We’ve compiled the best of the best in Chiloé - browse our top choices for the top things to see or do during your stay.

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  • 1. Iglesia de San Francisco

    Any tour of Castro begins with this much-photographed 1906 church, constructed in the style of the archipelago's wooden churches, only bigger and grander. Depending on your perspective, terms like "pretty" or "garish" describe the orange-and-lavender exterior colors chosen when the structure was spruced up before Pope John Paul II's 1987 visit. It's infinitely more reserved on the inside. The dark-wood interior's centerpiece is the monumental carved crucifix hanging from the ceiling. In the evening, a soft, energy-efficient external illumination system makes the church one of Chiloé's most impressive sights.

    corner of Freire and Caupolicán, Castro, Los Lagos, 5700000, Chile
  • 2. Iglesia de Santa María de Loreto

    Achao's centerpiece is this 1730 church, the oldest house of worship in Chile. In addition to the alerce wood so commonly used to construct buildings in the region, the church also uses cypress and mañío trees. Its typically unadorned exterior contrasts with the deep-blue ceiling embellished with gold stars and rich Baroque carvings on the altar inside. Mass is celebrated Sunday at 11 am and Tuesday at 7 pm, but docents give guided tours when the church is open during the day. An informative Spanish-language museum behind the altar is dedicated to the period of Chiloé's Jesuit missions.

    Delicias at Amunategui, Achao, Los Lagos, Chile

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free, Closed Mon. Mar.--Nov.
  • 3. Monumento Natural Islotes de Puñihuil

    One of the best nature excursions on Chiloé is to Monumento Natural Islotes de Puñihuil. Located 29 km (18 miles) southwest of Ancud, the three small islets here are home to an abundant colony of Humboldt and Magellanic penguins, along with a variety of other birds and marine otters. From September to March, a local tour operator, Ecomarine Puñihuil (, for 8,000 pesos, offers 30-minute boat excursions to view the penguins up close. From December to March, they can take up to eight people in the mornings for longer voyages farther out at sea to search for blue whales, which have been extensively tracked in the area by scientists.

    Ruta W-20, Ancud, Los Lagos, Chile
  • 4. Parque Nacional Chiloé

    This 430-square-km (166-square-mile) park hugs Isla Grande's sparsely populated Pacific coast. The park's two sectors differ dramatically. Heavily forested with evergreens, Sector Anay, to the south, is most easily entered from the coastal village of Cucao. A road heads west to the park from the Pan-American Highway at Notuco, just south of Chonchi. Popular among backpackers is its short woody Tepual Trail, which begins at the Chanquín Visitor Center, 1 km (1 mile) north of the park entrance and winds through a rare, intact forest of tepu trees (Tepualia stipularis), whose large, twisted trunks are visible above and below your walking path. Along the path as well are signs explaining the significance of the forest and what it holds. The longer Dunas Trail leads through the forest to the beach dunes near Cacao. Keep an eye out for the Chiloé fox, native to Isla Grande; more reclusive is the pudú, a miniature deer. Some 3 km (2 miles) north of the Cucao entrance is a Huilliche community on the shore of Lago Huelde. Unobtrusive visitors are welcome. At the southern end of the park is one of Chile's best beaches, Cucao Beach, where dunes extend along the unusually wide sand. Camping is permitted. The northern Sector Chepu contains primarily wetlands and a large bird population (most notably penguins) and sea lion colony. Get there via Ruta 5, but take the crossroad toward Río Chepu, then continue west on a gravel road until Puerto Anguay.

    Parque Nacional Chiloe, Chile

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: 5200 pesos
  • 5. Parque Tantauco

    This vast, 118,000-hectare (300,000-acre) park founded by former Chile President Sebastián Piñera has added an attractive guesthouse, campground with modern bathrooms, and a series of hiking trails and overnight shelters for those who wind their way through the park's thick Valdivian temperate rain forests and rocky coastline. Serious hiking and camping enthusiasts should consider the five-day, 32-mile Transversal Trail from Chaiguata (also reachable by bus from Quellón) to Caleta Inío, the park headquarters, where you can get a boat back to Quellón. En route, you can sleep at four simple shelters, complete with bunks, cooking facilities, and latrines. Park entrance for adults costs 5,000 pesos and children 1,000 pesos. Trekking shelters run 15,000 pesos per night, while Caleta Ines Guesthouse has rooms for 60,000 pesos per night. There are also six geothermal domes for overnight stays at Lake Chaiguata that have central heating, from four to eight beds, and include access to a restaurant and hot tubs on-site (from 90,000 pesos). You can also rent tents and kayaks and take guided, multiday tours from the park.

    Ruta 5 camino a Quellón, Quellón, Los Lagos, 5790000, Chile

    Sight Details

    5000 pesos park entrance; 60000 pesos per night rooms at Caleta Ines Guesthouse Rate Includes: Information office in Castro (Pasaje las Delicias 270)
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  • 6. Fuerte de San Antonio

    Northwest of downtown Ancud, the 16 cannon emplacements of this fort are nearly all that remain of Spain's last outpost in the New World. Constructed in 1786, the fort was a key component in the defense of the Canal de Chacao, especially after the Spanish colonial government fled to Chiloé during Chile's war for independence.

    Lord Cohrane at San Antonio, Ancud, Los Lagos, Chile
    No phone

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free
  • 7. Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de Gracia

    About 10 km (6 miles) south of Achao is the archipelago's largest church. As with many other Chilote churches, the 200-foot structure sits in solitude near the coast. The church has no tours but may be visited from 11 am to 3:30 pm during the summer months and the rest of the year when they celebrate Sunday Mass at 11 am.

    Nercon, Los Lagos, Chile
  • 8. Iglesia de Nuestra Señora de los Dolores

    This 1850 church, modeled on the churches constructed during the Jesuit era, sits in the main square (Plaza de Armas). A portico with nine arches, an unusually high number for a Chilote church, fronts the structure. The church holds a small museum with historic town and church documents and old church ornaments.

    Dalcahue, Los Lagos, 5730000, Chile

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free
  • 9. Iglesia de San Carlos

    The town's centerpiece, this church on the Plaza de Armas was started by the Jesuits in 1754 but left unfinished until 1859. Rebuilt in the neoclassical style, the church is now a national monument. An unusually ornate arcade with five arches fronts the church, and inside are an intricately carved altar and wooden columns. The church contains Chonchi's most prized relic, a statue of the Virgen de la Candelaria. According to tradition, this image of the Virgin Mary protected the town from the Dutch pirates who destroyed neighboring Castro in 1600. Townspeople celebrate the event every February 2 with fireworks and gunpowder symbolizing the pirate attack. The building is open daily; mass takes place every Sunday at 11 am.

    at Centenario and Francisco Corral, Chonchi, Los Lagos, 5770000, Chile
  • 10. Iglesia de San Pedro

    In an effort to win converts, the Jesuits constructed this enormous church on the Plaza de Armas. The original structure survives from colonial times, though it underwent extensive remodeling in the early 20th century. It's open for services on the first Sunday of every month at 11 am, which is your best bet for getting a look inside.

    Quicaví, Los Lagos, Chile
  • 11. Iglesia de Tenaún

    The small fishing village of Tenaún, 7 km (4 miles) south of Quicaví, is notable for its 1845 neoclassical Iglesia de Tenaún, which replaced the original 1734 structure built by the Jesuits. The style differs markedly from that of other Chilote churches, as the two towers flanking the usual hexagonal central bell tower are painted a striking deep blue. You can see the interior during services on Sunday at 9:30 am and the rest of the week at 5 pm.

    Tenaún, Los Lagos, Chile
  • 12. Isla de Aucar

    This tiny forested islet 6 km (4 miles) south of Quemchi is reached by walking across a stunning wooden bridge some 510 meters (1,673 feet) long. Black-necked swans and other birds frequent the area. The island hosts a botanical garden and Jesuit chapel and cemetery that date to 1761.

    Isla de Aucar, Quemchi, Los Lagos, 5720000, Chile
  • 13. Isla Lemuy

    Though easily reached by a 15-minute ferry ride from Chonchi, Isla Lemuy feels miles away from anything. In reality, this is remote countryside. It's the third largest of Chiloé's islands, just slightly smaller than Isla Quinchao to the north. Jesuit churches dominate three of its villages—Ichuac, Aldachildo, and Detif—none of which have more than a handful of houses. Detif's church, open only for Sunday morning Mass, is noteworthy for its "votive boats"—small wooden ship models hung in thanksgiving for a safe journey. From this church there's a stunning view of Volcán Michinmahuida on the mainland.

    Isla Lemuy, Los Lagos, 5760000, Chile
  • 14. Mirador

    Uphill on Calle Presidente Kennedy, this scenic overlook has stupendous views of the Golfo de Ancud, the smaller islands in the archipelago, and, on a clear day, the Volcán Corcovado on the mainland.

    Calle Presidente Kennedy, Queilén, Los Lagos, 5780000, Chile
  • 15. Morro Lobos

    Reached by a 45-minute boat ride from the port of Quemchi, this immense rock outcrop juts out of the sea off the coast of Caucahue Island. Hundreds of sea lions and marine birds call it home. Boats at the port can be hired for about 12,000 pesos.

    Quemchi, Los Lagos, 5720000, Chile
  • 16. Museo de Arte Moderno de Chiloé

    Housed in five refurbished barns in a city park northwest of downtown, this modern-art complex—referred to locally as the MAM—exhibits works by Chilean artists. The museum opens to the public only when there are exhibitions or special events.

    Pasaje Díaz 181, Castro, Los Lagos, 5700000, Chile

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free, Closed Mon.
  • 17. Museo de las Tradiciones Chonchinas

    This small but interesting museum documents early life in Chonchi through furnishings and photos in a 19th-century house.

    Centenario 116, Chonchi, Los Lagos, 5770000, Chile

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: 1000 pesos
  • 18. Museo Histórico Etnográfico de Dalcahue

    A fogón—a traditional indigenous cooking pit—sits in the center of the small palafito (a shingled house built on stilts and hanging over the water) housing this museum that displays historical exhibits about the indigenous peoples of Chiloé—the Chonos and Huilliche.

    Pedro Montt 40, Dalcahue, Los Lagos, 5730000, Chile

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free, Closed Sat. and Sun. from Mar. to Dec.
  • 19. Museo Municipal de Castro

    This museum, one block from the Plaza de Armas, gives a good (Spanish-only) introduction to the region's history and culture. Packed into a fairly small space are artifacts from the Huilliche era (primarily farming and fishing implements) through the 19th century (looms, spinning wheels, and plows). One exhibit displays the history of the archipelago's wooden churches; another shows black-and-white photographs of the damage caused by the 1960 earthquake that rocked southern Chile. The museum has a collection of quotations about Chiloé culture by outsiders. "The Chilote talks little, but thinks a lot. He is rarely spontaneous with outsiders, and even with his own countrymen he isn't too communicative," wrote one ethnographer.

    Esmeralda 255, Castro, Los Lagos, 570000, Chile

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Free, Closed Sun., Mar.–Dec.
  • 20. Museo Regional de Ancud

    Statues of mythical Chilote figures, such as the Pincoya and Trauco, greet you on the terrace of this fortresslike museum, just uphill from the Plaza de Armas. The replica of the schooner La Goleta Ancud is the museum's centerpiece; the ship carried Chilean settlers to the Strait of Magellan in 1843. Inside is a collection of island handicrafts.

    Libertad 370, Ancud, Los Lagos, Chile

    Sight Details

    Rate Includes: Closed Mon.

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