Melinka, is the oldest town in the Region of Aysén, is located on the island Ascension, in front of the Port Raúl Marín Balmaceda, on the northern limit of the Region of Aysén.
Melinka is currently the most important town in the commune and the entire Guaitecas Archipelago made up of more than 40 islands and islets scattered in a territorial area of 459 km2, between the Moraleda channel and the Pacific Ocean; where a large part of this Archipelago integrates the beautiful Natural Reserve of the Guaitecas.
Its main attraction is that it is inside the places of transfer of the fantastic blue whale and impressive humpback whales; The only known place in the world where some rare specimens that managed to survive the whaling massacre meet. It is said that there are not more than 3,000 in all the seas of the world, but in Corcovado more than 150 have been seen and around 85 specimens have been identified by their fins.
No less wonderful is watching the playful dolphins that accompany the boats; like the great community of sea lions and penguins of Magellan. In addition to South American terns, petrels, and several species of gulls and cormorants abundant by these channels.
Ecotourism companies promote trekking routes through wet tundra trails, as well as the rescue of the traditions of the chonos, indigenous nomads that inhabited the island.
The Los Canales route and the Padre García route, approximately four hours away through the Melinka channels, allow you to appreciate the abundant flora and fauna of the archipelago and take a walk through the cypress forests that are preserved in the area; while the second, inspired by the trip made by a Jesuit priest in 1700, is sailed for five days from Melinka to the San Rafael lagoon, through the Guaitecas National Reserve.
Gastronomy plays an important role, since the island has a wide variety of products from the sea, where the king crab is one of its star products, as well as salmon and sea bass. It also highlights the native potato of Chiloé, which has adapted to the climatic conditions of the archipelago and which has become one of the protagonists of the local menu. The curanto or the saw to the stick, are a new way of cooking the fish using a stove and stakes of luma.
As for crafts, the older inhabitants still preserve the techniques of the jonquil weaving, with which they make various ornaments and objects.
Visitors can lodge in replicas of the rucas used by nomadic sailors, based on the knowledge of José Lepío, a former fisherman of the area and an indigenous descendant. Replicas of the huts where the chonos lived on the same conchales that they used as base of their homes.
There you can also learn the smoking of fish, a technique used by the natives to preserve their food. In addition, you can practice the fishing method used by the chonos, in which each of the fishermen hit the water with a stick to corral the fish and force them to go to where the network is.
Without a doubt, Melinka is a place where traditions, culture and the preservation of the ecosystem go hand in hand.