Our first day trip out of Castro was to an island called Lemuy Island.. which is an island just off the main island of Chiloé. We were going to check out some of the famous churches, and in order to do so, we would need to become masters of the public transport system in Chiloé… this is harder than it sounds, as similar to the rest of Chile, all bus services are privately run. Therefore there is no central bus timetable, as companies make up their own timetable, and also change them whenever they feel like it. If you are VERY LUCKY there will be a piece of paper taped to a wall with departure times – but of course only for that particular company – there still might be other buses. Also, these pieces of paper are not always very accurate. The more diligent tourist information offices will phone all the different bus companies and create an amalgamated timetable of sorts, but the slacker ones will just say ‘ask the bus company….’
To cut a long story short, we found that the only ‘source of truth’ about when buses will go comes from the bus drivers themselves. They always know for certain when THEY are going to be driving the bus 🙂 But also they usually know when their friend who drives for the other bus company will be driving as well…
Anyway, we managed to use the public buses to visit Lemuy Island and stop at 3 different locations without getting stranded – and also one location on the main island of Chiloé on the way back.
We really enjoyed this day out, it’s very rural and quiet on the island, and even CC was impressed enough to forgive the Lonely Planet for misleading her about Chiloé – saying ‘At last! this is what I thought Chiloé would be like….’
So, where did we go….? The first bus from Castro includes the ferry ride and went to Puqueldón, taking around 90 minutes.
We liked Puqueldón – it had a good church, a coastal location, and also a scenic viewpoint.
The next stop was Detif – this was our favourite stop – it was a tiny little place – pretty much just a church and a few houses…
After Detif, we headed to Ichuac…. Ichuac church was BIG… and it looked a little like the Detif church, but without as much charm…we declared this church to be ‘average’… yes, we have a very sophisticated rating system for the churches that doesn’t take into account any aspects of the churches architecture – it’s based on ‘do we like the look of it?’
This church also happened to be open, so we got to look inside…
Ichuac was our last stop on Lemuy Island, and we had a bit of a wait for the bus to take us off the island. We entertained ourselves by looking at a pig…
So, after the ferry back from Lemuy, there was one more stop on the main island before heading back to Castro, and that was Chonchi.
Chonchi felt VERY BIG after all the little island towns, so it was not as charming, but the church was in some pretty cool colours.
All in all, we had a great day – it was really enjoyable visiting all the different towns with their wooden churches, and so the next stage was to draw up a hitlist of all the different churches that we could get to using the public bus system… yes… even more churches awaited us!