Where We Be
Chiloé Island, Chile
Chiloé is the second-largest island in Chile (after
Tierra del Fuego) and is known for having a laid-
back vibe and a cultural heritage different from the
rest of Chile. The island is steeped in fisherman
imagery and lore; even the cathedral ceilings look
like inverted boat hulls. Each town has its own
church, and the churches are unique enough, with
their wooden shingles and their odd construction
techniques (using wooden pegs instead of nails),
that several are UNESCO World Heritage sites.

It took us four hours to get from Puerto Varas to
Castro, Chiloé's main city, by bus and ferry. We
stayed at the lovely Palafito Hostel, a traditional
stilt-house located right over the water. We spent
our first day seeing Castro, enjoying the sun in a
place where rain is far more typical. That evening
we feasted on
curanto, the most famous of the
local seafood dishes for which Chiloé is known.

On our second day, we joined our new friend
Georgina from London (who we met at the hostel)
and visited three different nearby towns by bus –
Dalcahue, Curaco de Velez, and Achao. These
picturesque, sleepy little towns set amongst rolling
green hills give a good sense of what daily life is
like in Chiloé.
The cathedral in Castro (the exterior is currently being refurbished)
We loved the interior of the cathedral with its natural wood construction
At Octavio's in Castro, we tried Chiloé's most famous dish, "curanto," an odd mix of mussels, clams, sausage, chicken, pork, potatoes, pancakes, and broth
This is the unique-looking church in Curaco de Velez,
with its wood-shingled tower and A-frame nave
The last thing we expected to see on the sleepy island of Chiloé was a rap performance!
This young man rapped for us on the bus while it sat on the ferry. Stranger than fiction!
Claptrap palafito shed with colorful fishing boats in the background riding high on the tide
The cathedral in the tiny town of Achao is the oldest in Chiloé (built 1730). The ceiling looks like an inverted boat hull.
Note the fisherman peering out at the tourists from his boat
Weatherbeaten wooden shingles seen up close
Seafood is what Chiloé is all about when it comes to eating
Robin looks happy to be on a weekend getaway
Dog wondering when his dinner is served at Octavio's
We saw numerous examples of ship-like architecture in Castro
Smoke rises from palafitos in the morning as we say goodbye to Chiloé
Weatherbeaten "palafito" homes on stilts and colorfully painted boats are highlights in Castro
Rows of palafito homes set over the water in Castro create a tranquil scene
This is the living room of the lovely Palafito Hostel where we stayed for two nights in Castro
Traditional wooden shingles are found everywhere on Chiloé, carved into a variety of interesting geometrical patterns
We met a wonderful young woman named Georgie from London at our hostel and spent the day together visiting nearby local towns
It was a treat getting to stay in an actual palafito (the Palafito Hostel is the building with the white "Hostel" sign)
Huge changes in tide create mudflats for half of each day, temporarily stranding boats and leaving the palafitos high and dry
During the ferry ride to Chiiloe, we saw many sea lions following along in the wake of the boat
Colorful shingled home in Curaco de Velez
I think this photo captures the "fisherman mystique" of Chiloe