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Castro, Chile - See The Famous Stilt Houses Called Palafitos

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Map location: Castro, Chile
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Chile travel blog by Mark Berman - October 2017   » View Photoset (40 Photos)

Mark Berman, South America backpacker for over 12yrs!
When I arrived in Castro I immediately knew it was my favourite place in Chile on my current trip in the south up until this point! A medium sized city with a great waterfront and a port area with lots of character and even some wildlife. Castro is located on Chiloe Island not far from Puerto Montt. I arrived here by bus from Quellon (90mins south) after a ferry journey of 32hrs from Puerto Chacabuco. Being late October, Castro was not overrun by people on summer vacations and accommodation was easy to find - the cheapest hotels and hospedajes are located around the port area. Surprisingly the prices of things like food and accommodation are lower in Castro than on the mainland. Castro has much to see and I really enjoyed spending a couple of days here!

Boat Excursions To See Stilt Houses

The first thing I wanted to do was head down to the port where regular boat excursions take groups out for cruises around the bay. The main sight being the wooden houses on stilts called palafitos which sit side by side on the waters edge in an assortment of colours like a rainbow. It's quite a sight indeed, many of the houses have ladders leading down to the water and a boat ready to go. The houses also have balconies, patios and large windows to enjoy the views out to where the river activity is! Later when I was walking along the road on the other side of these houses I saw they are building a new church on stilts, see the tweet below! On the other side of the bay of the Chacra River are green hills with semi-rural type houses and properties with beaches on the waters edge. From here you can see wide city views and the big yellow and purple San Francisco Temple at the top of the hill where the plaza and shops are located. Look out for birdlife during the cruise and enjoy yourself, the cost is less than $10USD.

What To See In Castro

The early morning offers an excellent time to get down to the port in Castro while the water is still and calm to photograph the reflections of the boats, it's almost like a mirror at this time. Wildlife in the form of birds, pelicans and sea lions are common sights along and around the waterfront and port. Especially near the arts and crafts fair where you will see the hungry sea lions and pelicans waiting for fish scraps from around the ceviche market. Days end is the best time to see them! The mirador lookout point (Plazuela Millantuy) is at the top of the hill overlooking the cemetery. To get there you need to walk along the central city streets from the plaza. The views are really fantastic and you can see the river, church, stadium, stilt houses and the beautiful countryside all around! Although the church could do with some sprucing up on the outside, the wooden interior is a stunning work of art consisting of arches and columns. The train plaza - Plazuela del Tren, has several old engines on display. The arts and crafts fair has beautifully woven woolen clothing from jackets to hats plus woolen dolls and leather items. Museums in Castro include the Museum of Modern Art of Chiloe and the Regional Museum of Castro.

Lots To See & Do On Chiloe

Chiloe Island has a lot to see and do, adventure including kayaking, mountain biking, fishing, camping, horse riding (in Cucao or to San Pedro River), whale watching (in Ancud), dolphins at Islote Conejos, canopy at Punta Lima Park, nature photography tours, trekking and hiking! Hiking at Sendero Bosque Piedra (ecological park) and at Parque Tantauco (to see flora and fauna), Muelle del Alma (a bridge as a work of art) and Chiloe National Park. Patrimonial tours to Quinchao and Lemuy Islands and sailing the inner coast of Chiloe. Waterfalls on Mechuque Island. Wildlife tours include sailing the Queilen Channel, visiting the Punihuil Penguin Colony and birdwatching. You can do an excursion to Achao to see churches, arts and crafts as well as do agricultural and rural tours.

Bus & Ferry to Ancud & Puerto Montt

From Castro I made my way north to Ancud, 1hr bus. From Ancud it then takes 2hrs with a bus and ferry combination to reach Puerto Montt where I was looking forward to my flight south to Punta Arenas (2hrs)!


View all photos in the Castro Photoset

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My Hostel & Hotel Reviews for Castro, Chile:

Nandu's Hospedaje, Castro, Chile - Large Photo
Nandu's Hospedaje, Castro, Chile (October 2017 - 2 nights) - Castro has plenty of cheap but good accommodation around the port area. I found this hospedaje which is very comfortable, the bed was awesome. The room had TV, WIFI and shared bathroom. The owner is easy-going, friendly and helpful. $10000 pesos ($15USD) is a good price indeed! I could have stayed here longer. Recommended.

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Castro, Chile - See The Famous Stilt Houses Called Palafitos. Castro is famous for its wooden houses on stilts called Palafitos. Take a boat excursion out into the bay or to the islands around. There's wildlife such as sea lions and pelicans around the arts and crafts market beside the ceviche market. Walk up to the mirador for views of the whole city!