Ancud is the first town most people hit when visiting Chiloe Island from Puerto Montt. It's a relatively nice town with a port and the usual small town attractions.
The bus from Puerto Montt that crosses over to Chiloe by a ferry is economical, but crossing by motorcycle and car is pricey. Motorcycle is 7,000 one way as of April 2014. The ferries run 24 hours now, albeit infrequently and usually only leave when full.
Bus companies are: Cruz del Sur ($4000) & Queilen
The best way to get around is to rent a car on the island for a day. You can then explore either the nice beaches to the west of Ancud, or drive to Castro. Ask at the local gas station for car rentals.
- Museo Regional de Ancud, Libertad (opposite the Plaza de Armas). It is a small museum but the displays inside help visitors understand more about the city. There is a big ship exhibited outdoors facing the ocean. Beside, you can also find a blue whale skeleton. Great seaviews! $600.
- Feria Rural y Artesanal, (at the corner of Libertad and Dieciocho). A handful of shops selling handcrafts and restaurants serving seafood dishes as a small market is just downstairs.
- Fundación Amigos de las Iglesias de Chiloé, Errázuriz 227 (just 2 blocks down from the bus terminal), ☎ 62 1046 / 62 9847, . There are many delicate handmade wooden models of different churches all over Chiloé Island. Different wooden frames and building methods are shown. You can also go upstairs by climbing some wooden ladders and enjoy the internal structure of the church itself. $500 (as a donation).
- Museo Bomberil, Blanco Encalada (next to the fire station). A small but interesting hall showing many memorabilia about the local fire department. There are also some antique wagons used before. Free.
- Fuerte San Antonio, San Antonio (next to Hosteria Ancud). It is a fortress built by the Spanish in the early 19th century and boasts impressive views of the port. You can also walk a bit downhill and see a small beach with caves around. Best visited at sunsets. Free.
- Fuerte San Carlos.
Pinguineras can be reached by the public bus (Mar Brava), leaving from the garage at 6:45 am and 11:45 am and returning at 1 pm and 5 pm (afternoon times have changed: now departing at 1pm and returning at 5:40pm). The bus costs 2,000 pesos. Often you can take a collectivo van back to Ancud for 2,000 directly after finishing your tour.
At low tide it's possible to cross knee-deep water to the nearest penguin site; please keep your distance!
On the beach near the Penguins you can negotiate a short boat tour to the nearby three small islands. Costs start at around 6,000 - 7,000 pesos depending on the season (tours are usually in Spanish).
Be sure to take the Penguin tour (one in the morning at 10AM and another in the afternoon at 3PM). Excellent 3-4 hour expedition that includes historical information, scenic stops, and 30 minutes in a zodiac cruising between penguin islands and seeing sea otters, cormorants, and other wildlife with a German volunteer guide.
From the Penguin Station ask your guide to show your the way to Pummillahue, an hour or so trek to the beautiful Pumillahue bay. It is part of the caldera of an ancient volcano. On the southern side of the bay petrified carbonized trunks can be seen. Also the sea washes a myriad of pebbles of all kinds and colors onto the shore, brought by the glaciers that one time covered the Island. You won't resist collecting some!
Worth the visit, bring a picnic.
- Chepu Adventures Ecolodge, Camino a Chepu Km 13,2 (Chepu Rural - 38,5 km SW of Ancud), ☎ 569 93792481, . Eco Tourism Chepu Adventures. Kayak while visiting the charming Valley of the Dead Trees at Chepu Wetlands, an overwhelming landscape of sunken dead logs and nature. Kayak at dawn. Trek to penguin colony. Eco - Camping with alternative energy (wind) and solar hot showers. Hosting in suites for 2 persons (cabin type) with private bathroom and bathroom included. Adults only. Ecofriendly activites as kayak at dawn, trekking, bird & mammal watching. (42°02'53S,73°58'08W)
- Senderos de Chepu, ☎ 569 9260 2423, . Forest, river, beach, ocean, hiking, bird watching, with lodging in a family home. Señora Etiqueta and her husband Fernando offer beds, meals, and rural tourism.
There is an artisan market in the same place where you take the Penguin tours that has very cheap crafts. Hand woven hats for 2 American dollars, thats a steal! There are significant parts and outdoor stores on the two large streets leading south from the main plaza.
- retro's pub at Maipú 615 is the best place for completos (sandwiches, try the ones with palta = guacamole), lunch, pizza, tea/coffee, dinner (tasty meat and fish, and great desserts and kuchen made by Marcela) and a drink with friends. Very frequented by the local population of all ages. Open from 11AM until 2AM The owners also organize curanto (native chilote meal baked under the earth) for groups on weekends at the beach.
- Casamar is a superb restaurant and bar of modern architecture overviewing the sea, at night with a big video screen, good music and fantastic food and drinks.
- La Candela across from the Plaza de Armas at Libertad 599 is a fantastic restaurant. Don't visit Ancud without stopping in for either lunch or dinner or dessert (or all three). Lunch special when we were there was a salad, pastel de mariscos, and coffee/tea for 2,200 pesos (2/06).
- Pedersen Salon de Te Down the road from La Candela there is a small cafe which also serves sandwiches and desserts. The native dessert derived from European influences called "Kuchen" (also the word for cake in german) can be sampled at its best here. Inexpensive.
- Kuranton At the port, nice and inexpensive local where you can eat the famous Curanto meal.
- Close to the mole in Arturo Prat steet (red-white entrance, second house behind the big blue one) is a fishermen's pub. It looks a bit shabby but the fish dish with potatos, salad and bread for $2000 was good. (Feb/12) *Mercado has a number of eateries serving fresh Corento for 4,500. The one closest to the main road and free parking for motorcycles was great March 2014.
- retro's pub, +56 (0)65 626410, email@example.com. is the place for Pisco Sour or other cocktails at night. And for the next morning a good address for black coffee. Open from 11AM-2PM. Good music and TV screen.
- CasaMar, +56 (0)65 655670, casamar@hotmail. A local restaurant, pub and event center (dance floor). It's the place to celebrate weddings or New Year's Eve. At the corner between Errazuriz and Costanera.
- Cafe Arte Nerudiano, calle Maipu 650, second floor, ☎ 065620820. Cosy and arty coffeeshop/bar with balcony on the second floor of a wooden gallery in the centre of town. Wifi is available and the owners, a Chilean/Belgian couple speak a variety of languages. The cafe has a permanent art exhibition. Specialities are the delicious pisco sour and several other cocktails, sandwiches and cakes. The atmosphere is very intimate and romantic at night.
- Hostel TerraMar, downtown and up a steep hill. Check the bed before accepting a room - ours was horrendous, sinking in the middle almost to the floor. 5,000 pesos per person (2/06). No breakfast.
- Hostal Lluhay , near the docks at 458 Lord Cochrane Ave. Sits high from the road to provide wonderful views of the quaint city and harbor. Breakfast included. There is internet and a sitting room with a grand piano and traditional decoration. Many lodging options. Inexpensive.
- Hostal Mundo Nuevo, Costanera (S. Allende) 748, . A very nice and clean hostel with a views at the sea. they speak english, german and spanish.
- Hospedaje Austral, Anibal Pinto 1318, ☎ (+56) 65 624847, . Cabin-esque single/double rooms with simple breakfast and kitchen is available at request in the owner’s place downstairs. The owners are really lovely (and Lorenzo the dog is quite friendly), and can recommend you good places to visit. Wifi included. From 7,000 CLP pp (07/2012). It's a bit removed from the center but it’s only 3 houses down from the bus terminal Municipal (ask the driver). Website: www.ancudchiloechile.com , email: firstname.lastname@example.org
- Hospedaje Kreisel, Prat 350 (Opposite Unimarc Supermarket), ☎ 628015. Family run; no WiFi. 6000 CLP.
- Hospedaje Kristian, Pudeto 450 (Close to the terminal), ☎ 84579209. Run by a lady, friendly, clean, with breakfast. Price for a single room 8000 CLP. With TV, no WiFi. (Feb/12)