A land of myths and magic, filled with fascinating nature from wild thick forest to salty Pacific cliffs. A place called home by fierce seafering people, 41 – island archipelagos, 16 wooden neoclassic style churches, and around 150 species of birds. Ladies and gentleman you have reached, La Isla Grande de Chiloé .
Wake up to rolling hills shrouding in the mist and the sunrise peeking through your window. Colorful palettes of wooden fishing skiffs and picturesque coves are just walking distance away from Castro’s main square. Your day awaits. Chiloé welcomes you.
Meet Jose (a friend and previous coworker of Ando Andes), for all your tour and transportation needs around la Isla Grande. Jose is knowledgeable, well prepared for any weather condition and a wonderful bi-lingual guide. Just a short distance from Plaza de Armas is Joses’ team, look for the beautifully engraved wooden door and you made it to, Siempre Verde, pop in or shoot him an email before heading over.
Parque Nacional Chiloe: This park has two sections, the first being a dense intact forest covered with tepu trees (Tepulalia stipularis), and the other rolling plains with views of the Pacific. Take a hike along El Tepual Trail connected to the Chanquin Visitor Center (GREAT BATHROOOMS), look out for the rare pudú (miniature deer) and the Chilote fox (Darwin fox). Within the national park is La Muelle de Las Almas, to get here head southwest of Cucao, passed the black beach, and look out for signs for Muelle de Las Almas (bikes allowed) . Keep on the lookout for indigenous birds found only in Chiloe (Jose has a wonderful bird book, and also very knowledgeable of the various types found in the area and will point out birds along the tours).
Palafitos of Castro: Stroll along the charming palafitos that are lined up along the waters edge. These traditional dwellings sit on precarious stilts, that fishermen, hotel and café owners call home.
- There are two sectors: Plafitos de Gamboa (leaving downtown Castro head south) and Palafitos de Pedro Montt (closer to the plaza near the port of Castro).
Churches of Chiloe: There are 80 churches in Chiloe that were built between 1730 and 1915 which were initiated by the Jesuit Mission. Sixteen of these churches are protected under the UNESCO World Heritage. What I found most interested is how the churches are distinguished by boat-building techniques achieved by the local farmers, sailors, and fishermen. They used their main resource (wood), worked together and built some of the most architectural unique churches I have ever laid my eyes on.
The Church of Quinchao, largest church in Chiloe, built by a fusion of the European Jesuits and native local people. One of sixteen churches registered as part of the World Heritage Sites. Tyler looking off toward the east.
La Igelisia San Francisco (Church of Castro)
This brightly colored church can’t be missed as its facade is painted in vibrant yellow with accents of purple, quite bizarre but adds color to Plaza de Armas. I remember I entered this church on a gloomy morning but could sense the overwhelming sense of comfort and warmth once inside. This one is different than the others because it was designed by an Italian architect to be built in solid materials, but was reinterpreted by local carpenters and built in native wood.
Accommodation: I tried yet another WorkAway.info experience here while staying at Hostal Entretinido. For breakfast and lodging accommodation I painted a bathroom and re-did some photos on HostalWorld.com for my good friend/owner, Sylvia. If you are ever make it to this enchanting island tucked off the southern coast of Chile, please book here. Cheers! See you guys!