Exploring Chile’s Secret Island, Chiloé

January 25, 2015 3:55 AM

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Exploring Chile’s Secret Island, Chiloé

DARK CLOUDS threatened rain all morning as we hiked across a primordial landscape of lush green hills and through forests of wind-sculpted trees, ferns and exotic flora. “This is the last steep slope,” my guide, Carlos Toledo, said. “But it’s worth it.” Cresting the summit, we saw the clouds part and the sun shine through the last hint of mist. The vast expanse of the Pacific Ocean arced all around us, windswept beaches stretched north and south to the horizon and the barking of sunbathing sea lions rose from a craggy islet several hundred feet below.

After leading me to what might be the finest picnic spot in all of Chiloé, this 3,200-square-mile island just off the coast of Chile, Mr. Toledo pulled a blanket from his pack, followed by a thermos of butternut squash soup, fresh chicken sandwiches, brownies and a carafe of white Chilean wine. Surv...

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