Capital of the Guaitecas municipality, Melinka is a town in the Guaitecas Archipelago, which is made up of more than 40 islands. Melinka is located on Ascensión Island and is one of the two oldest towns in the region, a title it shares with Raúl Marín Balmaceda.
The Chono people rowed along its coasts in ancestral times. More recently, its history has been tied to logging of Ciprés de las Guaitecas (Pilgerodendron), which brought the Russian Felipe Westhoff to the area in the middle of the 19th century. He named the town Melinka––»beloved»––in honor of his sister. Today, Melinka is known for its beautiful natural surroundings, its rich diversity of marine animals, and its preservation of traditional trades, like shingle-crafting and woodworking.

Lodging, Food, and Activities

There is lodging and food available in Melinka, in addition to various activities for visitors. Find out more at:

Region

Las Guaitecas

Province

Aysén

Population

1.800

Climate and Rainfall

Cold temperate climate and rainy along the western coast, with an average precipitation of 123 inches per year

Nearest National Park(s)

Melimoyu National Park

Corcovado National Park

Pumalín Douglas Tompkins National Park

Don’t Miss

  • Kayak along Melinka’s coasts, where you can see a large variety of marine fauna, including Sea Lions, Dolphins, Whales, and many different species of birds.
  • Visit Repollar, a rural town located on Ascensión Island, inhabited by people from Chiloé who moved there to work in the Cypress trade.
  • Enjoy curanto, a typical dish from the area.
  • Go to Melinka in the summer to participate in the traditional festivals.

How to get

Naviera Austral ferries run to Melinka three times a week on its Jacaf and Queulat boats, which transport both vehicles and passengers traveling by foot. The voyage from Quellón to Melinka takes around 5 hours, and the trip from Puerto Cisnes takes between 8 and 14 hours, depending on the day. Finally, the trip from Puerto Chacabuco to Melinka lasts around 28 hours.

Pewén and Aerocord offer three flights a day to Melinka, from Monday through Friday.

Aerial transport company San Rafael offers twice-weekly flights from Coyhaique to Melinka.

Tips

  • If it’s your first time visiting the area, we recommend only drinking bottled water or water that has been boiled. The water in Guaitecas has a yellowish color, due to the Tepú tree roots in the lake from which the water is pumped.
  • The company Guaiteca Austral sells diesel, gas, engine oil, and natural gas. Place your order at +569 87 744 516.
  • We recommend bringing cash; there are no banks on the island. Many shops and businesses also accept credit cards.
  • The best dates for visiting Guaitecas are between October and April, when the weather is milder.
  • In Melinka, transport options include a local bus, taxis, and private transportation services.
  • You can board Naviera Austral ferries in your vehicle. Remember to make your reservations in advance at www.navieraustral.cl / (+56) 65 2270 430; (+56) 65 2270 431; (+56) 65 2270 432.
  • To reserve flights from Puerto Montt, visit https://www.aerocord.cl or http://www.pewenchile.com/.
  • To reserve flights from Coyhaique, contact transport company San Rafael (18 de Septiembre 469, Coyhaique / +56 67 2573083; +56 67 2232048 / oficinas@123.cl).

Basic Services

  • Gas Station
  • “Caja Vecina” (Rural Bank Services)
  • Bank
  • Rural Health Services
  • Auto Repair Shop
  • Cell Service
  • Police Station
  • Visitor’s Center
  • Aerodrome

Visitor’s Center

Address

Mejillones S/N, Melinka

Phone

+56 67 243 16 97

Facebook

https://www.facebook.com/muniguaitecas/

Instagram

@guaitecasxi

Open year-round.

Important Dates

Celebración de San Pedro
From June 20–29 each year, the community hosts a celebration of Saint Peter.

Aniversario de Melinka
Locals celebrate Melinka’s anniversary during the second week of January.

Fiestas costumbristas de Repollal Bajo, Alto y Rucas de don Genaro.
The first two weeks of February, Repollar Bajo, Alto, and Rucas de Don Genaro hold their traditional festivals.

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