The sons of Chono (fishermen-sailors) and Huilliche
Indians of agricultural tradition, the inhabitants of Chiloè carry
the sea and the land in their blood. An amphibious inheritance
that, mingled with the Spanish one, brought forth a culture aware
of its reality as an archipelago, built with the noble woods of
its forests, and surrounded by rolling fields studded with apple
trees. Practically all of its history and culture unrolls at the
shores of the inland body of water, the Gulf of Ancud: a coast
full of coves and a rough, uneven ground, that is friendlier and
more hospitable than that of the Pacific. The startling snow-capped
peaks that make up this region's eastern side, tower over deep
glacial fjords, lush in their exuberant, green coat of millenary,
It´s Cultural Facets
Curanto: The traditional feast of Chiloè. Cooked in the
earth, surrounded in "nalca" leaves on hot stones, this
hearty mix of shellfish, fish, pork, chicken and different varieties
of Chiloè's potatoes is prepared in layers, mingling the
vapors and juices of each of these. This magical mix provides a
tingling stimulus to the palate, and is a highlight of a visit
to this area.
Living with the Tides: Most villages are located looking out
the sea, which not only provides them with food, but also organizes
life and links villages to the islands and the archipelago to the
continent. For a chilote, his boat is his itinerant home, his Noah's
ark, and since childhood he has learned the language of the winds,
the clouds, and the tides which continuously transform his home
by the sea. At high tide, the boats practically reach the houses'
front, and when the tide is low, you can see the ground full of
navajuelas, choritos, machas and cholgas which the women and children
clloect to make soup, paila marina, empanadas and pulmay.
Palafito and the wooden Shingles: The "palafitos" (stilts)
rise like a symbol of this everchanging seashore and the villages
you to tour the beautiful architecture of shingles; the houses
with balconies, balustrades and magnificent doors with a patina
laid by humidity and time.
Churches: Hundreds of churches, located in the most improbable
corners, bear witness to evangelisation. The same one that filled
America with churches from California to Magallanes and that in
Chiloè created a kind of religious urbanism that engulfs
the archipelago. From the seas, the church towers still are the
lighthouses that guide the sailors. There are over 70 churches still
are the lighthouses that guide the sailors. There are over 70 churches
that date back to the 18th and 19th centuries, with their beautiful
porticos, altar pieces and ceilings painted with stars.
Brujos: The wizards worship the devil
and possess strong powers.They can fly with the "macuñ" (sweater)
that emits light and turn into animals or birds.
Trauco: An elf-fawn of the woods who chases maidens. Although
he is horrible, they find him irresistible and he provokes erotic
dreams. Many sons of single mothers are said to be his.
Pincoya: Beautiful goddess dressed in weeds, who dances naked
on the waves when there's a full moon. She is responsible for fertility
the scarcity of seas and beaches.
Invunche: His head, set the other way around, and a leg stuck
to his backbone. He is the doorman at the wizard's cave.
Fiura: Woman of the woods, very ugly but a seductress. She wears
a red dress and with her disgusting breath twists all who reject
Caleuche: Illuminated boat that sails when there's fog, from which
marvelous music can be heard. The wizards who supply supply traders