Castro, Isla Chiloe, Chile
Churches of Chiloe & the City of Castro
USD USD USDPrice between $101-$150
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Approximately 3½ Hours
Visit Castro -- one of the most interesting cities on Chiloé Island. Chiloé is South America’s second-largest island (after Tierra del Fuego) and was visited by Charles Darwin by 1838. It was first inhabited by Chonos Natives (now extinct) and Mapuches from the north. A blend of Native and Spanish conquistador genes gave rise to the Chilotes -- the people of Chiloé.
Chilote culture was heavily influenced by the Jesuit missionaries who arrived in 1608 and stayed for 160 years. They built chapels everywhere -- more than 150 in all. Sixteen of these chapels are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site -- among them the Church of Chonchi and the Cathedral of Castro. You will visit both today.
Set out on a drive towards Chonchi. It’s known as 'the three-story town' because its houses form a step-like arrangement on the hillside. The first building here was a Jesuit mission built in 1754 and the construction of the church followed. Visit the church and past the colorful wooden houses to visit the small, but interesting, Museum of Traditions.
Driving back to Castro, you will head to the Gamboa Viewpoint overlooking the Gamboa River. From here you can appreciate the palafitos -- wooden houses built on stilts over the water. This is very typical Chiloéan architecture. Visit the San Francisco Cathedral in Castro, built in 1906 and lined outside with zinc-iron plates.
Enjoy a little time to browse at the interesting and colorful handicraft market of Castro en route back to the pier.