A small lithography school in the Chilean island is yielding marvelously intricate works, but needs support to restock dwindling supplies.
This Dreamy Chilean Island Is Home to Colorful Houses, Stunning Scenery, and the World’s Smallest Deer; Hannah Freedman; Travel + Leisure
A pint-sized city of wooden houses and churches within a verdant Chilean archipelago – an expert guide to Castro, Chiloé; Chris Moss; Telegraph
This guide to Chiloe Island will help you choose between penguins, stilted houses, and old wooden churches when you visit Chiloe in the lakes district of southern Chile.
Chiloé is an undiscovered enchantment blessed in nature, rural landscapes, delicious seafood and colourful UNESCO churches.
This windswept archipelago is located in the south of Chile and is the largest island in the country.
Arriving from the high urban sophistication that is Santiago, we immediately noticed the distinctive changes in architecture. Colourful houses sit on stilts along the water edges, covered by traditional wood shingles, which is also the theme for many stylish small hotels and restaurants dotted around the island’s capital, Castro.
But perhaps, more striking are the iconic wooden churches, 16 of which are UNESCO world heritage sites found all around the island.
The rich culture, friendly Chilotes (the name given to locals) and peacefully stunning nature, give this isle a truly distinctive identity in South America.
What to do in Chiloé
Castro is the cosy capital of the Chiloé Province. It is home to the UNESCO San Francisco Church located next to the main plaza, just look out for the flamboyant yellow coloured building and you’ll see it.
Out of 70 churches built using this technique, 16 survived the centuries.
Off the coast of Chile, the archipelago of Chiloé rises from the Pacific—a region distinguished for its rolling countryside, large wool-producing community, and the birthplace of the country’s salmon industry.
The arrival of the missionary Jesuits in the 17th century brought a distinct architectural style of churches. Combining building techniques from Spain with Chiloé’s ancestral carpenters’ wooden boat construction, they fashioned nailless churches.
In place of iron nails, reinforced wooden joints hold the buildings in place, mimicking the techniques used for the construction of ships. Unlike classical Spanish colonial buildings that used Baroque and Renaissance architecture and imported materials from Spain, the churches are made from locally sourced Larch and Cypress wood from the islands. This all-wood technique is believed to have provided insulation from the southern Chilean chill.
A group of islands once visited by Charles Darwin could soon find itself at one end of Latin America’s longest bridge – but not everyone there is happy about it.