Located off the west coast of Chile is the misty, 41-island archipelago known as Isla Grande de Chiloé. It is here where the native Huilliche and the Spaniards driven from the mainland by the Mapcuhe’s 1598 rebellion melded into a harmonious community. Today, you will find a mestizo society of some 200,000 seafaring people, whose culture, architecture, religion and daily life reflect a unique mixture of indigenous, Spanish and German influences.
Although the island spent a good deal of its history in isolation (the mainland only a mile away at its nearest point), Chiloé today, with its hearty seafood stew ‘curanto;’ more than 70 beautiful, Jesuit-built wooden churches (16 of them UNESCO World Heritage sites); and its vibrantly-painted palafitos (houses mounted on stilts) along the water’s edge, is fast becoming one of Chile’s choice travel destinations. You will find a new airport, affording easy access from the mainland; small fishing villages and luxury hotels; local handicrafts markets; and sophisticated restaurants in addition to a slowly but surely developing tourism infrastructure, all making for a charmingly-rustic locale.
The island is teeming with lush landscapes and fascinating nature, from wild beaches to dense forests and remote national parks. Delight in the wildlife found along the island’s rocky coast, including penguins, whales, dolphins and sea otters, while other opportunities such as horseback riding, kayaking and bird-watching abound.