How we saw Penguins on Chiloe (Ancud) without booking an expensive tour

Some people might know that I would like to embark on a trip to Antarctica. Not because I like snow or freezing temperatures that much but because I love Penguins. They are just awesome in every way. Way too clumsy to climb up a hill but determined to make it anyway. They are great parents and stay together for life. And okay, I’ll admit it, they are very, very cute.

Looking for a Penguin tour

You can see those amazing animals right here on Chiloe, a huge Chilean island. We are camping there, more specificly in Castro, because our friend Berend currently lives there.

In Castro there are numerous tour operators offering tours to the largest Penguin colony, 45 minutes outside Ancud. The prices vary from 45.000 to 85.000 CLP per person and often include a snack and a tour around Ancud as well. Since this is about 60 to 114 Euro’s we suddenly had doubts about even going.

Making our own tour

Since a little Spanish goes a long way, we asked around and Googled other possibilities. It turned out to be pretty easy to get there on our own, so we thought we’d provide you with our personal tour itinerary.

Bus from Castro to Ancud

Buses leave every half hour or so from the terminal de buses in Castro, located on the San Martin, next to supermercado O’Higgins. It takes about 1.5 hours and 1500 CLp to get to Ancud

Bus from Ancud to Puñihuil

When you arrive in Ancud, just walk about 15 minutes from the terminal de buses to the terminal rural de buses. This is on Colo Colo, in the same building as supermercado Unimarc. Buses leave on the hour and take about 45 minutes and 2000 CLP.

From the beach to the Penguins

Your mini-bus will stop right at the beach. Here you can choose which operator you want to go with. They pretty much look and charge the same, about 7000 CLP. Keep an eye out for operators that want to quickly fill the last spots on their boat, they might offer a cheaper price (5000 CLP) and your boat leaves right away. Win-Win.

The boat trip lasts about 30 to 45 minutes and includes a Spanish speaking guide. If you are lucky, like we were, you will not only see two different types of Penguins, but also Sea lions and Condors. The proof is in the pictures.

Getting back to Ancud

This might be a bit tricky because no one seems to know exactly when and from where the mini-bus returns to Ancud. Either ask the driver or look for small tour busses that aren’t full yet. They will take you back to Ancud for the same price of the public transport bus but even faster.

Total for our tour

Instead of at least 60 Euro’s per person, getting from Castro to the Penguïns and back only cost us 12.000 CLP or about 17 Euro’s per person.

Our next step

At the time of writing, we are preparing to embark on an boat to Puerto Chacabuco and move on to Coyhaique. From there we will start the 4d/3n Cerro Castillo trek.

Of course, we will tell you more about that when we get back to wifi land.

♥ Dagmar

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