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Chiloé, Chile – A Photo Essay

Our favorite spot in Chile did not include the striking mountains of Patagonia or the prime surfing beaches of the north.  Although we enjoyed our time in both of these regions, we quickly fell in love with the island of Chiloé, and will eagerly show you why.  Last week we teased you with a photo of a deserted oyster bar we visited there;  this week we introduce you to the rest of our adventure!

Chiloé is the largest island off the coast of Chile and is only accessible by ferry.  On the main island we stayed in Castro and rented a car to explore some of the surrounding islands.  We were startled by the variety in scenery and charmed by the easy going and friendly nature of the inhabitants.  At once it reminded us of Atlantic Canada, and the people came complete with their own dialect that was near impossible to understand (the Spanish version of Newfie!)

Word is getting out about this little gem. Yahoo has listed the island as one of the top ten islands to visit before you die. We are glad that we got to it before it’s swarming with tourists.


The Palofitos (houses on stilts) stretch along the shorelines of Castro, the capital of Chiloé.

Palofitas in Castro, Chile

The 60 churches on the island are all UNESCO Heritage Sites and were built using only nature’s resources (wood) in the 16th and 17th century by the native Indians and Jesuits.

Castro Church - Castro, Chiloe - UNESCO Heritage Site

A lone fisherman stands in his boat during low tide waiting for his daily catch

The lone fisherman - Castro, Chiloe

A fisherman memorial statue in the middle of the church courtyard

Fisherman statue

A local house with their sheep lazily wandering outside.

Simple life

The hike to see the Pacific lined with yellow leaved trees.

Path to the Sea

A lone wild horse possibly guarding the path? He let us pass.

Need a lift?

The cliffs in the distance and the crashing waves made for a spectacular sight as we crossed through a marsh, making our own path to the beach.

The view of the Pacific

Untouched sand and brush led us to the beach


The water created a mirror on shore and highlighted all the oyster shells.  Not another soul around.

Oyster beach

A piece of wood stands alone, admiring the view.

Standing alone

54 Comments (Add Yours)

  1. Definitely will be adding this to our Chile itinerary list. Considering we have done almost no research on Chile yet, the total item on this list is… 1. Might have to bug you guys again for some advices on Chile soon :)

    • Haha, glad to kick off the Chile list! If there is one reco we will make about Chile, it is here. We loved it. Bug us all you want, we can mostly give you advice from Arica and then Santiago southward. Ayngelina ( is in Northern Chile at the moment and can give more advice on that region.

  2. LOVE the pics! You have quite an artistic eye with the camera!

  3. Beautiful photos! I really like the second one – it has such a vintage feel to it.
    Christy @ Technosyncratic recently posted..Photo of the Week- Southwestern Mountain Range

    • Thank you! All the churches in Chiloé had this feel to them, and really cool how they were built with wood and NO NAILS. Really interesting how they have remained in tact over all these years. We had no idea that they were a UNESCO heritage site, and it was a nice surprise for us.

  4. These pictures are beautiful! The sand picture especially looked good. I think I just want to sit on it and breath.
    Debbie – European Travelista recently posted..Gothic Architecture of Europe

    • Thanks Debbie. The hike to the ocean was spectacular and we did not want to leave. We spent a good deal of time just wandering around, getting our feet wet and just enjoying the surroundings.

  5. Gorgeous photos! We really wanted to go to Chiloe but didn’t have time – I remember you telling us it was your favourite discovery. Glad I got to see what it looks like!
    Andrea recently posted..Patagonia’s Gauchos- The Cowboy Way Photo Essay

  6. Gorgeous shots! I’m inspired to go on a hike now.. Especially love the one of the horse “guarding” the path.
    Christine recently posted..My First Arabic Spa Experience

  7. You gotta get a stumble button on these posts so I can more easily share them with the world.
    The NVR Guys recently posted..Travelogue – avoiding “Memory” in Prague

  8. Wow, amazing photographs! Now I really want to go there once I get to Chile. Hope to find some great oysters, too.

    • Thanks Sherry! It really is worth the trip, pretty untouristy and just an awesome laid back feel to it. We actually also stayed in one of the palafitos (third house from the right on the first photo is a hostel).

  9. Wow that’s really beautiful! Is the island more expensive than the mainland?
    Jasmine recently posted..World- Meet Chapinero

    • Slightly. Chile overall is quite expensive (compared to other spots in SA). Example – we could usually find a reasonable double room for about $40 anywhere (except Patagonia, much more pricey), and on Chiloe we paid $50 to stay in one of the palafitos. That being said, we also bought 2kgs of mussels for less than $2 – a very cheap dinner we made back at the hostel!

  10. That island looks like it has everything. Great photos!

    (P.S. I’m a Newfie so I hope you understood what I just typed above…:) )
    Raymond recently posted..Travel Photo of the Week — Hijacking Hotspot

  11. What a charming little town. And the colorful houses on stilts!
    Tran recently posted..Typecasts On the Road

  12. Looks like a very interesting, slightly isolated island; your photos convey that well. I once saw a documentary on Chiloe where people took their houses with them when they moved, even if that meant dragging the house across the water! Been drawn to that island ever since.
    Sophie recently posted..Things to do in Skopje

    • You should really go Sophie. One of the incredible things about it is that the people WANT it to be remote – the government offered to build a bridge to the main land but they rejected it, fearing that it would change the feel of the island if they were more connected.

  13. Absolutely lovely! I can see from your photos why it’s your favorite spot in Chile. A gem, indeed! The wild horse on the path certainly would have taken me by surprise.
    Cathy Sweeney recently posted..The Cloisters- Medieval Manhattan

  14. Your photos always encourage me to pick up my own camera. Gorgeous!

  15. Your photos are gorgeous! This looks like a great destination.
    Lisa recently posted..Lϋbeck- a leisure destination in Northern Germany

  16. Fantastic pictures. Spent time looking at the first though. How do people get out of those houses??
    Natalie recently posted..When a Blog Becomes an Online Diary

    • Thank you Natalie. The other side of the houses face a road that winds through you just can’t see it ;) Actually the brownish colored palofito between the red and yellow one was the hostel we stayed at while we were there.

  17. These photos are beautiful. I have to admit – somewhat sheepishly – that I haven’t made it to Chiloe yet even after 4 years in Chile. Someday!
    Emily recently posted..Biking in Honolulu- Oahu

  18. Nice collection Peter! I really like those bright yellow flowers that stick out in a few of the photos!
    Migrationology recently posted..The 10 Most Delicious Malaysian Foods- Have You Tried Them

  19. Looks like a pretty special place. Would love to go! :)
    Nicole recently posted..Too many plates in the air

  20. I was recently in Chile but knew nothing about these islands. They look fabulous – and great photos.
    Leigh recently posted..Contest- Win 5000 Towards an Austin-Lehman Travel Adventure

  21. Love the countryside photos of Chile! I have a little bit of history with the place but have never visited. Loved that you showed the quiet, more serene side of the country.
    Jeremy B recently posted..National Parks Week – Thank you John Muir

  22. adding that to the list of places to visit. awesome photos! That untouched beach alone is worth the price of admission

  23. I sailed by Chiloe once while cruising in South America. Your photos are a beautiful reason for me to return.
    Donna Hull recently posted..Visit a National Park and Call Me When You Get Back

  24. Great photos, guys! The color is so good too! I particularly like the sheep photo :)
    Dina recently posted..The Old City of Marrakech- Life Behind the Walls

  25. I’m travelling to Chile soon! Cant wait to photograph this beautiful country. Love the lighting in your images!

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