Muelle De Las Almas: The Most Beautiful Place on Chiloé Island, Chile
With its unique wooden churches, pasture lands, penguin colony, breathtaking coastline, and peaceful rural life, Chiloé has provided visitors with a unique experience in Patagonia. However, one of the most beautiful but hard to reach attractions in Chiloé is Muelle De Las Almas (as known as the Bridge of Souls).
Muelle De Las Almas information and story
Located in the north end of Chiloé Island, Muelle De Las Almas is a gorgeous destination for nature lovers because of its remote location, stunning seascapes, and the artistic wooden structures that are designed by Marcelo Oredana Rivera, a Chilean wood sculpture and art professor in Santiago.
For geographic buffs, Muelle De Las Almas will definitely capture your attention, as the highest cliff there all of a sudden became separated during Valdivia’s earthquake in 1960.
Another reason that makes Muelle De Las Almas special is that it is a place to pay homage to the local traditions, myths, and ancient beliefs. The story starts with Mapuches, indigenous inhabitants in southern Chile who believe that the soul of the deceased will travel to Muelle De Las Almas to meet the trempulcahue (a grumpy fisherman) whose job is to carry them into the sea for the next life. The same as Kharon in Greek mythology, a small turquoise stone as a fee has to be paid to the trempulcahue for passage. Those who are unable to pay are left in torment and linger along the sea cliffs. There is a saying that in Mulle De Las Almas, you will hear the mournful voices of souls that were left with the sound of the waves and the wind.
How to get to Muelle De Las Almas
A budget-saving option is to take the bus from the bus terminal. In Castro where I stayed, there is a bus that leaves around 10-11am and it takes 90 minutes to travel to Muelle De Las Almas. The bus is not frequent and can only take a limited number of passengers. To return to Castro, you will have to take the 2:30 pm or 5 pm bus.
Please note that the bus only drops you at the ticket office in Cucao. From there, you need to hike 45 minutes to reach Muelle De Las Almas.
The hiking trails
The trail to Muelle De Las Almas is a leisurely one. I walked in the remote area surrounded by beautiful nature where bird species, organic farms, coffee plantations, virgin forests, verdant hills, and cows were my only company. The stunning coastline and sea cliffs were visible in some parts of the walk, and it was fantastic to make periodic stops and appreciate the sweeping ocean view.
Chiloé has rainfall 300 days a year, but the weather was gorgeous the day I went, which made this hike a heavenly experience.
The only downside of this trail is that it is poorly maintained with swamps and mud in parts that I have to hoop around. The walk is easy but the trail is not flat so it is not ideal for wheelchairs. Regardless, this is one of the prettiest hikes I had in Patagonia and it is a world away from the other parts of Chiloé.
Arriving in Muelle De Las Almas
The prize for this two-hour trip came to me the moment I set my eyes on Muelle De Las Almas. I was still on the last part of the hike, but the sweeping ocean views and the bridge of the souls on the lush green panorama along the wild coast made every visitor have a “wow” moment.
There were not many people arriving at this place so we all had a picnic there and enjoyed being in this small paradise in this far-flung destination on our own. Everyone took a walk on the wooden bridge overlooking the Pacific cliffs, and there were neither sea creatures nor fisherman in sight. I walked to the end of the bridge and tried getting as close to the sea as possible. There was occasionally wind coming up with the sound of the waves. Standing on the bridge, I had mixed feeling of mystery, seclusion, and serenity while being astonished by the breathtaking vistas.
As much as I wanted to spend the rest of my day there, I had to catch the 2:30 pm bus to return to Castro. However, if you wish to see the best of Muelle De Las Alams, I highly recommend that you rent a car and stay there for the sunset. Although I stayed there for less than an hour, I thoroughly enjoyed the hike and the serene beauty there, and even a glimpse of the Bridge of the Souls made the 2-hour travel worthwhile.
Tips for visiting Muelle De Las Almas
What to wear and bring: Wear waterproof shoes, as you will be walking in the forest, which has mud and swamps. The heat there was a bit intense, so bring sunscreen. If you take the bus, make sure to bring water and your own food.
On the drive: please do not drive your car beyond the parking lot where the hike begins. If you do, your car will definitely get stuck and the only way to get your car out is to get a horse or cow to help. This has happened before and it was not fun.
Length of your stay: I recommend spending at least two days in Chiloe to visit this place. It takes three to four hours one-way travel to Chiloé from Puerto Varas. Once you are on Chiloe, you need to take the local bus to Muelle De Las Almas. The weather is unpredictable and it rains a lot on the island so factor this into your trip planning as well.
If you are looking for a place to stay in Castro Chiloe, check out La Minga Hostel. I stayed there for three nights. Although I found the room was quiet, the friendly staff and the cozy atmosphere made up for it. They have a well-equipped kitchen, complimentary breakfast, and efficient laundry service.
Cruz Del Dur has regular service between Chiloe and Puerto Varas and the cost is CLP 8,000 one way.
I also purchase travel insurance from World Nomad before I go on any trips to cover unexpected accidents and sickness. I highly recommend it because it is affordable and the service is reliable.
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