Chiloe Island

Chiloe Island Itineraries:

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Chiloe Island


While many have never heard of southern Chile’s Chiloe, the island’s incredibly diverse ecosystem inspired famed scientist Charles Darwin to explore the area. Much of what Darwin saw in 1834 can still be seen today.

Bright green forests populate the entire western side of the island and a close-knit penguin colony makes its home on the north, while blue whales, dolphins, sea lions and sea otters are included in the list of marine life just of the islands shores. Because the island developed independently of the mainland, it was and remains largely free from the influences of colonialism and capitalism that marred the country’s modern big cities with urban spreads.


Chiloé has a cool climate and fresh breezy air that offers a pleasant alternative to the dry heat of Chile’s big cities. For years, it mostly served as a trek for tour buses, or young backpackers who didn’t mind the mind the 14-hour bus trip from Santiago to the coast, followed by a ferry journey. But the mystical island brimming with one-of-a-kind sightseeing and adventure activities prompted an airport construction in 2012, and the incredible coastline and fascinating culture became instantly easier to access.

Spanish Jesuits arrived on Chiloé in the 17th century and used local shipbuilders to construct their wooden chapels. The result is a land dotted with churches marked by domed roofs structured like ship hulls. The island is also coined by its strip of palafitos (brightly painted stilted houses). The stilts allow owners to work beneath their houses during low tides.


Local traditions are handed down by the island’s tribes: the Chonos, a nomadic seafaring tribe, and the Huilliche (part of the Mapuche population), who settled here from the mainland. Instead of doctors, shamans prescribe herbal concoctions and perform rituals to cure simple afflictions. Instead of police, bodies of witches deal with everything from small disputes between neighbors to misbehaving animals.

Often, the desire to stay within a witch’s good graces keeps people in check. Much of the islands daily life, in fact, is till explained by ancient mythology, especially the further away you get from the island’s main cities.

Chiloe Island is not the place for schedules or bustling, it’s a slow rhythm that’s meant to be taken in through listening to the people and allowing the history and culture to guide you.


Chiloe Island Accommodations


Tierra Chiloe
The historic Alvear Palace Hotel is situated in the most elegant neighborhood of Buenos Aires, La Recoleta. The junior suites are decorated in a French style with warm colored fabrics, comfortable furniture and armchairs.

Highlights of Chile


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