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Chiloe
Written by sophie et jeremy   
Thursday, 08 March 2018

Chiloe is an island mostly inhabited by Mapuche indians descendants, who long lived aside of modern society, following a fierce resistance to spanish conquistadors. The result is a strong island identity, highlighting sea and handicrafts, and a rich spiritual culture half way between Catholicism and wood elves.

4WD au bord de lo 4WD au bord de lo

First impression from the ferry, it looks a bit like the channel islands : small wooden houses, fishing boats, fog and rain. The feeling is still the same when driving north the east coast, where the countryside is especially bucolic with all its small fishing villages. There’s a great view on the bay, the many small islands in it, and at the back (when the weather is clear) the snow-capped Andes range.

port de pêche port de pêche littoral littoral

bucolique bucolique Cordillere Cordillere

On the way, we visit many of the famous Chiloe churches, built in wood and without any nail (not all of them, there are around 150 !). they are rather rustic, but full of charm. They have been recently restored by the UNESCO and we wonder if they haven’t been adding a few nails...

église 1 église 1 eglise 2 eglise 2

Chiloe is also known for the “palafitos”, some old fisherman’s house, built on piles, on the shore to easily use one’s boat at high tide. Indeed, we notice that almost all the houses are built on piles here, maybe because of the daily rain. Or it could also be to facilitate the “minga”, an old tradition : when one’s want to move, he literally move his house, with oxes and logs, or a boat and buoys.

palafitos palafitos palafitos 2 palafitos 2

During the weekend, stand a festival looking like a village fête, where we could eat some local dishes : salmon, seafood, or crab empanadas, some kind of a huge pancake, the chochoda, (count in square meters, before it’s cut into portions) stuffed with mutton, and food-pressed apple juice.

empanadas empanadas chochoda chochoda

Going to the west coast, we drive across a very dense rain forest just before reaching the pacific coast. Some sand dunes alternate with rocky cliffs, hosting some penguins. We also see a forest which has been flooded by a tsunami in 1960, that justify the many signs "tsunami evacuation route" we have seen in Chile.

foret foret falaises falaises

dunes dunes plage aux falaises plage aux falaises

While driving on the island, we meet many times a french family in a campervan. Flo and Johan plan a 2 years trip with their 2 children across south and north america. We'll spend some evenings with them, in their much more roomy vehicule.

campsite campsite plage aux vaches plage aux vaches

Our last night camp on the island, faces a beautiful bay where a lot of dolphins swim around. For our pleasure, they’ll give us a great show of jumps and surf, and they will even come and play below Dudule our drone. Jeremy take the chance to go in the cold sea, and we go for a sail with our kayak quite close to them!

 

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