March 3, 2018
The Chanquín region of the national park has the greatest number of hiking trails and is supposed to be the most accessible, about an hour drive from Castro on now paved roads. Though a newish looking road it is already starting to show wear and I don’t think it will be in very good condition for long.
It’s a pretty drive through the rural countryside, not unlike the rest of Chiloé, maybe a little more rural and rustic. The road runs along two large lakes. The first was calm when we arrived but by the time we reached the second the wind had it rocking like the sea.
The small national park office, with ample parking, is just where Lonely Planet said it was – about 1K after the Cucao bridge.
Pay the entrance fee, 4,000CLP($6USD)/person, get a map and start down the board walk. All the trails branch off this main boardwalk. For a day hike there aren’t a lot of options. We chose the path to the beach and dunes that starts near the small museum.
While not a great national park experience, it’s a pretty walk through a secondary forest off the dunes. The dunes here are a vegetated eco system and not really what you think of as a sand dune.
The flat beach with cows grazing on the grasslands was separated from shore by a dirty stream making it more of a destination for a walk rather than a real place to hang out.
It took us about an hour and half round trip with frequent stops looking at the plant life and taking photos. You could easily do it in an hour.
Still too early for lunch we stopped at the empanada place across the street from the park where a charming woman bakes up
great empanadas and kuchen and an old Dalmatian lounges on a red velvet pillow.