The capital of Chile’s Chiloe Island, Castro is big, bright and boisterous. Colourful wooden huts (called palafitos) teeter on stilts over the city’s waterfront, inviting you into a slice of life that’s sure to brighten any day. Warm welcomes abound, music seeps from street corner and life is celebrated with gusto all over the city. If you are looking for a healthy mix of culture and cosmopolitanism, then you have found it in Castro.
The island is renowned for its UNESCO World Heritage Site wooden churches. Around 70 churches were built in the 17th and 18th centuries, embodying the intangible richness of the Chiloé Archipelago, and bear witness to a successful fusion of indigenous and European culture. Just 16 of the churches are classified by UNESCO, prime examples of the full integration of the architecture in the landscape and environment, as well as to the spiritual values of the communities.
The city is Chile’s third oldest city in existence, founded in 1576. Castro lived peaceably – bar a few attacks from Dutch pirates - until 1837, when it was destroyed by an earthquake, wiping oput most of the population. By 1912 the railway had arrived, allowing the town to develop again. Tragically, the city was once again destroyed in 1960 by a series of earthquakes, tsunamis and fires. History lovers will definitely enjoy The Regional Museum of Castro. Not only does the small museum house an interesting array of Huilliche relics, but a series of photographs depicting Castro pre-1960 is on display.