The people of Chiloé have adapted to the local conditions of the archipelago over thousands of years, with many traditional agricultural practices still very much in use today.
Cattle drawn carts are still used to transport local produce such as elephant garlic and potatoes – of which there are nearly 300 varieties!
Fishermen sell their daily catch, including robalo, pejerrey, trout, oysters and mussels fresh from the sea, in the local markets.
In this program, we invite you to learn about the living heritage of some of these traditions from the first-hand accounts of Chilotes while sampling local delicacies.
You not only get a delicious taste of the regional cuisine here in Chiloé, but also benefit from an understanding of a lifestyle which is unique to this region.
We will also ensure you try specialties such as curanto, a stew of meat, potato and shellfish cooked in the ground with hot stones and milcao, a grated potato and pork dish, among many other culinary delights!
Make sure to combine your adventure trip to Chiloé with a complementary night at the Lake District. With a 4-night all-inclusive stay at Tierra Chiloé, we are including a night in Puerto Varas, staying at the Awa boutique hotel absolutely FREE:
Our Bartender will welcome you with a Signature Cocktail Lesson. Taste our local liquors made out of murta and calafate and discover the unique Sirena vodka, which is hand crafted from heirloom Chilote potatoes. Learn about local ingredients and try some of the barman’s creations: Nalca Sour and the characteristic Ulmo Sour: a unique drink of Chilean pisco and local Ulmo honey.
After lunch at the hotel, enjoy an activity that is alive and fundamental to this day for the Chilote family. We will wait until the tide is low to collect many types of seafood, especially clams. It will connect us vividly to the experience of ocean life. We will take our catch to the kitchen and enjoy a fresh seafood delight.
When evening comes, our chef makes the local specialty, the traditional “curanto”. This celebratory preparation -which is often accompanied by a live accordion player, is done in a hole, in contact with mother earth. It cooks slowly on hot rocks stacked with choritos (a local bivalve), meat, native potatoes, and sausages. Chapaleles and milcaos (types of potato bread) must also be added and, on top, nalca leaves are placed, allowing the ingredients to steam cook. Enjoy your meal and learn about this ritual with the local farmers and fishermen.
Our day begins by boarding the ferry to Quinchao Island, a quiet village that once a year transforms, receiving hundreds of tourists for one of the archipelago’s most important religious festivals.
We will head toward Achao, the island capital, and walk along its bay until arriving at the church. Depending on the time of year, we will see the work of local artisans.
After that we will head to Curaco de Vélez with its more than 100-year-old houses whose colorful shingles continue to delight. We will taste freshly caught local oysters, widely known for their fresh and mineral flavor.
There we will visit a local organic farm owned by Sandra, a Williche woman who has preserved ancestral farming techniques. We will have a typical Chilote lunch with her and learn about the work of local farmers and their famous crops of native potato and giant garlic.
In the afternoon we will take a trip by land to Dalcahue, to which artisans travel every weekend from the farthest islands to sell their weavings, baskets and woodwork at the age-old traditional market. Here we will enjoy the typical delight of this area: seafood turnovers.
Upon our arrival to the hotel, we will enjoy a Chilean wine tasting accompanied by local snacks.
The beating heart of Chiloé lies in the traditional stilt houses, grand churches and authentic craft markets of Castro. The history and cultural influences surrounding Castro make for an adventure of discovery. It begins with a visit to the colourful Mercado Yumbel. This vibrant market is awash with local produce, fresh fish and rustically woven wares, a place for islanders as well as visitors. Here we will buy some ingredients that will be part of our lunch when we arrive to the hotel.
After a delicious meal, we will walk around our backyard to collect organic vegetables, which are grown in our orchards and our greenhouse. At Tierra Chiloé, we have two hectares planted with 18 different types of produce including herbs, fruit and vegetables; nine of which are native to the region such as hazelnut, nalca and rosehip. We also grow typical Chilote potatoes and garlic.
With all our freshly-harvested ingredients, we will return to the hotel for a Chilote cuisine workshop. Here we will learn about the history and cultural heritage of each of the products we have collected.
Chiloé’s surrounding, smaller islands are a treasure trove of wildlife and cultural heritage waiting to be discovered. Begin with a short tour of Tenaún, a quaint port town of few residents which has a striking central church.
Boarding the boat in Tenaún, a windswept 45-minute voyage will take you to the Chauques archipelago, a beautiful maze of interconnecting waterways and landmasses. Mechuque is our first stop.
Your afternoon can then be spent kayaking the serene canals of Chauques, as local ancestors did centuries ago, or taking the relatively easy hike up the Mechuque viewpoint, the perfect place for enchanting panoramic views of this picturesque island network. On our way back, we will taste some fresh oysters from the Chauques Islands.
As soon as we arrive to the hotel, we will ride or travel by car to the town of San José to witness the ritual of the Chochoca. This traditional food, which is part of Chiloé Archipielago cultural heritage, consists of native mashed potato mixed with flour and pork fat, plastered onto a long, thick wooden pole and cooked over an open fire.
Before taking your transfer back to the airport, why not spend your last moments at Tierra Chiloé enjoying a self-guided walk or taking the time for last photo opportunities around the peninsula.
If you want to explore more of this area, we recommend booking a complementary night at Puerto Varas. Located in the heart of the Lake District, this town makes for a fantastic addition to any adventure trip to Chiloé.