Telephone code: 65
A charming traditional timber town with well-preserved architecture, intoxicatingly tranquil Chonchi is an ideal place to relax. The town has a solid array of attractions, dining and lodging options. Chonchi is also the traditional home of ChiloĂ©â€™s unique licor de oro (gold liquor), a brandy-based concoction, which mixes milk, lemon rind and saffronâ€”you have almost certainly never tried anything like it before. It can be had for $4 a bottle at the artisansâ€™ market, next to the townâ€™s fabulously bright yellow and sky-blue church, which itself is worth a visit.
Chonchi is easy to reach, since minibuses make the half-hour trip to and from Castro every 15 minutes during the day. The trip costs $1.15.
Clean and quiet, Hospedaje Skorpio (IrarrĂˇzabal 181, Tel: 56-65-671575) has rooms starting at $11, which includes breakfast. Ask for one with a view of the sea. No alcohol is allowed on the premises. Next to the Museo de las Tradiciones Chonchinas, Hotel Huildin (Centenario 102, Tel: 56-65-671388, www.hotelhuildin.cl) is also a solid choice, with rooms from $11 in low season (or $14 with breakfast included), to $48 a night for a six-person cabin. All have private bathrooms, and parking is available.
Perched above the water at the end of Chonchiâ€™s new central market, Ballena Azul offers attractive views and reasonably priced lunch menus and pizzas (try one with a seafood topping for $6.50). The restaurant accepts both U.S. dollars and euros. For cheaper, simpler and faster fare, including empanadas and fried chicken, head to PicĂˇ El Chanchito (Centenario 211).