Castro is located in the center of the main island of Chiloé, 172 kilometers from Puerto Montt, this city is the gateway to the rest of the Chiloe archipelago. Though it is nestled among rolling hills and lush vegetation, this city offers a wide array of tourist services and service to other locales on Chiloé and its islets.
Stroll around the city, visit its seafood restaurants and craft shops and admire the colorful “palafitos” perched along the water’s edge. These classic wooden-tiled houses are built on stilts so they seem to float when the tide is high. The Puente Gamboa lookout offers the best view in Castro.
Castro was founded in 1567 by Martín Ruiz de Gamboa, and is now a favorite destination for backpackers.
The Spanish Jesuits who came to the island around 1600 to evangelize the native Huilliche people left an indelible mark: their wooden Chilota churches, each of which is an architectural treasure. The largest, Iglesia San Francisco de Castro, boasts an orange-colored facade and steeples that tower over the main square. Try to visit on a sunny day, when the light streams in through the glass windows and illuminates the interior.
Visiting during the summer months
Discover Chilota culture at the February Festival Costumbrista de Castro. This annual event is a must-see that showcases local music, arts and crafts, food and dance. For shopping, check out the Feria Artesanal de Castro, then head to the Museo de Arte Moderno de Chiloé to be surprised by local artists’ work.
After visiting Castro, an alternative is to flee over to the Chiloe National Park or the Quehui and Chelin or Mechuque Islands, well known for their stilt houses or palafittes.
How to get to castro
There are two bus terminals in Castro. The main bus terminal (actually the terminal of the Cruz del Sur company) is at the intersection of Sotomayor and San Martín, just one block north of the northeast corner of the main plaza. Here you can find frequent connections to Puerto Montt (about 2 hours, 6,200 CLP) on the mainland, as well asQuellon in the south of Chiloé (2 hours, 2,000 CLP). There are several buses a day to Santiago (16 hours, usually overnight) as well as most major cities on the way.
To Argentina, buses to Bariloche depart on Wednesdays and Sundays, but you need to change buses in Puerto Montt (12 hours, 6,200+13,000 CLP). All of these buses stop in Ancud on the way, and the ferry crossing is included in the price.
You can find local buses (micros) at the Terminal Municipal, located a few blocks away from the main bus terminal at San Martin and Aldea. Buses to Dalcahue (1 hour), Achao, and Chonchi stop here. The bus to the Chiloe National Park stops here as well; there are several companies leaving at different times of the day.
The Naviera Austral ferry makes trips to Chaitén, albeit only in summer.
You can also enter with a rental car. There is a fee for the ferry, but having your own transport is a very convenient way to explore Chiloe.
Castro itself is very small and can easily be navigated by foot.
To expand the map view of castro, just press the image and after that, press the button that will appear in the upper right corner