On the southeastern coast of the Isla Grande, Quellón (population 13,656) is 92 kilometers south of Castro via the Panamericana, which becomes Calle Ladrilleros as it enters town. The townsite rises steeply above the sheltered harbor. Most points of interest and services are on or near the Costanera Pedro Montt, which runs along the shoreline.
Unlike many settlements on the Isla Grande, the port of Quellón is a 20th-century town that really only came into its own after an alcohol and acetone distillery, using native woods from dense nearby forests, installed itself here in 1905. After the 1960 tsunami, most of its inhabitants moved to higher ground away from the port, which is home to a small fishing fleet but is no longer a ferry port to continental Chiloé and Aisén. It is technically the Chilean terminus of the Panamericana, though an alternative route goes farther south in Argentine Patagonia.
Having lost part of its ferry traffic to Castro,Quellón is hoping for a tourist influx because of the presence of a large blue whale feeding colony in the waters to the southwest.
Naviera Austral (Pedro Montt 457, tel. 065/682207, www.navieraustral.cl) sails to Chaitén Wednesday and Friday on either of two ferries, the Alejandrina or Pincoya. Fares range from US$21 pp for fixed seats to US$27 pp for reclining seats. Vehicle rates are US$120 for passenger vehicles and small trucks, plus US$11 for the driver, and US$29 per linear meter for other vehicles; bicycles cost US$11 and motorcycles US$24.
© Wayne Bernhardson from Moon Chile, 2nd edition