a detailed map of Ancud click here
For a guided walk in PDF format click here (you'll need the map)

Outskirts of Ancud

For a detailed map click here

3 kilometres east of the city centre is the (1) Mirador Cerro Huaihuen. Cerro Huaihuen is a  spectacular hill overlooking the River Pudeto, the Channel of Chacao, the continent and on clear days its volcanoes, the city centre of Ancud and the Lacuy Peninsula.
How to get there? Go towards the Polvorín (see city map) and take a right into street Antonio Burr. Continue along this street until the end and you will arrive at the lookout of Huaihuen.

3 ½ kilometres east out of the centre is the (2) Bridge of the Pudeto River. This bridge connects the road that comes from the ferry with the rest of the island. Next to the main bridge is a footbridge. This is a popular spot with locals to have a stroll, cycle, fish, chat… The Pudeto River is the biggest river of the island. It once was much smaller but the earthquake of 1960 widened it. Now it is an excellent place to kayak and explore the many inlets with its distinct fauna and flora, the old railroad bridges and surrounding farmlands.
How to get there? Cycle, walk, run… towards ‘Ruta 5’ following the green signs with white letters or take a taxi colectivo and ask for ‘Puente Pudeto’.
2 kilometres west of Ancud starts the splendid beach of (3) Lechagua. A popular beach for bathers in summer but the rest of the year deserted. Ideal for a morning or afternoon walk.  At the beginning of the beach at your left side crossing the street is the sanctuary of (4) El Carmelo. A steep road takes you to the chapel of el Carmelo. Two kilometres further left is a road that leads you to (5) Pauldeo. A dirt road takes you to a height of about 250 metres where you get excellent views over the beach of Lechagua.
How to get there? Follow the seaside road towards the west, pass the poblaciones (housing estates) of Villa Esperanza and Bella Vista uphill and once past the housing estates down the hill starts the beach of Lechagua. Taxi colectivos can take you there for some extra money.

Along the river Pudeto about 6 kilometres south-east of Ancud is the (6) village of Pupelde. A little visited place but worth a detour. People here mainly live from fishing, farming and seaweed gathering in the brackish water of the river. How to get there? On Ruta 5 towards Castro take a left after about 4 kilometres out of the centre. A small road takes you to the village of Pupelde.
There is a (7) wetland (Humedal) just outside of Pupelde heading towards the ‘Pudeto’ bridge.

1 ½ kilometres out of the centre towards the south is the (8) old road to Castro. This road starts at the cemetery of Ancud. The (9) cemetery is already worth a visit to see the mixture of people from all over that settled the island. Indigenous, Spanish, German, Croat, Dutch, Belgian, Welsh, English…
Follow the sign that says; Caracoles. The road is called ‘Caicumeo’. On your left after one kilometre you will see the lake that provides the drinking water for Ancud. The road continues for about 4 kilometres and eventually arrives at Mechaico where it joins the new road to Castro.                 back to top

Boroughs and counties west of Ancud

For a detailed map click here

9 kilometres from Ancud is the tiny village of Pilluco (1). A dead ending road takes you to a colourfully painted wooden church and a cemetery. Pilluco’s school has probably the best view of the island. From the primary school you can see on one side the bay of Ancud and the Lacuy Peninsula and on the other side the wide Pacific Ocean.

Turning back the same road is the crossroad that leads you to Cabeza de Vaca (2). Not even a village Cabeza de Vaca is an area of rolling farmlands overlooking the sea. The road from Pilluco through Cabeza de Vaca eventually takes you to the lagoon of Quilo. In winter Pink Flamingos feed here. The rest of the year a wide range of aquatic birds find a haven here.

At the lagoon of Quilo (3) take a left and cross the bridge to go to the lookout of Mar Brava (4). The 7.5 km beach of Mar Brava is probably one of the most beautiful but windiest places on the island. Continue the road that will take you to the penguin colony of Puñihuil(5). Humboldt and Magellan penguins nest here between September and April. Other habitants of the islands of Puñihuil are the kelp geese, oystercatchers, steamer ducks, pelicans, cormorants, terns, dolphins, sea-lions and sea otters. Local fishermen have grouped themselves as ‘Eco marine Puñihuil’ and do boat trips around the small islands where the penguins nest. When the sea is quiet they can take you out to a sea lion colony as well. (see map)

A colony of Blue whales passes here every year between December and April to feed on krill, plankton and fish. Eco marine Puñihuil does high-seas wildlife tours and when the whales are in the area they can take you close to the whales as well.

Instead of turning back right at the Quilo lagoon you can continue the road that takes you to the main road that goes back to Ancud. Take a left at the paved road to go to the Peninsula of Lacuy. 3 kilometres along the road is the bridge of Puente Quilo. Just behind the bridge at your left is the museum of Quilo (6). An interesting place with a variety of objects like stones, bones, furs, tools… In this place the oldest remains of human bodies were found by Don Serafín Gonzalez. Don Serafín deceased in 2010 and his children take care of the museum now. Unfortunately they took the bones to an unknown place and only photos are left.

The road continues to the fishing village of Quetalmahue which is famous for its delicious oysters and seafood. A few kilometres further is a fork that either takes you left to the start of the Sendero de Chile in Guabún or right to the fortress of Fuerte Ahui and the lighthouse of Faro Corona. On the road left to Guabún after one kilometre is the settlement of Calle. If you want to taste the local specialities, this is THE place. Breakfast, lunch, afternoon tea or once in Chilean Spanish and dinner are served at agro tourism ‘Al Norte del Sur’. Turn back to continue along the Lacuy Peninsula.               back to top

The Lacuy Peninsula

For a detailed map click here

16 kilometres west of Ancud is the Lacuy Peninsula. Life goes at an even slower pace here than at the rest of the island.  The main economical activity here is the harvest of different see weeds for local use and export. Alongside the road people dry seaweed like ‘pelillo’ (Gracilaria spp.) and ‘luga’ (Mazzaella laminarioides) . Both see weeds are used in the cosmetic industry and Asian gastronomy. Diving for oysters and shellfish is another way of income for the locals. Small dairy farms make cheese to sell at the market in Ancud and every family has potatoes, cattle, pigs and sheep.

A good spot to stop before heading on to the tip of the peninsula is the village of Nal. A small but pretty church stands next to the ocean in this tiny village. A fork leads you right to either the Spanish fortress  Fuerte Ahui or left to the lighthouse of Faro Corona. Sandstone was used to build the fortress. There are two more remains of defensive batteries further south, at Chaicura and Balcacura. At  Punta Arenas are middens of the indigenous people. To visit the lighthouse, go back the same road to the fork and turn right. Yuste is famous for the extraction of pieces of ‘cancagua’ rock. ‘Cancagua’ is a sedimentary rock of volcanic origin found in southern Chile, Ecuador and Colombia. The texture is porous and ‘cancagua’ rock is generally composed of quartz, feldspar, calcite, clay and silica. The sculptures of different mythological figures on the main square of Ancud (Plaza de armas) are made of ‘cancagua’ rock.  back to top   


Boroughs and counties east of Ancud


The wooden churches of the archipelago of Chiloé


Origin of Chiloé’s churches

The ‘Chilote’ 1 churches appeared as a result of a specific process of evangelization by jesuit missionaries, who since the beginnings of the XVII century and for over 150 years travelled from one area of the archipelago to another and this for 8 months a year.
This cycle of traveling was called ‘Circular mission’ and in every locality the people were encouraged to build a small chapel to protect the jesuits from the rain while they were evangelizing.
As the missionaries only stayed a few days in every place, the religious tasks during the rest of the year were in hands of a local who was chosen by the community and replaced the missionary in cases of emergency.
The chapels were erected in uninhabited places and often made way to habitation and eventually some cities were built around them.
1 Chilote m , Chilota f: from Chiloé

Simplicity was characteristic for the first places of worship; a double-sided thatched roof, no bell tower and overlapping planks for the walls. The early constructions looked similar to  the huts that indigenous people of the archipelago lived in, called ‘Rukas’.
Over time construction techniques of the chapels were improved due to the skills of local naval engineers and boat builders. Cypress (Pilgerodendron uviferum) and Alerce (Fitzroya cupressoides) wood were used for structure and sheathing owing to their resistance against the harsh climatical conditions.
The work to build, expand or repair the chapels was carried out by the people of the community and on voluntary base. The missionaries taught the local inhabitants to create statues of saints made out of wood. Although the craft of saint building is inexistent at present, there are still tens of antique saints which are an example of a unique style of workmanship.  

In the mid-XVIII century the jesuits were expelled from South America under the orders of the king of Spain and replaced by franciscan missionaries who continued the work of evangelization on Chiloé’s archipelago.
At their arrival, the franciscans were put in charge of 80 churches and they achieved to restore and improve each temple of worship. Towers, porticos and sheathing were rebuilt and perfected so that each church became the pride and true center of the community.
    Jesuit Missions in Spanish America: The Aftermath of the Expulsion by Olga Merino and Linda A. Newson

At the beginning of the XIX century there were about 100 churches on the archipelago and during the first part of the XX century this number went up to 150 churches corresponding to the methodology of the ‘Escuela Chilota de Arquitectura Religiosa en Madera’ 2.  
At present only half of those churches are left.
2 Chilote School of Religious Wooden Architecture

Who protects the churches currently?

The ‘Fundación Amigos de las Iglesias de Chiloé’  3 (FAICH) was created by the bishopric of Ancud in 1993 with the purpose to recover and preserve the physical and non-physical value of the long-standing Chilote churches.
In the year 2000 UNESCO granted the ‘World Heritage’ title to 14 Chilote churches.
Two years later another two churches were added to the list.
What follows is the justification for Inscription by UNESCO:
Criterion (ii): The churches of Chiloé are outstanding examples of the successful fusion of European and indigenous cultural traditions to produce a unique form of wooden architecture.
Criterion (iii): The mestizo culture resulting from Jesuit missionary activities in the 17th and 18th centuries has survived intact in the Chiloé archipelago, and achieves its highest expression in the outstanding wooden churches.

For centuries wood has been used as the principal building material on Chiloé’s archipelago. Forest gave life to churches, boats and houses. Unfortunately wood is a perishable material affected by weather conditions and insects. These conditions made it essential to value the churches even more and made it necessary that local communities worked together to construct and maintain the churches every time needed. The only reason that even after 200-300 years these churches keep their material and cultural value is thanks to the cooperation of every member of the local community over time.
3 Foundation of Friends of Chiloé’s Churches, abbreviation: FAICH

The main initiative for restoration has come from the government of Chile, led by the ministry  of local development (SUBDERE),  who spent a large amount of money between the years 2004 and 2010 on a program ‘Desarrollo Sustentable del Turismo en las Comunidades de Chiloé y Palena’ 4 and between 2008 and 2013 on the program ‘Puesta en Valor del Patrimonio 5.
4 Sustainable development of tourism in the communities of Chiloé and Palena
5 Value of heritage

Renovation of the churches

From the beginning of renovation on the churches of Chiloé, the FAICH Foundation has worked in unison with academics, historians and architects to attain high technical and conceptual accuracy.
Essential supervision and support came from the ‘Consejo de Monumentos Nacionales 6, Subsecretaría de Desarrollo Regional y Administrativo 7, Gobierno Local 8 and Dirección de Arquitectura del Ministerio de Obras Públicas 9.
The result of this teamwork has allowed the development of high-value projects and has been an example of successful wooden heritage restoration for the whole country.  

The recovery and education of local carpenters’ skills has been fundamental for the FAICH Foundation. These ancient skills enable the use of the same techniques to renovate and reconstruct according to the ‘Escuela Chilota de Arquitectura Religiosa en Madera’ (see 2).
This way the churches maintain their structure of splicing and wood unions which represents the essence of ancient constructive solutions.

In addition to the restoration of churches, a group of specialists works on the restoration of wooden statues. These ‘santeros’ or representations of saints are the most valued objects for the local people. The churches are named after their Patron Saint of which an image is kept in the form of a wooden statue. In most cases the statues are older than the church where they stand in and every year there are massive celebrations to honor the Patron Saints.

Not only the 16 churches on the World Heritage list are looked after, communities that decide to renovate their wooden church receive help from the FAICH Foundation. Groups of people come together and work on a common project in a ‘minga’ 10.
6 CMN National Monuments Committee
7 SUBDERE Ministry  of local development
8 GORE Regional government
9 DA-MOP Ministry of public works, architecture department
10 A piece of work or duty done by several people in a voluntarily way, typical for the Archipelago of Chiloé

Standards for intervention

To renovate a heritage church, the FAICH analyzes each church with the purpose to present a program of intervention to the ‘Consejo de Monumentos Nacionales’ (see 6).
The program of intervention (PIP)11 brings to light the damage of each heritage building and reveals a strategy to renovate it. Complementary to the PIP other studies are executed such as the historical context of the building, the structure of the underlaying soil
and a condition diagnosis of the wood.
When the CMN assesses the PIP necessary for the maintenance of the church, the next step can be taken; the acquirement of financial resources.  
11 Proyecto de Intervención Patrimonial

Intervention on every occasion includes analysis of damaged pieces of wood and the possible chance of replacing it with new pieces. The foundations of constructions in the south of Chile are more  susceptible to humidity and therefore treated with a product to deter wood-eating insects. The useable parts of damaged pieces of wood are used in other elements of the reconstruction wherever possible.
Special care is also taken to renovate altars, tabernacles, confessionals and images of saints. Experts from around the world perform this task in collaboration with local carpenters, clergymen and painters.

Over the last years the FAICH has included different projects beside the main restoration tasks such as landscaping improvements, illumination, fire-hazard protection and the construction of a visitor center. The primary goal of these projects has been to improve the attentiveness towards national and international visitors of Chiloé’s churches.

Headquarters and visitor center of the ‘Amigos de las Iglesias de Chiloé’

The FAICH operates from a historical building in the heart of Ancud, an ex convent of the ‘Inmaculada Concepción’.  The ex convent was built in 1874 and lodged the first missionary sisters of the ‘Congregación de las Hermanas de la Caridad Cristiana’.The sisters travelled from Germany to establish their first mission in South America here. The building held a school and a novitiate until the year 1968.
For a few years the church of the convent replaced the cathedral that was destroyed by the 1960 earthquake. Today the previous temple of worship holds a display of the renovated churches. The old dormitories now function as offices for the architects and administrative staff. What once were courtyards nowadays are carpentry workshops where the skills of restoration is taught.
The ex convent is entirely renovated and open to the public all year around. 

This information is a translation of an excerpt of the book: 'Chiloé Iglesias Patrimoniales' de la Fundación Amigos de las Iglesias de Chiloé by Cristian Larrêre Wórner

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Marine mammals

Click here for a list of Otariidae, Mysticeti and Odontoceti that are to be seen off the coast of Chiloé's Archipelago
(Source 'Mamíferos de Chile' by Agustín Iriarte Walton)

Literature about marine mammals: Guía de Campo de las especies de aves y mamíferos marinos del sur de Chile by R. Hucke-Gaete and J. Ruiz Troemel
Presence of Blue Whales in the Northwestern coast of Chiloé by E. Cabrera, C. A. Carlson and B. Galletti Vernazzani (PDF file)

Land mammals

Literature about land mammals: Field guide to the mammals of Chile and Mamíferos de Chile (samples) by A. Iriarte Walton  

Fish, crustaceans and mollusks

Click here for a list of the most commen fish, crustaceans and mollusks with English, Spanish and scientific names
(Source 'Recursos Pesqueros del Mar de Chile by Patricio M. Arana)
Literature: Native fishes of  Southern Chile by I. Arismendi and B. Penaluna
          Fresh water fish of the Chilean Coastal Range by E. Habit and P. Victoriano

Amphibians and Reptiles

Literature about amphibians and reptiles of Southern Chile and Chiloé: Conservación de anfibios de Chile by C. Soto Azat and A. Valenzuela Sánchez  El caso de rana Darwin by A. Charrier  Fundación Biológico Senda Darwin
Reptiles terrestres de Chile by M. Vidal Maldonado
Anfibios de Chile, un desafío para la conservación by G. Lobos, M. Vidal, C. Correa, A. Labra, H. Díaz-Páez, A. Charrier, F. Rabanal, S. Díaz and C. Tala     Guía de reconocimiento de anfibios y reptiles by C. Garin Aguilar and Y. Hussein Elmes for SAG

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List of books, PDF files, posters and documents about the flora of Chile

Mosses, liverworts, hornworts and lichens: Briófitos de los bosques templados de Chile by V. Ardiles Huerta, J. Cuvertino Santoni and F. Osorio Zuñiga

Musgos, hepáticas y líquenes by C. León Valdebenito, G. Oliván Martínez and A. Benítez Mora of 'Turberas Chiloé'

Native trees: Arboles nativos de Chile by N. García Berguecio and C. Ormazabal Pagliotti

Ferns: Helechos nativos del sur de Chile by R. Rodriguez Ríos, D. Alarcón Abarca and J. Espejo Cardemil

Climbers, epiphytes and parasites: Plantas trepadoras, epífitas y parástias nativas de Chile by A. Marticorena, D. Alarcón, L. Abello and C. Atala  

Endangered plants: Plantas amenazadas del centro-sur de Chile by P. Hechenleiter, M. Gardner, P. Thomas, C. Echeverría, B. Escobar, P. Brownless and C. Martínez

Red list of Chilean terrestrial flora by Ivan Benoit C. For CONAF (English version)

Orchids: Guía de campo de las Orquídeas de Chile by P. Novoa, J. Espejo, M. Cisternas, M. Rubio and E. Domínguez             

Fungi: Fungi Austral by Giuliana María Furci George - Nascimento

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Literature about most common birds of Southern Chile and Patagonia: Fauna de Chiloé, Guía básica de interpretación by AvesChile,, Alianza Creativa and Agencia Los Lagos   Hábitos de nidificación de las aves del bosque templado andino de Chile by T.A. Altamirano, J.T. Ibarra, F. Hernández, I. Rojas, J. Laker and C. Bonacic      Aves de la Patagonia by T. Narosky and M. Babarskos                                                                                                                                    back to top   

Darwin on Chiloé     

The natural history of Chiloé: on Darwin's trail  by Mary F. Willson and Juan J. Armesto 

This article reviews the wiritings of Charles Darwin during his visit to Chiloe Island in southern Chile in 1834-35, focusing on his observations on the climate, plants, landscapes, animals and people. Mary Willson and Juan Armesto compare Darwin's impressions with their views of the natural history of the Island 150 years later.       


Authors of Chiloé

Francisco Coloane (1910-2002) Among his most famous works are: La Tierra del Fuego se Apagó (Tierra del Fuego Has Burnt Out, 1945), Golfo de Penas (Gulf of Sorrow, 1957), El Camino de la Ballena (The Whale's Path, 1962), El Guanaco Blanco (The White Guanaco, 1980), and El Corazón del Témpano (The Heart of the Iceberg, 1991).

Luis Mancilla    Los Chilotes De La Patagonia Rebelde is a book about the Chilotes that worked on the southern Patagonian farms and the rebellion of 1921

José Ulloa       Memorias De Una Epopeya: La Guerra De Anexión De Chiloé A Chile is a brief history of Chiloé's annexation to Chile      

Renato Cárdenas     Some of his books are:  Cuatro Poetas en Chiloé (1976), Décimas y Corridos de Chiloé (1977), Underground, (Poems) (1980) beside numerous papers, short stories, traditional recipe books and books about ethnography

Felipe Montiel     Los Últimos Constructores De Artilugios De Madera De Chiloé is a book about the last wooden craftsmen on the Archipelago and Chiloé: Historia De Viajeros is about Chilotes that worked as laborers on Patagonian sheep farms, miners, shearers, gold diggers, whalers, builder of lighthouses in the southern archipelagos and sailors.       

Edward Rojas     Famous Chilote architect and writer of many books and uncountable articles on Chiloé's architecture. A must have is the book 'Guía de architectura Chiloé ' free available on his web page

Dante Montiel    His most famous book 'Chiloé, Crónicas De Un Mundo Insular'.  The book is a journey through his memories and a powerful essay on various topics of cultural interest.