CHEERS TO CHILOÉ

DestinAsian - - GOOD TO GO NEXT STOP - —James Louie

The ver­dant, rain-soaked isla grande of Chiloé, by far the largest is­land in its name­sake Chilean ar­chi­pel­ago, may be fa­mously in­clement all year round, but the longer days of the south­ern sum­mer bring bet­ter chances of sun and mead­ows of wild­flow­ers in full bloom. It’s also breed­ing sea­son for en­demic Hum­boldt and Mag­el­lanic pen­guins on the rugged west­ern coast; other draws for na­ture-lovers in­clude pro­tected wood­lands shel­ter­ing en­dan­gered Dar­win’s foxes and south­ern river ot­ters, plus a sea­sonal pop­u­la­tion of pygmy blue whales off­shore. The cul­ture of Chiloé’s fiercely in­de­pen­dent is­lan­ders is no less in­trigu­ing thanks to a unique folk­loric tra­di­tion, neigh­bor­hoods of stilted fish­er­men’s houses known as palafi­tos, and 60 nau­ti­cal wooden churches—16 of them UNESCOin­scribed—that nod to the ship­build­ing prow­ess of lo­cal crafts­men.

Get­ting ThereLATAM Chile ( latam .com) flies to Chiloé’s Mo­cop­ulli Air­port from the Chilean cap­i­tal San­ti­ago, which can be reached via Syd­ney aboard Qan­tas ( qan­tas.com). Where to Stay An ul­tra­mod­ern take on the is­land’s ver­nac­u­lar ar­chi­tec­ture, eco-chic Tierra Chiloé ( 56-2/2263-0606; tier­ra­ho­tels.com; from US$1,650, all-in­clu­sive) of­fers just 24 rooms on a bu­colic seafront prop­erty. Don’t Miss Lo­cal fare—think for­aged sea­weed, ra­zor clams, and braised smoked pork—el­e­vated to gourmet stan­dards at Restau­rant Travesía ( fb.com/restau­rant ravesia) in the main city of Cas­tro. Stilted palafito houses in Cas­tro, Chiloé Is­land’s largest set­tle­ment.

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