Shrouded in local myths and legends, Chiloé is Chile‘s second largest island after Tierra del Fuego. Though a relatively unknown and less travelled destination, it has a wild stealing beauty, quaint fishing harbours, and a simple way of south Patagonia life which combine to form a uniquely alluring place.
A short visit is enough to take in Chiloé’s beautiful countryside of rolling emerald hills, often cloaked in a haze of mist, small picturesque coves and colourful fishing boats bobbing in the harbour. Famous colourful ‘palifito’ houses that are mounted on stilts surround the water’s edge and can be seen dotted around the island. Your stay here offers a chance to take in a mix of over 180 neoclassical Bavarian styled churches. Crafted by the island’s ship-builders, these UNESCO World Heritage Sites have been constructed almost entirely out of wood and shingles, the shape of their roofs mirroring the curves of a ship’s hull.
The islanders make you feel welcome, as very friendly and hardy people, who still work long days in the fields with oxen or pulling in their catch of the day, as they have done for generations. There’s delectably fresh seafood (the shell fish stew ‘curanto’ is a particular favourite), and the market is a vibrant place to interact with the locals. They produce some beautiful handicrafts too.
What to do
- Boat trips
- Visit Chiloe National Park
- Whale watching
- Visit the intricate churches