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Chiloé

Just off the coast of the Carretera Austral sits Chiloé. Chiloé is made up of nearly 100 islands, of which only 30 or so are inhabited. Modern development is slowly starting to filter through to the islands from the mainland, but the way of life is still very traditional—people still live in houses on stilts on the shore, and there are wooden churches and chapels on every corner.

The main island, Chiloé, is the entry point for most tourists (by boat from Pargua on the mainland). Measuring 200 kilometers by 75 kilometers (124 mi by 47 mi), Chiloé is the second largest island in South America, after Tierra del Fuego.

Parque Nacional de Chiloé, on the west coast, is the reason most people visit (p. 376). The park is very accessible to visitors, with numerous hiking trails meandering through the dense coastal rainforest. Castro, the island’s capital, makes a good base for exploring the park as it is close by and tours can be arranged in the town (p. 370). You can also stay at Ancud, a lively little fishing town in the north, which is always bustling with activity and certainly worth a visit, even if you don’t spend the night there (p. 365).

All of the inhabited islands are visitable by boat, although some are harder to get to than others. Isla Quinchao and Isla Lemuy are just off the mainland, and easily accessible by bus. You can visit them in a day, but many people choose to stay a few days just to chill out and enjoy the slow pace of life.









04 Dec 2006

Adventures in Chiloé

Kayaking at Dead Tree Valley

104776Kayaking in the wetlands of the Dead Tree Valley, in Chepu, 35 km south-west of Ancud, is a great way to peacefully navigate the rivers and observe the wildlife. A six-hour trip can be organized by ...
Kayaking
Ancud, Chile

Museo de Arte Moderno de Chiloé

127948Founded in 1988, and housed inside a series of barns, the Castro art museum (known by its acronym, “MAM”) focuses on local and national contemporary works. If the paintings aren’t to your ...
Museum
Castro, Chile

Iglesia San Francisco

127947Near the plaza, its faded yellow and purple-tipped spires dominating the Castro cityscape, Iglesia San Francisco will almost certainly be the first thing to catch your eye when you come in to town. ...
Historical Building
Castro, Chile

Museo Regional de Castro

127946Scheduled to be moved to more spacious (and rather unattractive) digs along the waterfront, Castro’s free local history museum has a lot crammed into a little space. Pay particular attention to the ...
Museum
Castro, Chile

Feria Artesanal

127945Though much of Castro’s feria artesanal has the same wood trinkets that seem to be offered at every fair in Chile, the main hall also has a nice selection of wool socks, scarves, hats and jackets, ...
Market
Castro, Chile

Isla Quinchao

127706Five minutes on a ferry from Dalcahue, and thus within easy striking distance from Castro, Quinchao is one of Chiloé’s most visited (and largest) islands, though it maintains a virgin, ‘even ...
Other Activity
Castro, Chile

Museo Regional Aurelio Bórquez Canobra (Museo Regional de Ancud)

127676The Museo Regional de Ancud is small, but nevertheless fits in an impressive collection of artifacts and exhibits, which weave together the islands’ history from the indigenous past through the ...
Museum
Ancud, Chile

Fuerte San Antonio

127675Fuerte San Antonio, the last Spanish foothold in Chile, fell to local forces in 1826. The site could desperately use some explanatory plaques with historical context, since the area is little more ...
Other Activity
Ancud, Chile

Palafitos

127949Chiloé’s answer to Venice, the palafitos, are coastal houses perched on wooden stilts. They are an iconic part of the island’s architecture, and there’s no better place to see them than in ...
Historical Building
Castro, Chile

Pinguinera Puñihuil

There are other places in Chile to see penguins (further south, and also near La Serena), but the Puñihuil islands, off of Chiloé’s west coast, are home to both Magellanic and Humboldt species. A ...
Other Activity
Ancud, Chile

Quaint buildings of Chiloé

Iglesia San Francisco

127947Near the plaza, its faded yellow and purple-tipped spires dominating the Castro cityscape, Iglesia San Francisco will almost certainly be the first thing to catch your eye when you come in to town. ...
Historical Building
Castro, Chile

Palafitos

127949Chiloé’s answer to Venice, the palafitos, are coastal houses perched on wooden stilts. They are an iconic part of the island’s architecture, and there’s no better place to see them than in ...
Historical Building
Castro, Chile
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