Chanquin is Best For
Directions to Chanquin
The instructions say that to get to Cole Cole from Ancud, the first thing to do is to take a bus to Castro, the city of the palafittes. Once in Castro, you have to take a bus to Cucao. This journey takes at least two hours.
The walk from the end of the road in Cucao to the beach is 15.8 km long, and this is only one way. For this reason, most travelers trek with tent and food, spend the night on the beach and return the next day. Although there is also the option to make the round trip in one day, we choose to do the walk during the day. After spending the night in a shelter in Cucao, we got up at dawn to start walking. After registering in the administration of the Chiloé National Park, you must return to the dirt road and continue north until the end. A little further on from the Chanquin bridge, at kilometer 5, the road ends and the walk begins.
The first thing is to cross a small lagoon that separates the road from the beach. We take off our shoes, we walk with water up to our knees and we reach a beach so long and wide that it intimidates. The instructions say that you have to walk north along the river and the hills until you see a farmhouse on a hill. This would be the community of Huentemó. The wind runs strong and there is no demarcated route. The chances of getting lost are big and the adrenaline that this causes accompanies them.
Once you have seen the town, you have to walk towards the hills in search of a bridge. The walk continues crossing and skirting the hill until you reach a booth where you have to register. The demarcated path starts here, two hours after walking with uncertainty through the widest and wildest beach on the island.
From this point everything is accurate and the landscape changes drastically. From walking on an open beach framed on one side by the sea and on the other by the green mountains, we passed a narrow black dirt road surrounded by evergreen trees, bushes, and climbing plants. We are in the middle of the Valdivian jungle walking among coihues, larches, tepas, quilas, arrayanes and cypresses of the Guaitecas. It is an unknown route, and this is good news because this increases the chances of seeing a Darwin fox (lycalopex fulvipes), endemic endangered species that only inhabits two places in the world: the Nahuelbuta mountain range and in the Chiloé archipelago.
The silence and patience also allow us to see the mountain monkey (dromiciops gliroides) and the mole mouse of Chiloé (notiomys valdivianus chiloensis), two species that move among the green bushes that give life to this route.
After approximately 50 minutes, you will reach a cliff from where you will be able to see the famous Cole Cole beach. It is indeed beautiful and it looks even more amazing with the herd of wild horses running through the sand. We go down, have lunch, enjoy the scenery and prepare to return. We took 3 hours on the way out and if we go at the same pace, it will be the same as we have taken on the way back.
When you arrive at the starting point, you will notice that the round trip took 7 hours. The walk is long but moderate and absolutely recommended. It is a unique trekking of spectacular landscapes with a final reward that is worth it.
It is better to spend the night on the beach, there are camping sites and bathrooms. Doing that you won't be in a hurry to walk and you will be able to enjoy more of this incredible corner of the island.
- For camping: tent, sleeping bag, stove, gas, pots, fork, knife, and food.
- Warm waterproof clothing (you never know when it's going to rain)
- Front headlight
- Other: sunglasses, sunscreen, first aid kit, insect repellent.
- Climate: rainy temperate with average annual temperatures of 11ºC and abundant rainfall.