Castro, Isla Chiloe, Chile
UNESCO Churches of Chiloe
Local Sightseeing, All
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Approximately 5½ Hours
The Churches of Chiloé represent a successful fusion of indigenous and European culture, with full integration of architecture, landscape and environment. They are the surviving examples of an outstanding form of ecclesiastical wooden architecture, embodying the intangible riches of the Chiloé Archipelago and the spiritual values of its communities. Local craftsmen used shipbuilding techniques to build the churches entirely of wood, right down to the fasteners.
Leave the pier and proceed to Nercón, located south of Castro. Here, you will visit one of the already-restored churches of Chiloé -- Nuestra Señora de Gracia de Nercón, originally built in 1890. This one is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Continue to Dalcahue -- a picturesque village located 12 miles north of Castro -- and board the ferry to cross to the island of Quinchao. Just eight minutes later, you’ll step ashore at Curaco de Velez, whose heyday came and went with the cattle raisers and whalers of yesteryear. Today, beautiful houses remain as a testament to better times. Watch for black-necked swans along the coastal avenue -- they live here seasonally.
The road brings you to Achao -- a lively town founded as a Jesuit Residency in 1743. With around 2,500 inhabitants today, Achao is a busy little port. One of the highlights here is the church, which you will visit. It was built in 1730 and contains beautiful Baroque imagery. Afterwards, cross the main square to find a snack waiting for you at a café, along with some traditional music.
Crossing the channel back to Dalcahue, you’ll visit the handicraft market that sells interesting souvenirs made with local materials. Back in Castro, you’ll visit its church -- a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the most colorful churches of the archipelago.
Your guide will do his/her best to speak English, but please keep in mind that the remoteness of the port/limited tourism infrastructure here is part of the city’s charm, and bear with any language difficulties he/she may encounter.