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  • POPULATION 160,000
  • SIZE 3,241 square miles

Chiloe, it’s often said, is an island whose character was inherited from surrounding seas rather than from the Chilean mainland: be it through the fishermen who set out on foggy mornings to bring home a catch to make curanto (seafood and meat steam-cooked over hot rocks) or the Magellanic and Humboldt penguins that squint out to sea from the western coast. A blustery, green land that looks not unlike Wales, Chiloe’s architecture looks like nothing else in South America, with its villages of palafitos (stilt houses, pictured) and World

Chiloe, Chile
Chiloe, Chile

Heritage-listed churches, built wholly from timber, which creaks sonorously in the Pacific wind. Among them are the extroverted church of San Francisco de Castro, painted in a curious colour scheme of mustard yellow and purple, and the rather more sober 18th-century Santa Maria de Loreto, held together by wooden pegs.

  • GETTING THERE – From Singapore, fly Air France to Chile’s Santiago via Paris. From Kuala Lumpur, fly Malaysia Airlines via Sydney, Australia. LAN flies onwards to Chiloe’s Castro airport (from US$270; Chiloe is also an hour’s drive from Puerto Montt followed by a short ferry crossing.

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