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Chiloé Island (Spanish: Isla de Chiloé), also known as Greater Island of Chiloé (Isla Grande de Chiloé), is the largest island of Chiloé Archipelago off the coast of Chilemarker, in the Pacific Oceanmarker. The island is located in southern Chile, in the Los Lagos Regionmarker.


Ferry used between Chilean mainland and Chiloé Island.
Chiloé Island (8,394 km², 3241 sq mi), is the second largest island in Chile (and the fifth largest in South America), after the Isla Grande de Tierra del Fuegomarker. It is separated from the Chilean mainland by the Chacao Straitmarker ("Canal Chacao") to the north, and by the Gulf of Ancud (Golfo de Ancud) and the Gulf of Corcovadomarker (Golfo Corcovado) to the east; the Pacific ocean lies to the west, and the Chonos Archipelago lies to the south, across the Boca del Guafo. The island is 190 km (118 mi) from north to south, and averages 55–65 km wide (35 to 40 mi). The capital is Castromarker, on the east side of the island; the second largest town is Ancudmarker, at the island's northwest corner, and there are several smaller port towns on the east side of the island, such as Quellónmarker, Dalcahuemarker and Chonchimarker.

Chiloé Island and the Chonos Archipelago are a southern extension of the Chilean coastal range, which runs north and south, parallel to the Pacific coast and the Andes Mountains. The Chilean Central Valley lies between the coastal mountains and the Andes, of which the Gulfs of Ancud and Corcovado form the southern extension. Mountains run north and south along the spine of the island. The east coast is deeply indented, with several natural harbors and numerous smaller islands.


Panoramic Of Castro
Chiloe runs from 41º 47' S to 43º 26' S latitude, and has a humid, cool temperate climate. The western side of the island is rainy and wild, home to the Valdivian temperate rain forests, one of the world's few temperate rain forests. Chiloé National Park (Parque Nacional de Chiloé) is located on the Island's western shore and includes part of the coastal range. The eastern shore, in the rain shadow of the interior mountains, is warmer and drier.

Alfaguara Project

The northwestern of Chiloé Island has a great diversity of marine fauna, including blue whale, sei whale and humpback whale; Chilean dolphins and Peales dolphins; sea lions, marine otters, and Magellan penguin and Humboldt penguins.

Nevertheless, this relatively undisturbed area faces different threats, like urban development, habitat degradation, land and marine pollution.

The Alfaguara project (blue whale project), conducted by Cetacean Conservation Center seeks to effectively combine long term research, educational and capacity building programs with the objective of developing innovative marine conservation proposals oriented to safeguard the rich biodiversity of the area and guarantee the sustainable development of the communities involved.

Responsible marine ecotourism requires careful planning, management and scientific monitoring to guarantee the conservation of the area and generate long term benefits for the community. The Alfaguara Project, works closely with coastal communities to strengthen capacity building and establish clear objectives that can be implemented in the near future through appropriate management actions.

Learn more about the project in The Rufford Small Laing Foundation

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