Isla Cochrane Island is an unspoiled, pristine nature reserve located in the Bay of Concepcion, just off the coast of Chile. With a stunning coastline, crystal-clear water, and lush forests, Isla Cochrane Island is a haven for nature lovers who want to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. The island is home to a wide variety of wildlife, including elephants, lemurs, tamarins, and tapirs.
There are also plenty of hiking trails that take visitors on scenic tours through the forest and along the coastline.
Isla Cochrane Island History
Isla Cochrane island was first discovered by Spanish explorer Juan Fernández in 1535. The island was named after Scottish naval officer Andrew Cochrane, who captured a Spanish ship off the coast of Chile in 1794. Isla Cochrane became a nature reserve in 1977, and is now an important sanctuary for threatened wildlife.
What to See & Do
There are several beautiful hiking trails on Isla Cochrane Island that take visitors through lush forests and along the coastline. Some of the highlights include visits to hotspots such as La Laguna de los Tamarins, a small, freshwater lake that is home to a colony of fifty different species of monkey and three dozen waterfowl. The island also has many eucalyptus trees, which are protected at Isla Cochrane due to their ecological value.
There is no permanent electricity on the island, so visitors should bring a flashlight if they plan to stay overnight on the island during low-tide times when moonlight can illuminate parts of the forest paths after dark. Another option for visiting Atalayas shelter (a private family compound near La Laguna de los Tama’ins ) is by boat, or with a guided tour, as visitor access can be limited.
The island has a tropical climate, with average high temperatures around 28 degrees Celsius and lows of 18 degrees Celsius. The island experiences a lot of rainfall, which averages 1,000 mm per year. Camping on Isla Cochrane island is a unique experience, with no electricity present and limited access to potable water.
Often, visitors camp close to their boat for safety reasons as the island can be susceptible to marine wildlife attacks during certain times of day (nocturnal) or night. A number of campsites are located throughout Atalaya village; however, all require advance reservations.
Isla Cochrane island is a primarily Christian island, where the main religion practiced is Catholicism. Visitors can enjoy shopping in the small market near La Laguna de los Tamarins or visiting one of several churches on the island, each with its own distinctive architecture.
The primary language spoken on Isla Cochrane is Spanish, although there are a number of indigenous groups present as well (mostly Selknam Indians). English speakers will likely need to learn some basic vocabulary before arriving on the island.
Isla Cochrane is a self-governing island, with its own government and legislative assembly. The head of government is the mayor, who is elected by popular vote. Visitors should be aware that politics can be sensitive on Isla Cochrane; as such, it’s best to avoid discussing controversial topics in public.
Suggested tour itineraries include island hopping, or the following day expedition to see Chaitu Bay. Both trips can be done in around 4-6 hours of island time (8 – 10 hour boat trip).
The island is serviced by a small medical clinic, which can provide basic care for minor illnesses. There are no banks or other major businesses on the island, so visitors will need to bring their own supplies of food and water.
Fishing, Wildlife And Flora
Most of the island’s fishing grounds are located in Chaitu Bay, where you can expect to catch a variety of species such as rockfish (Protoreastes jordani). You may also see sea lions during your visit. Isla Cochrane is exceptionally rich in wildlife and forest birds, with populations of boobies, eagles, and condors.
Daubed wall geckos are a common sight on the island’s arid slopes (as they are throughout Isla Sirena), while hummingbird grasshoppers can be found on hanging wisteria vines over verdant streams.
Visitors must have a valid passport and visa to enter Isla Cochrane; both can be obtained from your local embassy or consulate. The island is open 365 days per year, although during peak season (July – September) arrivals are often met with long lines at the border checkpoints.
Isla Cochrane is a relatively new tourist destination, and although there are still some areas where tourists are not welcome, the island has seen significant development in recent years. As such, most visitors will find the island to be well-managed and welcoming. There is no public transport on the island, so tourists will need to rent a vehicle for travel.
Isla Cochrane Island is located in the Gulf of California, about 160 km off the coast of Baja California. It is part of the Municipality of San Ignacio de Loyola, within the Los Algodones region. The island has an area of 2.8 km², the total population is 102 persons and it has a school and a health center. Main economic activities are fishing, tourism and agriculture.
1.What Is The Weather Like On Isla Cochrane Island?
Ans: The island has a warm, temperate climate with cool breezes in the morning and evenings. The average temperature ranges from 20°C to 26°C.
2.What Kind Of Wildlife Can I Expect To See On Isla Cochrane Island?
Ans: Some of the animals that you are likely to see include tapirs, lemurs, tigers, eagles, jaguars and elephants.
3.Are There Any Specific Attractions On Isla Cochrane Island That I Should Visit?
Ans: There are several good tours that you can take to learn about the island, including a nature trail completed throughout the island. There is also a small tourist dock where visitors will be able to get on boats and go out on excursions around the island or along its coastline, which includes Capo Coderoas Island and Isla Wechele.
4.What Are Your Costs Of Living? How Much Do I Need To Bring With Me Each Time I Visit Cihrane Island?
Ans: The currency used there is called Pesos Chilenos (CLP). The minimum amount budget for 3 days would be around $230.00 US, which would include a week’s worth of food and beverages for three people.
5.Can I Visit Isla Cochrane Island During The Rainy Season?
Ans: Yes, but bear in mind that it can be a bit wet and muddy.